​​SOFTLIGHT HOUSTON

We seek to create a safe low glare night time environment in Houston, TX by encouraging the use of soft shielded lighting citywide for street lights, businesses and home lighting.
 
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GLARE IS THE ENEMY OF NIGHT VISION
  1. REDUCING GLARE
    1. Shield the bulb or LED from view. 2. Use lower blue lighting which is lower glare even at the same brightness. 3. Do numbers 1 and 2 and you can reduce intensity and SAVE MONEY!
  2. GLARE
    Glare in lighting occurs when the bright light source is visible to the eye. Although the eye at night can see a wide range of brightness, it cannot see it all at once and adjusts to the brightest object in the field. When bright bulbs or LEDs are visible, the area being lit is LESS visible.
  3. SAFETY AND SECURITY
    A low glare environment allows even less well lit areas to be seen instead of disappearing into inky black shadows. It is more difficult for a person to hide from you. Motion detection acts as a visual alarm and saves money and energy.
  4. HUMAN HEALTH AND COLOR
    Humans, animals and trees all do better under less blue light at night. We need blue light during the day when it signals our bodies to wake up. But it is damaging to us at night because it prevents our bodies from making melatonin which signals us to sleep and slows the growth of some cancers.
  5. WHY IS LESS BLUE LOWER GLARE?
    Blue light is shorter wavelength and scatters in the atmosphere and in your eye more than softer white and amber light. Your eye is also more sensitive to blue and green at night so too much is painful at night. Newer headlights with more blue look like they are on bright all the time and hurt other drivers.
  6. CAN WE BRING BACK THE STARS?
    We will never have an extremely dark sky inside of a city but we can definitely increase the number of stars seen in your back yard and shorten the drive outside of the city needed to show your children a beautiful night sky while lighting beautifully and comfortably.
  7. WHAT ABOUT WILDLIFE?
    Most animals (us too!) need the alternation between night and day to function well. This includes birds, insects and sea turtles. Insects are important to humans as pollinators including night time pollination which is severely disrupted by excessive and unnecessary night time lighting.
  8. DIMMING
    With the advent of smart street lighting, city planners can adjust the light according to location and use. It is not necessary to use the brightest lighting all night. In residential areas, you actually REDUCE neighborhood awareness with lighting that is so bright that people need the thickest curtains to sleep.
  9. GALLERY
    Scroll down to see what we mean. See our gallery to see before and after photos and examples of poor vs. excellent lighting.

ABOUT LIGHT COLOR

Light color is measured in CCT or "correlated color temperature."  It is listed in degrees Kelvin but has nothing to do with the temperature of the bulb.  It is the color that iron glows when heated to that temperature.  Lower degrees Kelvin appears warmer and less blue.

​THESE BULBS ARE ALL THE SAME BRIGHTNESS. 

WARMER WHITE IS MUCH EASIER TO LOOK AT.  THE 2700K WARM WHITE BULB IS GOOD ENOUGH TO SEE COLORS ACCURATELY.
High glare street light

A Houston residential street light from a front bedroom

The front side bedrooms across from this street light have been abandoned at night.  It is almost impossible to block the intense white light.  These lights have five times the blue frequency light which keeps us awake as amber high pressure sodium.  There are much better LED street light options.  The home behind needed a house side shield.


At night, brighter is not better.
The hazy effect behind and to the side of a bright light source is called "veiling luminance" and it keeps you from seeing even lit areas behind and to the side of a bright bulb or LED.  A well designed light will hide your view of the bulb and allow you to see the area even better with about half the wattage.  Better light and lower electricity bills!
Did you see the intruder at the gate?
David Landers
 
Disappearing pedestrian
Are there one or two security lights?
Watch as a pedestrian virtually disappears in front of the bright lights.  Glare reduces contrast so much that she becomes nearly invisible.  There is only one light mounted about 40 feet behind.  The second light is a reflection in the adjacent building's glass wall.  The pedestrian is clearly visible under shielded lighting as seen by the viewer.
HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT RECOMMENDS SOFT SHIELDED LIGHTING
The Houston Police Department recently altered its Burglary Prevention for a Home brochure to recommend non glare lighting under "Exterior and Landscape":

  "Non glare soft lighting and downward shielding is optimal when selecting lighting products to achieve optimal visual results."
 

HPD Burglary Prevention brochure
Good shielding and soft white color eliminates glare

A residential area in Riverside County, CA

While the streets and sidewalks are well lit, the bedrooms in this community on both sides of the street are protected from glare.  The LEDs are not visible from home windows at all due to excellent design.

​Unlit homes can still be seen well.

