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Light Pollution of a Private to Public Space

A. Light Pollution – The City and the Light

In this section I will focus on general information on the subject, I will explain the different types and related outcomes. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of environmental protection. Preserving the environment has many aspects. In the past, it was customary to focus mainly on animal and plant protection and air pollution, while in recent years additional aspects have been added such as: marine pollution, radiation damage, water and liquid waste pollution, noise hazards, etc. In addition, great emphasis is placed on the intelligent use of electricity. Electricity is perceived by many as an environmental pollutant in terms of air pollution, but it also derives from an equally important aspect of pollution. A type of pollution that is less known, but bothers us all in our daily lives. This pollution is called "light pollution".

Image 2: Glow from street light

Image 2.1: View of a city with glow from light pollution

Light pollution is the set of negative effects of man-made artificial lighting. It usually includes illumination at an inappropriate intensity, time and place for people, and also illumination on ecosystems that interfere with natural lighting patterns. The light effect can be caused by a direct effect of artificial illumination or as a result of the sky glow. The effect of the light refers to the scattering of lighting by molecules or aerosols [1] in the atmosphere, which are distributed upwards.

Light pollution is usually caused when the artificial lighting is not focused on the purpose for which it is intended to serve and causes unnecessary light to be dissipated. We encounter light pollution in home lighting, office and factory lighting, industrial areas, street lighting, sports field lighting, etc. Prominent light pollution is seen mainly in the urban areas of Israel and around the world. Light pollution includes three main phenomena: glowing skies, overexposure and glare, and I will address them here.

Glowing Skies

The main effect of light pollution is in the creation of a sky glow mask, which causes celestial bodies such as galaxies and stars to be hidden above and around urban concentrations and in reality causes only a few very bright stars to appear. According to a logical standard of energy conservation, reducing light pollution first and foremost involves changing society's habits. Habits related to placing lighting systems in population concentrations such as placing projected lighting at a target, rather than having spherical symmetry, and energy waste.


The meaning is the excessive use of light. Overexposure is most often caused by administrative failures, which can be a result of the use of bulbs with a very high light intensity for the desired use, the use of too many light fixtures for the desired purpose, or the use of lamps with a wide light scattering that are not focused on a given area. Another administrative failure can be simply poor design, especially in work environments. This failure can result from relying on an architect who is not sufficiently proficient in lighting or is not qualified for the specific project and even various practitioners that advise workplaces about the phenomenon itself leading to overexposure (with its own potential negative consequences, in particular for light-sensitive workers) and energy waste

Another failure stems from ignorance among the public. I will note that the treatment of overexposure is not expensive, and involves replacing the lighting with a lower, focused and regulating light intensity.


The dazzle can be formed when the lighting is built so that a direct line of sight is created to the light source or the light source is strong enough and is within the field of view at an angle that causes dazzle (e.g.: sports field lighting near the road that is not properly tuned may dazzle drivers). Another mode of dazzle is a transition from a dark area to a bright area or turning on artificial lighting after a prolonged stay in a darkened state (e.g. when screening a film). In such a situation too strong lighting will lead to dazzle. Also light reflection from bright surfaces or from surfaces that reflect light, such as a mirror, leads to glare[2].

2.3: The view of Tel Aviv without stars in the sky

B. Presenting the Problem

In this part of the work, we will investigate the issue of light pollution penetrating from a private area to another private area. Penetration of light from a private area into another private area focuses on lighting balconies, yard lighting, light poles, etc. First we will explain the issue and its problems, second we will review the laws, regulations and restrictions on the subject, if any, third we will check if there is awareness of the issue, and finally we will try to bring solutions and prevention methods.

The terminology that is appropriate for the subject is descriptive border trespassing, i.e. a situation in which street light or from a neighbor's house "trespasses" a dwelling house and thus knowingly causes the occupants of the house various problems, such as discomfort (or increased existing discomfort), insomnia (insomnia) Of different types. This sometimes causes neighbor conflicts that would not have taken place if the light engineering in the illuminating house had been done in a trusted fashion.

There is no doubt that every person has the right to do as much as they please inside their home, but if there is lighting from their home that penetrates outside and is a nuisance to their neighbors, there is a problem. The aim of our study is to find the "balance between" good "light and the threshold at which light becomes a nuisance in order to try to anchor the issue as a bill as the issue of standardization in noise pollution[3].

i. Consequences

The aim of the project is to focus on explaining the problems with conventional lighting in most parts of the country and understanding its damage in order to promote energy savings in outdoor lighting, improve its quality and reduce the damage to citizens and nature caused by light pollution.

This raises some questions:

· Is lighting really required and if so what is the purpose of the lighting?

· How to define a nuisance (according to which criteria)?

· From what level of illumination should the tenant be restricted?

· How can the tenant know that he is deviating from the standard to be determined?

