The Palomar Observatory would like to thank the good folks at Palomar College for a recent improvement to the outdoor lighting at their Escondido Educational Center.
Recently we pointed out to them that they had floodlights that were illuminating the roof of their building and that most upward-directed light (like on billboards) misses the intended target and ends up illuminating the sky. The net result is that the lights contribute to increasing light pollution in the area and represents an unnecessary cost in electricity.
Upward pointing floodlights do almost nothing to provide for the safety and security of people because people are down on the ground and not in the sky where the lights were directed.
We also pointed out that by dimming or removing the floodlights the College will save money on electricity, protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and help to preserve dark skies necessary for the continued research operations of the Palomar Observatory.
I am happy to report that the College changed their lighting. Have look at the before and after photos.
Before: Lights for the people and lights pointed skyward.
After: Lights only where the people need them.
Notice that the change in lighting at the top of the building is dramatically reduced, but the lighting in the parking lot remains more than adequate for the safety and security of the staff and students of Palomar College.
Thank you Palomar College.
The cool thing about fighting light pollution is that you can save money and preserve the environment by doing it. So why don't more people and institutions make the change? Sometimes they just need someone to point it out to them. Together, we can fix the problem of light pollution one bulb at a time.
For more information on light pollution, visit the website of the International Dark-Sky Association. http://www.darksky.org/