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County takes steps to improve lighting efficiency, reduce light pollution


New guidelines ensure that County purchases most cost effective, energy efficient lighting available


Cost and energy efficiency, along with the reduction of unnecessary glare from outdoor lighting, is the goal of legislation unanimously adopted today by the Metropolitan King County Council.

“By choosing our lighting sources wisely and being smart about how we install outdoor lighting, we can save money, be better neighbors, and help the environment,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, sponsor of the legislation. “As our region grows and increases in density, using less energy and shielding light from going where it’s not needed will be critical to maintaining livable, sustainable communities.”

The adopted ordinance establishes that King County will purchase the most cost-effective and energy-efficient lighting feasible. It also mandates that most new or replacement outdoor lighting installed on a county facility with output greater than 1,800 lumens must be fully shielded to reduce light pollution.

Additionally, the legislation –which is supported by Puget Sound Energy and the International Dark Sky Association –calls for the Executive to develop a lighting plan to reduce King County's use of inefficient lighting and the occurrence of evening light pollution from county operations. Light pollution refers to artificial light that shines where it's not needed. Nocturnal artificial light can interfere with the biological rhythms of human and animals and disrupt bird migration.

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