· How will installation be monitored (what equipment)?

· Who will be the body responsible for enforcing the regulation (authorities, Ministry of the Environment, Nature and Parks Authority)?

· What sanctions will be imposed on tenants who exceed the level of illumination?

· Image 2.4 Balcony light at a new neighborhood in Rosh Haayin Is there a problem of light invading unintentional, unwanted or unnecessary places?

Lighting in the Private Space – A Dark and Narrow Field

"Man's house is his fortress," said our sages. The sentence means that every person is entitled to feel safe and secure in their home and can determine in their home what goes in and out of their home. On the one hand, as a result of this sentence, everyone is entitled to do in their house whatever they please within the walls of the house and in the yard. On the other hand, our fortress may be hurt without our will and knowledge. A good example to illustrate the subject is music. Who among us has not thought of calling the police to a neighbor who has decided to do a karaoke or party until the middle of the night? There is no doubt that in such a situation our fortress got hurt without our will and knowledge. The same goes for lighting. Lighting can invade places where it is unnecessary and even harmful. It can continue to operate powerfully, is not vision-friendly and can even be harmful by penetrating our homes and the nature around us. It is a situation in which light from the street or from a neighbor's house "trespasses" to a residential house and thus knowingly or unknowingly causes the occupants of the house various problems or inconveniences. This can sometimes lead to neighbor disputes that would not exist if there was an orderly law / standard / procedures for determining home lighting, as there are clear laws on noise limitation in residential neighborhoods. When we are in our home and we are exposed to light from an external source there is a quiet threat to our health especially at night. Psychologically light pollution can have a negative impact on both the personal and interpersonal levels. Lateral and domestic light sources, such as a traffic light or a yard spotlight that are on during the night, can be a nuisance to those living near them, as seen in Figures 2.5 and 2.6 below.

Figure 2.5: Unadjusted light fixture, dazzling the environment and missing the target

Figure 2.6: Spotlight from a construction site illuminating the apartments in front

C. Measuring Light Pollution

Light has two main features that are important for measurement in the context of light pollution. The first is the intensity of light and the second is the spectral composition, i.e. color or light colors expressed in different wavelengths. There are a number of ways and number of conventional units for measuring light intensity, luminous flux and light output. The photometric units measure light according to the visual ability of the human eye. That is, each color is measured according to the sensitivity of the eye to the same color. In contrast, light energy can be measured across the entire spectrum emitted from the light source (radiometric units) without giving different weights to different colors.

Illumination flux – photometric units of measure for measuring light intensity. Lumen is derived from the system of international units, and is used for measurements of the intensity of light absorbed by a human eye.

Measurement of light pollution can be done by determining illumination levels (illumination) at a given location. Illumination is the amount of light per unit area, and is the most common unit of measurement. Nevertheless, the frequency of measurements in Lux – a unit of measurement that expresses the brightness of light as it is observed in a person's eye. In terms of light composition, the Lux unit mainly measures the wavelengths that the human eye notices, and is less sensitive to wavelengths that the human eye does not notice.

Lighting designers are not interested in the composition of the spectral light but in the amount of light in the visible range. In contrast, ecologists are concerned about some of the wavelengths that affect ecological phenomena and animals. Ecologists make measurements of illumination levels, and may examine other measuring phenomena in the field, such as: sudden change in illumination, percentages of change in illumination, reference to illumination levels and light distribution – lamination – from light sources that different organisms can detect[4].

D. Overview of the Number of Centers with the Existing Situation

Below are photos that I took from the porch in my area to illustrate the depth of the problem. All photos were taken at 12am. Pictures 2.7-2.10 show evening lighting of public buildings, a school, a parking lot and a playground with LED lighting in which they are lit at high intensity. Here we see the phenomenon that I spoke about in the introduction – over-lighting, i.e. excessive use of light without justification. Picture 2.9-2.10 shows balcony lighting with a 30 meters distance. Even in this case, these pictures illustrate the serious problem: the strong lighting intensities emanating from the balconies and windows.

Image 2.7: Holmes Place parking lot in Rosh Ha'Ayin

Image 2.8: A playground behind a building complex in the new neighborhood of Rosh Ha'Ayin

Image 2.9: Balcony lighting in the new neighborhood in Rosh Ha'Ayin

Image 2.10: School lighting in the evening in the new neighborhood of Rosh HaAyin

2.4.1 Measurement (luminescence) of lighting of buildings and convenience stores on which projectors were installed to highlight the place.

Image 2.11: Convenience store on the corner of Moshe Dayan St., Shalom Ash St., Rishon Lezion Photographed in May of the traffic between the crossings on the bridge on Moshe Dayan Street

Even before the measurement results you can see the exposure to light captured by the camera. This is a large and busy intersection on the descent to Highway 4 South, except for the nuisance it creates, this endangers the drivers who may miss an important detail on the road.

