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Old 05-21-2013, 07:57 AM
 
Location: East Point
4,277 posts, read 5,299,862 times
Reputation: 3769

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after taking a trip last night through cave spring, ga, into gadsden and anniston alabama, i was able to notice the shocking difference in our definition of "night" and their definition of "night". believe it or not, the sky is actually black at night over there, and you can even see some stars.

i've been concerned about the amount of light we uselessly shine into the air for no particular reason, for some time, especially since the advent of sodium-vapor lights in the 1990s, which are the orange lights used for streetlights here. constantly, regardless of the locality, one can look up into the sky at night and see nothing but a purplish-orange haze. i live all the way out in alpharetta and it is like this every night. the street lights that we have are simply too bright, and many of them are pointed straight upwards for no particular reason.

make no mistake, however, i'm not saying we don't need streetlights at all— several stretches of road such as GA 400 and those backroads in west forsyth county are really an accident waiting to happen due to their complete lack of lighting. i just think that the streetlights that we do have are too bright, point in all the wrong directions, and ruin the night, in addition to shining in people's windows and disrupting sleep.

in addition, many public buildings have excessive lighting— i'm not talking about your regular lightbulbs. for example, there is a CDC building along clifton road that has a huge sodium light on the side of the building. it *literally* points sideways. it's 8 stories off the ground, and it's got to be several hundred watts. it shines into the forest and you can see it from the kroger parking lot at sage hill, which is a quarter of a mile away. that's nuts! what a waste of electricity, in addition to being a nuisance!

part of the problem was the failed upgrade when they first went from the old mercury lights to the new sodium lights. most mercury lights were 250 watts maximum— sodium lights were introduced as being more efficient and cost-saving. however, when they installed them, they didn't reduce the wattage at all— and since sodium lights are twice as bright per watt used, the streets got twice as bright with no energy savings, and introduced the permanent orange haze that hovers over our city at night.

the problem has gotten ridiculous. for example, here in alpharetta on highway 9, between old milton parkway and academy street, there are no less than three different sets of street lights on the same stretch of road— the first ones were put up in the 1980s. they then added decorative globe lights at the sidewalk level, and failed to remove the older fixtures that were higher up. then, this past year, yet another set of lights was added over the other two. and all three sets of lights are not 125 watts, not 250 watts, but an incredible 400 watts! it almost looks like daylight driving down that stretch of road, it is absolutely absurd and a travesty.

this is very common around metro atlanta, and the problem extends to parking lots and even in the design of some buildings. there is a hotel in buckhead that has about 50 lights just pointing straight up into the air, for no particular reason.

if you travel to other areas, even areas that are comparable in size to metro atlanta, you don't see this ridiculous luminescence at night.

i know that metro atlanta is a big city and it would be an pointless endeavour to ever expect the night sky to look like this over atlanta:




but for goodness sakes, does it have to look like this!?

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Old 05-21-2013, 08:33 AM
 
Location: ATL
4,688 posts, read 6,972,844 times
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We have lights but our huge trees cover them up

/end thread
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:10 AM
 
2,167 posts, read 2,319,801 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryantm3 View Post

part of the problem was the failed upgrade when they first went from the old mercury lights to the new sodium lights. most mercury lights were 250 watts maximum— sodium lights were introduced as being more efficient and cost-saving. however, when they installed them, they didn't reduce the wattage at all— and since sodium lights are twice as bright per watt used, the streets got twice as bright with no energy savings, and introduced the permanent orange haze that hovers over our city at night.
I'm not pretending to know how commercial street lights function, but wattage isn't "provided" to a light (voltage is). Wattage is a property of the bulb itself, not the circuitry feeding it, right?
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
23,728 posts, read 19,406,875 times
Reputation: 5608
Quote:
Originally Posted by red92s View Post
I'm not pretending to know how commercial street lights function, but wattage isn't "provided" to a light (voltage is). Wattage is a property of the bulb itself, not the circuitry feeding it, right?
Wattage has to do with the amount of light and the area it covers.
A 400W streetlight is brighter and covers more area than a 100W.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:04 AM
 
9,124 posts, read 33,877,328 times
Reputation: 3601
Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
Wattage has to do with the amount of light and the area it covers.
A 400W streetlight is brighter and covers more area than a 100W.
Actually, wattage is simply the product of the voltage applied to the lamp times the amperage the light draws- it has nothing to do with the amount of light produced or the area covered. Different types of bulbs can produce the same amount of light (measured in lumens) while drawing very different amperages, and cover very different areas based on the type of bulb and fixture (cut-off fixtures, spots, floods, etc). That's why there's been such a big push to move to CFL and LED lights in the home- a compact fluorescent bulb can produce a similar number of lumens to an incandescent bulb while consuming far less power, as can an LED.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:51 AM
 
Location: The Greatest city on Earth: City of Atlanta Proper
8,073 posts, read 12,885,401 times
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I'm struggling to understand how "Atlanta needs" a light ordinance for what you are stating. How we different from any other major urban area?

Having lived in several much larger cities around the world, I can tell you that we are quite lucky in the amount of the night sky we do get to see. I've been in places where you're lucky to see a single star.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:38 PM
 
30,555 posts, read 29,000,343 times
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There's a lot of light in the commercial areas but it doesn't seem worse than other big cities. We live right in the middle of town and I always marvel that we can still walk outside at night and things are as dark and quiet as can be. Of course you've got bullfrogs hollering and owls hooting and out front there will be cars passing by from time to time. Otherwise you would think you're out in the country.
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
7,056 posts, read 8,484,198 times
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well I agree with cutting down ambient light emissions in general.

However, I disagree that other comparably sized cities are doing better.

The reason you don't see the ambient light in Anniston is your finally getting far enough away from Atlanta that there isn't as much light refracting from the atmosphere from a huge city.

Alabama is a considerably less populated state than we are. Birmingham and Anniston are quite a bit smaller as well.

I don't think Alabama has any better regulations or even comparable regulations in regarding this matter. It took them long enough to make luke-warm ordinances for lights on their gulf-beaches, which is a common nesting ground for sea turtles.

The biggest/quickest thing that needs to be done is create ordinances for light fixtures that only have light projecting downward of a 180 degree plane, rather than circular. It won't stop urban lights, but it reduces how much reaches the atmosphere and reflects back down.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:19 PM
 
Location: The Greatest city on Earth: City of Atlanta Proper
8,073 posts, read 12,885,401 times
Reputation: 6135
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post

However, I disagree that other comparably sized cities are doing better.

The reason you don't see the ambient light in Anniston is your finally getting far enough away from Atlanta that there isn't as much light refracting from the atmosphere from a huge city.

Alabama is a considerably less populated state than we are. Birmingham and Anniston are quite a bit smaller as well.
Exactly. All you need to know is this. Anniston, AL has 23,000 residents. Metro Atlanta has 6 million. That's 259 times more people. The factor difference in the amount of lights is in the hundreds of thousands.
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:21 PM
 
10,974 posts, read 8,392,250 times
Reputation: 3413
I am actually more concerned with all the street lights that do not work. It is a safety risk and it just looks bad when you are driving down the highway with non-functional lights. It makes you think that the infrastructure is not up to par.
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