Apr 4, 2019

Bring back the stars

by Hannah Murphy

Have you ever taken a moment to browse the skies above your home? How many stars can you see at night? If you live in a suburban environment, it is likely the answer will be few and far between. If you live in an urban environment – it could be zero! That is unless you have ever mistaken a passing airplane for a star…

This week celebrates International Dark Sky Week; an annual initiative by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) which aims to bring awareness to the issues of over-lighting our night-time environment. Our ability to see a starry sky and feel a connection to the wider universe is just one of the important topics up for discussion.

Light pollution is a global environmental change – a change which brings with it many negative health effects including obesity, depression and sleep disorders. The evolving state of artificial light and the transformation of LED lighting is significant in its effect on our darkness. The ever-popular application of LED cool white light can often create bright landscapes – tinged with an unnatural blue hue. The quality of the lighting used also has to be considered. Now more than ever, we can’t help but notice how external lighting is dominating our surroundings.

External lighting is traditionally used for safety and to cut-down on crime – but this will not always be achieved in the case of an overly-lit scheme where vast amounts of glare will likely have a more negative effect on our perception of contrast and ease of vision.

As with the excessive use of all the world’s resources; we are now experiencing the impacts of our application of light and lighting from the years gone by. The way we design our lighting solutions is more important than ever – keeping in-mind the importance of the latest guidelines on light pollution and uncontrolled light.

Cundall’s Light4 team was tasked with designing the lighting for The Sill Once Brewed, Northumberland. The Sill is a landscape discovery centre which sits within Northumberland International park which is also Europe’s largest gold tier dark sky park. The project required an external lighting strategy which would provide enough lighting for safe movement around the site whilst also meeting the stringent dark sky park criteria. The solution celebrates the architectural form and natural materials without any detrimental effect on the night sky.

Please visit http://light4.cundall.com/projects/the-sill-landscape-discovery-centre for further information regarding The Sill Landscape Discovery Centre.

Please visit www.darksky.org to learn more about the IDA and the work they do to protect dark skies.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Great blog Hannah and such an important issue. There’s nothing quite like a night sky full of bright stars and worth protecting



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Hannah Murphy, Lighting Design, Sustainability


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