Photo 2.12: Supermarket on Allenby St., Tel Aviv – photographed from the opposite sidewalk.

In images 2.11 and 2.12, we see a classic example of kiosks or supermarkets where spotlights are installed to draw the attention of by-passers to the fact that they are open. The light is dazzling everywhere and can even endanger areas where there is traffic.

2.4.1 Balcony / courtyard lighting of private residences

Image 2.13: Decorative lighting of a building in the city of Yamim, Netanya

Photo 2.14: Balcony lighting, Hativat Givati ​ St., Yavne.

Image 2.15: Photo taken from the bed in Rita David's bedroom

These photos were taken by waitress Rita David from the bed in the bedroom, the photos illustrate the intensity of the glare entering her room from the flag lighting installed on a building about 200 meters away (aerial line). The flagship lighting is purely decorative and there is no law that prevents the installation of such lighting. On the balcony of the penthouse apartment the lighting intensity is so strong that it is not possible to see details in light of the intensity of the glare.

2.4.1 Conclusions and Recommendations to Reduce Light Pollution

As already mentioned above light pollution can be prevented relatively easily, the key to solving the problem lies in the design. Proper lighting, with appropriate intensity, that is not wasteful of energy and causes minimal marginal effects. There is no benefit to man in the light facing upwards. The amount of light facing upwards should be reduced. Only what needs to be illuminated should be illuminated. Upward-facing light may penetrate the openings / windows of people living on the upper floors.

The amount of light required according to the characterization of different areas must be defined in order to try and reduce the light pollution in the space. Since light pollution can be found everywhere, under different land managers and under different authorities, a division of space should be created that will facilitate monitoring and regulation at different levels. In our opinion, a distinction should be made between private and public space and protected areas, such as nature reserves, open areas, rural areas, suburban areas and city centers.

The paradox that it is a light pollution from a private area to a private area and therefore implementing regulations that may restrict a person in his private area may be an infringement of the freedom of privacy. Care must be taken that lighting in the public space does not seep into the private space and does not disturb the citizens. There is no reason for street lighting to illuminate the buildings next to it. Also, private lighting should illuminate only the area that requires lighting in the private area. Every person in his private home may do as they please, as long as they do not harm those around them. Thus, we can in this case only give recommendations and not binding guidelines for indoor lighting. Lighting that faces outwards towards the neighbors or in an open area should be treated as street lighting and care should be taken with the direction of the light, its intensity and its spectrum.

We recommend the use of lighting fixtures that block lighting above the horizon and greatly reduce lighting close to the horizon. The blue component in outdoor lighting should be reduced as much as possible at night. There are several reasons to avoid this light:

2. Sensitivity of the biological clock to short-wave radiation in the blue spectrum domain.

3. Eye injury to short-wave radiation (photobiological safety).

4. Blue light has a greater glare, especially in older people, which creates glare and danger.

5. On clear nights in blue light there is a higher chance of being reflected from the atmosphere inside it and creating a sky warning.

For these reasons lighting in the public space should be designed so that the spectral composition of the light will include as small an element as possible of the blue element. Therefore, we recommend using lighting at a nominal temperature of 3,300 degrees Kelvin, and as a precaution also prevent limiting the maximum value of the radiation in the blue region of the spectrum, 420-500 nm, to 55% of the maximum emitted power. Lighting policies should be established in local authorities. The amount of light required should be defined according to the characterization of different areas. In order to try and reduce light pollution in space, the needs of humans for lighting in a particular place must be well defined, as opposed to the damage that may result from light pollution in that place. The marine space and the effect of lighting in coastal areas on the marine environment must also be considered. This is the minimum division, and various textures must be added to it in the landscape that need individual attention. It is also necessary to create buffer zones between different zones to maintain the more sensitive zone.

Illumination times should be limited and dark hours should be created wherever possible. Depending on the purpose of the lighting, it should be turned off or dimmed at night to save energy, reduce light pollution and extend the life of lighting fixtures. It is recommended that the authorities establish a regulated policy on the subject, for example, switching off lighting fixtures placed in leisure places, between public and private, as well as early switching off of lighting fixtures in residential environments worldwide is acceptable at 23:00. Mapping can be done and lighting is left on in places that are important for public safety. In any case, such lighting should be aimed at the path accurately and not illuminate the entire environment.

Another solution is efficient optics or in other words the importance of lighting fixtures. Finally we return to the question, how to optimize the light.

