& Energy Codes:
the Future for Outdoor Lighting


David M. Keith, FIES

IEEE Denver March 2003




•      Legislation

–   Colorado and six other states

•      Ordinances

–   county, city and town jurisdictions

•      Energy Codes

–   states’ level, and may become national

•      Implications for the lighting industry

–   more work, deliverables and responsibilities


Colorado Legislation

•      Colorado HB 01-1160 passed in 2001

•      “It is declared policy of the state of Colorado to conserve energy, reduce glare, and minimize light trespass and pollution, and requiring state agencies and encourage local .. entities .. to use certain types of outdoor lighting fixtures …”

•      no provisions for enforcement


Colorado Legislation

•      “Full cutoff luminaire” allows no direct light emissions above horizontal plane through luminaire’s lowest light-emitting part

•      On or after July , 2002 any new fixture .. using state funds .. [must be] a full cutoff luminaire

•      Full consideration given to costs, energy conservation, glare reduction, minimization of light pollution, preserve night environment


California Energy Code

•      working to extend the current Title 24 Energy Code to outdoor lighting

•      establish lighting zones across state

•      establish lighting power density allowances for all zones and tasks

•      establish restrictions on luminaire lighting distributions, time of day uses


California Energy Code

•      Based technically on the Eley Associates’ Outdoor Lighting Research: California Outdoor Lighting Standards,  presented at the June 18, 2002 workshop

•      in some discussions in this report the technical basis is … questionable

–   LZ assignment & LPD value “classify” roadways

–   the calculations for parking lots


CEC: Outdoor Lighting Report

•      Parking area typical
for LPD calculation

–   9 sym. luminaires in regular 3x3 grid

–   locus of minimum illuminance “identified” (INCORRECTLY!)

–   claims to be in compliance with IESNA RP-20-98 (is NOT!)











CEC Lighting Zones

•      lighting zones imposed across entire state

–   defaults defined in legislation

–   jurisdictions may change an areas designation through a public process

–   CEC is to be informed of any proposed changes to zone designations

–   CEC may overrule any change proposed by a local jurisdiction


CEC Lighting Zones

•      LZ1: Dark
State parks, recreation areas, wildlife preserves

•      LZ2: Low
Rural as defined by 2000 US Census

•      LZ3: Medium 
Urban according to 2000 US Census

•      LZ4: High 
By special designation only


CEC Lighting Zones

•      all special designated LZ areas restricted by

–   adjacent areas

•   must be specified distance from areas with different LZ

•   can only be changed if adjacent to an area already designated with the new LZ

–   size

•   may only be so big in some dimension

•   this is very poorly written and probably subject to revision


CEC Lighting Zones

•       each lighting zone has its own:

–    Lighting Power Density (LPD) allowances

–   specific control requirements

–   specific equipment requirements

•   uplight ratio allowances may be included

–   specific performance requirements

•   maximum illuminance allowed


CEC Details

•      area definitions for different activities

–   Outdoor Sales Lot, Sales Canopy

•      automatic controls for post-operating hours reduction of levels by 50% to 67%

•      different areas around facility have different power allowances, non-transferable

•      cutoff photometric distribution required for 175W & up


Model Lighting Ordinance

•      organized by the International Darksky Association (IDA)

•      working with national assortment of people

•      considering a nation-wide set of existing ordinances, mostly California’s Title 24

•      trying to develop an ordinance that any jurisdiction can use as basis, then tweak to fit


Model Lighting Ordinance

•      working from the California Title 24

•      will probably include

–   Lighting Zones 1 through 4

•   corresponding LPD limits

•   corresponding photometric distribution limits

–   equipment & mounting restrictions

–   spill light and maximum illuminance limits

–   curfews and limits on security lighting


Local Lighting Ordinances

•      Planning Dept., Zoning, Building, Land Use

•      can be very simple - one page

–   no lighting shall create a nuisance

–   .. concentrated rays of light shall not shine onto other properties ..

•      can be extremely complicated (as we shall see)

•      can be technically confused or incorrect



Local Lighting Ordinances

•      Similar goals to state legislation:

–   conserve energy

–   reduce glare

–   minimize light trespass and pollution

•      provisions for enforcement

–   withholding permits and occupancy certificates

–   complaints leading to fines and imprisonment


Local Lighting Ordinances

•      Applies to:

–   future developments (& existing?)

–   industrial & commercial

–   residential - at least multi-family

•      Exempts (typically):

–   one or two family dwellings

–   public roadways, sports facilities

•      Grandfathering: fixed period or at improvement


Local Lighting Ordinances

•      control light levels

–   within site

–   at or just beyond property boundary

•      restrict equipment, photometric distributions

•      restrict installed lumens

•      restrict time of operation

•      require more extensive submittal for approval


Ordinances: Limit levels

•      restrict the maximum illuminance level

–   typically measured horizontal at grade

–   this would be at the initial level (brand new)

•   when the system is new the levels will be the very highest for the entire life of the system

•   most lighting recommendations call for maintained values, at the low point of the maintenance cycle

