TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public buildings law, in relation
to restricting the luminous power of lighting fixtures installed or
maintained by the state
Limits the brightness of lights installed or maintained by New York
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends the public building laws defining direct lighting,
facade lighting, fully shielded fixture, fixture lumens, glare,
illuminance, light trespass, lumen, fixture, ornamental roadway
lighting parking-lot lighting, permanent outdoor fixture, roadway
lighting and sky glow.
Section 2: Prohibits state funds to be used to install new permanent
outdoor fixtures, or to pay for the cost of operating such fixtures
unless requirements are met such
(a) As the fixture is fully shielded for those mounted to poles,
buildings or other structures.
(b) Fully shielded fixtures for those building mounted that are not
specifically intended for roadway lighting, parking-lot lighting, or
(c) Facade lighting the fixture is shielded to reduce glare, sky glow,
and light trespass to the greatest extent possible.
(d) Ornamental roadway lighting fixtures cannot allow more than 700
lumens from the fixture above a horizontal plane through the fixture's
lowest light emitting part.
(e) For new illuminated permanent outdoor fixtures applications, only
the illuminance levels required may be used.
(f) In cases involving roadway lighting unassociated with
intersections of 2 or more streets or highways, the Department of
Transportation has determined the purpose of lighting installation or
replacement cannot be achieved by installing reflectorized roadway
markers, line, warnings or informational signs or other passive means.
Section 3: waives the application of this law if:
(a) Federal law preempts state law
(b) the fixture is temporarily used by emergency personnel or repair
personnel for road repair
(c) navigational lighting systems necessary for aviation and nautical
(d) athletic playing lighting
(e) safety or security needs exist that cannot be addressed by any
(f) replacement of previously installed permanent outdoor fixtures
that are destroyed, damaged or inoperative, have experienced
electrical failure due to failed components or required standard
(g) lighting is intended for tunnels and roadway underpasses
This bill is intended to limit misdirected and excessive outdoor
illumination. Such illumination wastes energy, intrudes on the privacy
of others, creates glare which reduces the effect of lighting,
deteriorates the natural nighttime environment, and reduces the
ability for astronomical observation.
Outdoor lighting is used to illuminate roadways, parking lots, yards,
sidewalks, public meeting areas, signs, work sites and buildings.
When well designed, it improves visibility, adds an element of safety
and creates a sense of security, while at the same time minimizing
energy use and operating costs. However, if it is not well designed it
can be costly, inefficient, counterproductive, and harmful to the
nighttime environment, interfering with normal patterns of activity,
behavior and Physiology of flora and fauna. Recent research has
indicated that exposure to light at night can upset normal human
circadian rhythms, thereby disrupting hormone secretions and weakening
the body's immune system.
Much of the outdoor lighting in use today wastes energy because it is
poorly designed. This waste results in both higher costs for providing
such lighting and increased pollution from the power plants that
produce the wasted electricity. It is conservatively estimated that $3
to $4.5 billion a year is wasted in the United States in the
unintended lighting of the sky rather than the streets, walkways, and
outdoor public spaces which the light was, intended to illuminate.
In addition to wasting energy, poorly designed lighting often causes
blinding glare. Glare occurs when you see light directly from a
fixture or bulb. The glare from poorly designed or positioned lighting
hampers the vision of drivers and pedestrians, reducing its
effectiveness and creating a hazard rather than increasing safety. It
shines onto neighboring properties and into nearby residences,
reducing privacy, hindering sleep, and diminishing the beauty of the
natural surroundings in areas far removed from the source of such
lighting. A large portion of such lighting shines directly upward,
creating the sky glow above population centers, adversely affecting
the view of the night sky.
In addition to lowering the cost of outdoor lighting, limiting sky
glow will allow future generations to enjoy the beauty of the stars,
and to study and learn from or simply marvel at the wonders of the
This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become a law;
provided that effective immediately, in addition, amendment and/or
repeal of any rule or regulation or development of any standards
necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date is
authorizes to be made and completed on or before such effective date.
This act shall not apply to projects for the installation or
replacement of permanent outdoor fixtures which have already received
final design approval prior to the effective date or this act.