Effort is required so that we can prevent light pollution from effectively. Research has shown that a good light fixture is one that manages to optimally use the light coming out of the lamp to focus on exactly the surface intended for illumination. Lighting fixtures designed for precise lighting should therefore be used according to the needs of the facility. In urban planning to preserve natural resources it is necessary to use "clean" lighting fixtures that allow not only the prevention of the unwanted light component but allow a significant reduction in the number and power of lighting fixtures. Therefore, there is an importance in the development and use of lighting fixtures with high photometric efficiency.[5]

0.1. Conclusion

In the absence of early planning, local authorities illuminate the streets according to varying considerations. While in some areas light pollution is created that harms man and nature, others are dominated by darkness that encourages crime. A conversation with planners and experts illuminates the unfamiliar sides of the streetlight.

My research focuses on light pollution from the private or public space to the private space, as it is an issue that is in a dark and narrow realm that does not get much of the spotlight: lighting in the public space. Unlike road lighting around the country, which is placed in accordance with the standards and responsibilities of the Ministry of Transport, cities do not have rules that determine how much light is required for street life, and local authorities place lighting as they see fit. This freedom leads to great disorder: in some areas, the streets are flooded with too much light to dazzle, while other parts of Israeli cities suffer from darkness that leads to neglect, and even crime[6].

On a personal note, as one who lives on the tenth floor of a new neighborhood established in the last decade I will note even though the height I live in that the streetlights are a terrible nuisance both to me and my family and to the apartments facing them. From time to time a conversation arises in the building's WhatsApp group chat about the exaggeration of the lighting in our residential project. This is a residential project of 4 buildings in saturated construction and with a large public garden in the center with 4-meter-high lighting poles.

When I look at my neighborhood at a glance I notice that everyone is getting used to sleeping with completely closed shutters, curtains and air conditioners. This is how the municipality's savings are rolled into the electricity bill of the city's residents. No one has fresh air in the bedroom, neither in winter nor in summer. As if we are in Europe and not in Israel. Pay a huge fortune for apartments with huge windows and close them with electric shutters for the whole night. In addition, a new fashion of illuminating trees from below to the sky and illuminating building facades in projectors whether they are public or private is evolving. It has no standard or regulation. It is a terrible ecological disaster and dazzling for all car drivers. Many architects share this disaster in the name of "building beauty and architectural design" and are responsible for throwing it on the doorstep of municipalities.

The rapid industrialization, the rapid development of billboards as a means of advertising, poor planning of public lighting and the desire to carry out activities during the hours of darkness, create a situation of particularly high lighting levels that can be a nuisance. Astronomers were the first to draw our attention to this problem, but the general public is also beginning to make their voices heard and eventually the question is whether the situation will be a status quo and life will continue like this or the bubble will burst and the state will enact laws and impose authority on municipalities or any other administrative body to enforce them. We all hope the ladder is what will happen.

Recommendations Regarding Light from the Private Space to the Public:

1. Creating a clear guideline for contractors in new construction, a lighting fixture will be installed on sun terraces, penthouses balconies and courtyards that illuminates towards the apartment and not outside the apartment area.

2. Prohibition of the use of lighting fixtures for lamps (balls that illuminate in all directions).

3. Create a regulation that clearly explains what lighting fixtures are allowed to be installed in the yard or on the porch. The choice should be in a lighting fixture that illuminates solely in the area of ​​the apartment without light leaking up or out of bounds.

4. Limit light leakage outside the apartment area to a distance of up to one meter to a maximum of 1 lux.

5. Limiting decorative lighting of buildings to a maximum of 5 lux which will go out at 23:00.

6. Holiday decorations will not exceed 1 lux (for comparison, full moonlight is 0.03 lux) and will have to be turned off at 22:00.

7. Deciding to turning off lights in playgrounds and public institutions at 23:00.

Project Submitted By: Rita David; Haim Braha; Asaf Menn

Project Facilitators:

Dr. Ze’ev Vaisman – Head of the Electricity and Electronics Engineering Department.

Dr. Gabriella Dorfman Forman – Incoming Head of the Electricity and Electronics Engineering Department and Lighting Coordinator.

Architect Hanan Peretz – Peretz Architecture, Professor and Lighting Consultant.

[1] [2] [3] [4] Light Pollution and its Reduction, Scientific Background, Situation and Possible Courses of Action, Summary and insights of the Committee of Experts, 2017. The Israeli Association for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, how to measure light pollution, pg. 193. file:///C:/Users/haim_b/Downloads/%D7%96%D7%99%D7%94%D7%95%D7%9D-%D7%90%D7%95%D7%A8-%D7%95%D7%A6%D7%9E%D7%A6%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%95-%E2%80%93-%D7%A8%D7%A7%D7%A2-%D7%9E%D7%93%D7%A2%D7%99-%D7%AA%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%AA-%D7%9E%D7%A6%D7%91-%D7%95%D7%93%D7%A8%D7%9B%D7%99-%D7%A4%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%9C%D7%94-%D7%90%D7%A4%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%95%D7%AA.pdf [5] Article "Light, a new source of pollution", the website Citilight - Engineering (2006) Ltd. [6] Article" Smart cities and the lighting industry."



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