•   overall maintenance factors can be as low as 0.50

–   can mean 2 or more calculations are necessary


Ordinances: Limit levels

•      restrict the maximum uniformity ratio

–   typically measured as the maximum:minimum

–   could be average:minimum

•   this is harder to verify at the site

–   uniformity will be related to the specific area over which it is calculated

•   check that the areas in the calculations conform to the definitions in the relevant ordinance

–   provide necessary statistics in submittals


Ordinances: Restrict Equipment

•      Lamps

–   some sources may be “prohibited” (LPS)

–   some sources may be “approved” (MH)

–   some sources may be ignored (HPS, LED)

•   this puts approval into the hands of the plan reviewers

–   rated lumens are typically the relevant metric

–   lamp data may be required at submittal

–   some lamps can be substituted (most can not)


Ordinances: Restrict Equipment

•      Lumens

–   measured in rated lamp lumens

–   in luminaire: set a maximum for any luminaire

•   e.g. no more than 50,000 rated lumens (400W HPS)

–   per pole: set a maximum for set of luminaires

•   e.g. no more than 100,000 lumens per pole

–   per acre: set an allowance scaled to the site

•   typically in steps of 100,000 lumens per acre


Ordinances: Restrict Equipment

•      Lumens / Acre

–   limit on total rated lumens permitted on site

–   for 100,000 lumens over 43,560 sqft (in 1 acre)
and typical area luminaire efficiency of 75%

–   100,000 lms/ac * 0.75 / 43,560 sqft/ac =
Eavg-initial = 1.7 fc at very best (probably 1.5 fc)

–   with LLF = 0.67, Eavg-maint = 1.1 fc or lower
for each 100,000 lumens per acre allowed


Ordinances: Restrict Equipment

•      Luminaire shape, form or configuration

–   fully shielded (and sometimes partially shielded)

•   definitions vary - typically no light at horizontal

–   internal or external house side shields

•   for luminaires at the perimeter of the site

–   flat glass or “fill cutoff” - check definitions

–   number of luminaires on a pole

–   “floodlights”, “wall packs”, “barn lights”, “acorns”

•   limited or banned outright


Ordinances: Restrict Equipment

•      Photometric distribution

–   definitions tend to differ substantially

–   “asymmetric” sometimes prohibited

–   most common definitions are based on IESNA Cutoff Classifications

•   full cutoff, cutoff, semi-cutoff or non-cutoff

•   defined to describe control of glare

•   used now to try to limit uplight

•   this confuses intensity with lumens


Ordinances: IESNA Cutoff Classes

•      relative to lamp lumen rating

•      combination of intensity limits in two zones

–   just below or anywhere above horizontal












Ordinances: Restrict Installation

•      Mounting heights

–   by specific limits or matching to buildings

–   by area designation

•   parking area, walkways, other

–   around site perimeter

•   setback requirements tend to use 2.5 multiple

•   pole height may be 40% of the distance to the nearest boundary


Ordinances: Restrict Installation

•      Limits for light levels at or over property boundary (light trespass)

–   typically depends on the zoning of the land the light lands on: commercial or residential

–   measurement variations

•   horizontal at grade: at boundary, or set distance in

•   vertical at and perpendicular to property line

•   line-of-sight: any direction at all (hard to predict!)


Ordinances: Restrict Operation

•      Curfew periods

–   after “business closes” (or at a set time) until dawn

–   after curfew, only security lighting allowed

•      additional controls required for shut-off

–   photocontrols are not enough, need timeclocks

–   requires time of day, day of week, power backup to insure reduced light levels

–   additional controls for starting security lighting


Ordinances: Restrict Operation

•      Security Lighting (post-curfew lighting)

–   for walkways, entrances, outdoor retail sometimes

–   restriction on illuminance levels or percent of lighting equipment allowed to operate

–   may be required to be controlled by motion sensors

•   this rules out typical HID area lighting equipment

•   incandescent or fluorescent or ? for such systems

–   may result in a separate lighting system


Ordinances: Restrict Operation

•      Security (post-curfew) lighting system

–   different equipment (poles, wiring, controls)?

–   different luminaires (sources)?

–   different burn hours

•   different maintenance cycle

•   increased maintenance requirements and costs

–   in some cases the requirements can allow for control designs that minimize these problems


Developments for Industry

•      more work & responsibilities

–   find out what restrictions apply

–   establish definitions

–   extend control strategies

–   greater details in content of photometric plans

–   increase in deliverables for submittal & approval

–   more involvement in commissioning

•      more fees for “doing the same job”


Developments for Designs

•      restrictions and limits make it harder to:

–   focus on quality issues

–   respond to the context and surroundings

–   adopt the design to particular tasks

•   especially for unusual or undefined tasks

–   improve system performance

•   energy use will tend to increase

•   initial and operating costs increase

–   improvise or innovate in ways we are used to


Developments for Designs

•      restrictions and limits make it easier to:

–   control obtrusive and excessive lighting

•   rein in the worst offenders

•   obnoxious lighting forced to improve

–   advance the technology of outdoor lighting systems (by narrowing the “additional costs”)

•   multi-level or dimming ballasts for HID lamps

•   lumen maintenance control systems

•   new lamps and sources when feasible (e.g. LED’s)




for links to specific information from  Colorado area jurisdictions:

for a copy of this presentation in Powerpoint: http://resodance.com/ali


David M. Keith, FIES

IEEE Denver March 2003