S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
I N A S S E M B L Y
May 22, 2013
Introduced by M. of A. ROSENTHAL -- read once and referred to the
Committee on Governmental Operations
AN ACT to amend the public buildings law, in relation to restricting the
luminous power of lighting fixtures installed or maintained by the
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
1 Section 1. The public buildings law is amended by adding a new section
2 143 to read as follows:
3 S 143. LIGHTING RESTRICTIONS. 1. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS SECTION:
4 A. "DIRECT LIGHT" MEANS LIGHT EMITTED BY A FIXTURE FROM THE LIGHT
5 SOURCE, FROM A REFLECTOR, OR THROUGH A REFRACTOR.
6 B. "FACADE LIGHTING" MEANS PERMANENT OUTDOOR FIXTURES THAT ARE SPECIF-
7 ICALLY INTENDED TO ILLUMINATE THE EXTERIOR SURFACES OF BUILDINGS OR
9 C. "FULLY SHIELDED FIXTURE" MEANS A FIXTURE THAT ALLOWS NO DIRECT
10 LIGHT FROM THE FIXTURE ABOVE A HORIZONTAL PLANE THROUGH THE FIXTURE'S
11 LOWEST LIGHT-EMITTING PART, IN ITS MOUNTED POSITION.
12 D. "FIXTURE LUMENS" MEANS TOTAL LUMENS EMITTED BY A FIXTURE.
13 E. "GLARE" MEANS LIGHT EMITTED BY A FIXTURE THAT CAUSES DISCOMFORT OR
14 REDUCED VISIBILITY.
15 F. "ILLUMINANCE" MEANS THE LUMINOUS POWER INCIDENT PER UNIT AREA OF A
17 G. "LIGHT TRESPASS" MEANS LIGHT THAT FALLS BEYOND THE PROPERTY IT IS
18 INTENDED TO ILLUMINATE.
19 H. "LUMEN" MEANS A STANDARD UNIT OF MEASUREMENT OF THE QUANTITY OF
20 LIGHT EMITTED FROM A SOURCE OF LIGHT.
21 I. "FIXTURE" MEANS A COMPLETE LIGHTING UNIT, INCLUDING A LIGHT SOURCE
22 TOGETHER WITH THE PARTS DESIGNED TO DISTRIBUTE THE LIGHT, TO POSITION
23 AND PROTECT THE LIGHT SOURCE AND TO CONNECT THE LIGHT SOURCE TO THE
24 POWER SUPPLY.
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
A. 7489 2
1 J. "ORNAMENTAL ROADWAY LIGHTING" MEANS A ROADWAY LIGHTING FIXTURE THAT
2 SERVES A DECORATIVE FUNCTION IN ADDITION TO A ROADWAY LIGHTING FUNCTION,
3 HAVING AN HISTORICAL PERIOD APPEARANCE OR DECORATIVE APPEARANCE.
4 K. "PARKING-LOT LIGHTING" MEANS PERMANENT OUTDOOR FIXTURES SPECIF-
5 ICALLY INTENDED TO ILLUMINATE UNCOVERED VEHICLE PARKING AREAS.
6 L. "PERMANENT OUTDOOR FIXTURE" MEANS A FIXTURE FOR USE IN AN EXTERIOR
7 ENVIRONMENT INSTALLED WITH MOUNTING NOT INTENDED FOR RELOCATION.
8 M. "ROADWAY LIGHTING" MEANS PERMANENT OUTDOOR FIXTURES SPECIFICALLY
9 INTENDED TO ILLUMINATE PUBLIC ROADWAYS.
10 N. "SKY GLOW" MEANS A CONDITION CAUSED BY LIGHT DIRECTED UPWARDS OR
11 SIDEWAYS REDUCING ONE'S ABILITY TO VIEW THE NIGHT SKY.
12 2. NO STATE FUNDS SHALL BE USED TO INSTALL A NEW PERMANENT OUTDOOR
13 FIXTURE, OR PAY FOR THE COST OF OPERATING SUCH FIXTURE, UNLESS THE
14 FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS ARE MET:
15 A. IN THE CASE OF ROADWAY LIGHTING OR PARKING-LOT LIGHTING; WHETHER
16 MOUNTED TO POLES, BUILDINGS OR OTHER STRUCTURES, THE FIXTURE IS FULLY
18 B. IN THE CASE OF BUILDING-MOUNTED FIXTURES NOT SPECIFICALLY INTENDED
19 FOR ROADWAY LIGHTING, PARKING-LOT LIGHTING, OR FACADE LIGHTING, THE
20 FIXTURE IS FULLY SHIELDED WHEN ITS INITIAL FIXTURE LUMENS IS GREATER
21 THAN THREE THOUSAND LUMENS.
22 C. IN THE CASE OF FACADE LIGHTING, THE FIXTURE IS SHIELDED TO REDUCE