4000K LED is NOT like moonlight

LEFT: 4125K moonlight does not have the strong blue spike in its spectrum that 4000K LED street lights have.  Warmer white LEDs significantly reduce the blue part of the spectrum which is responsible for disrupting human, animal and plant circadian rhythms.  Bluer white LED street lights not only have far more blue in their spectrum than the moon, but they are also 30 to thousands of times as bright depending on the phase of the moon.
You too can find low glare lighting

Ok, so how do I find good lighting for my home?

Start by looking for the IDA Seal of Approval.  These lights are by definition non-glare and point the light at the area that needs to be lit only.

The words "dark sky" are also used to label non-glare lighting.
"Dark Sky" equals non-glare
The seal of approval means that the light source is hidden from view.
Dark Sky cities like Flagstaff, AZ have excellent visibility inside the city and excellent skies only a few miles away.
"Dark Sky" also means low blue
Find out why.  In residential areas and areas of low traffic, more amber LED lighting will be the least damaging to health and the environment.
Outdoor Lighting Basics

Flagstaff, AZ Medical Center

The sky at Lowell Observatory 6 miles away

This is what happens when an entire city of over 100,000 lights responsibly.
Hide the bulb and lower your energy bill

​​Unshielded at 90 watts

Shielded at 45 watts

Examples of good home lighting

Hinkley Dwell series
Contemporary design hides the bulb under the top assembly.
Wall sconce
The bulb is invisible at the top.  This porch light casts a beautiful glow.
Parshield 
"Dark Sky" lighting is beautiful!
This clip-on shield for standard bare floodlight bulbs is inexpensive and looks beautiful at night when the light is turned on.  It comes in bronze or white.

Find at www.parshield.com
"Dark Sky" or IDA approved lighting is non-glare. This light hides the bulb up under the top assembly.  The porch is fully lit with just 6 watts of soft white LED light!

SEARCH FOR "DARK SKY" LIGHTING ON LINE INCLUDING AT LOWE'S AND HOME DEPOT. 

www.lightingdirect.com has hundreds of styles and price points.  

Dark Sky lights

The Nuvo lighting system uses angled shields

Strongly angled shields allow you to cover a larger area with soft gentle light.  Be sure to mount high and put the bottom of the shield level with the ground.

Even shielded bright white LED street lights destroy the night for everyone.

The new white LED street lights pointed downward in this October 2015 photo from the space station outshine the older amber unshielded lights.  They should have been an improvement instead.  Every bright white spot on this map is a blinding security light aimed into drivers' eyes.

Shielded warm lighting brings back the night.

The dark wedge shaped neighborhood uses shielded warmer lighting and is almost invisible from space while providing warm ambiance on the ground.  The glowing golden rectangular neighborhood asked for similar low glare lighting but was denied.  More light is in the sky and in drivers' eyes than on the ground.

A "Dark Sky" neighborhood street in Katy, TX before home construction:

beautiful on the ground, invisible from space

These low blue lights are the older high pressure sodium.  

Photo by Steve Goldberg
PC Amber LEDs by Ignialight
For communities where lighting with good visibility combined with maximum health and environmental benefit to humans, animals, plants and the night sky is desired, new 2200K PC Amber and white amber LEDs allow you to light with virtually none of the damaging blue frequencies.  
Tucson's lighting
A large city commits to low glare
Low glare warm LED lighting that reduces energy use by 80% provides excellent visibility when and where needed.

New York City in 2013

New York City has continued to install white 4000K LEDs but after numerous concerns has recently decided to move to warmer 3000K LEDs for the remainder of the installation.

Photo by cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko
What can I do?
How can I help my neighborhood and city become safe, beautiful and comfortable at night?
Talk to your City Council representative
Talk to your civic club and leaders
In Houston, you can find your City Council representative and Public Comment session instructions HERE:


Attend your civic club meetings and ask to bring up lighting.  Bring a lamp for demonstrations or refer your neighbors and leaders to this web site.
City Council
Send your friends this web site

Sign the petition


https://www.change.org/p/houston-s-high-glare-led-street-lights-are-a-danger-to-night-vision-and-health
petition

The Best demo lamp ever

This Raoyi LED desk lamp resembles a street light.  It tilts, changes color (five colors ranging from 6000K to 2700K) and changes intensity.  Use it to show not only the visibility of something directly under the lamp but also of a figure about two feet behind the lamp where people will see a huge difference with different settings and degrees of glare.  Set it up like an LED street light and angle it slightly toward the viewer to show that only a little bit of strong white glare prevents you from seeing what is behind the light.  Have them hold up their hand to block the glare to see that the figure behind does have some light, but the glare prevents you from seeing it well.  Then turn it way down, use the warmest setting, and turn the bulb so the viewer cannot see it to show how much less light allows you to see even better!

Find it at:


Raoyi LED lamp
See our gallery for amazing transformations