23 GLARE, SKY GLOW, AND LIGHT TRESPASS TO THE GREATEST EXTENT POSSIBLE.
24 D. IN THE CASE OF ORNAMENTAL ROADWAY LIGHTING FIXTURES, THE FIXTURE
25 ALLOWS NO MORE THAN SEVEN HUNDRED LUMENS FROM THE FIXTURE ABOVE A HORI-
26 ZONTAL PLANE THROUGH THE FIXTURE'S LOWEST LIGHT EMITTING PART.
27 E. FOR ILLUMINATION BY NEW PERMANENT OUTDOOR FIXTURES FOR APPLICATIONS
28 DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPHS A, B, C OR D OF THIS SUBDIVISION, ONLY THE ILLU-
29 MINANCE LEVELS REQUIRED FOR THE INTENDED PURPOSE AS DEFINED IN THE TENTH
30 EDITION OF THE LIGHTING HANDBOOK PUBLISHED BY THE ILLUMINATING ENGINEER-
31 ING SOCIETY (IES), AS UPDATED, MAY BE USED. WHERE LOCAL CITY OR COUNTY
32 LAWS, ORDINANCES OR REGULATIONS SPECIFY A DIFFERENT REQUIREMENT, ONLY
33 THE ILLUMINANCE LEVELS REQUIRED FOR THE INTENDED PURPOSE BY THESE LAWS,
34 ORDINANCES OR REGULATIONS ARE TO BE USED.
35 F. IN THE CASE OF ROADWAY LIGHTING UNASSOCIATED WITH INTERSECTIONS OF
36 TWO OR MORE STREETS OR HIGHWAYS, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION HAS
37 DETERMINED THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE LIGHTING INSTALLATION OR REPLACEMENT
38 CANNOT BE ACHIEVED BY INSTALLATION OF REFLECTORIZED ROADWAY MARKERS,
39 LINES, WARNINGS OR INFORMATIONAL SIGNS, OR OTHER PASSIVE MEANS.
40 3. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY:
41 A. IF A FEDERAL LAW, RULE OR REGULATION PREEMPTS STATE LAW;
42 B. IF THE OUTDOOR LIGHTING FIXTURE IS USED TEMPORARILY BY EMERGENCY
43 PERSONNEL REQUIRING ADDITIONAL ILLUMINATION FOR EMERGENCY PROCEDURES OR
44 TEMPORARILY USED BY REPAIR PERSONNEL FOR ROAD REPAIR;
45 C. TO NAVIGATIONAL LIGHTING SYSTEMS AND OTHER LIGHTING NECESSARY FOR
46 AVIATION AND NAUTICAL SAFETY;
47 D. TO LIGHTING FOR ATHLETIC PLAYING AREAS;
48 E. IF A COMPELLING AND BONA FIDE SAFETY OR SECURITY NEED EXISTS THAT
49 CANNOT BE ADDRESSED BY ANY OTHER METHOD;
50 F. TO THE REPLACEMENT OF PREVIOUSLY INSTALLED PERMANENT OUTDOOR
51 FIXTURES THAT ARE DESTROYED, DAMAGED OR INOPERATIVE, HAVE EXPERIENCED
52 ELECTRICAL FAILURE DUE TO FAILED COMPONENTS, OR REQUIRE STANDARD MAINTE-
53 NANCE; OR
54 G. TO LIGHTING INTENDED FOR TUNNELS AND ROADWAY UNDERPASSES.
55 S 2. The office of general services, in consultation with the depart-
56 ment of transportation, and giving consideration to the recommended
A. 7489 3
1 practices adopted by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North Amer-
2 ica, shall establish rules to implement the provisions of this section,
3 including a system to ensure that the use of state funds for street
4 lighting complies with the requirements set forth in this act and shall
5 provide for the wide dissemination of this information.
6 S 3. Applicability. No provision of this act shall be construed as to
7 permit the practice of architecture as such practice is defined in
8 section 7301 of the education law, or the practice of engineering as
9 such practice is defined in section 7201 of the education law.
10 S 4. This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become a
11 law; provided that effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or
12 repeal of any rule or regulation or development of any standards neces-
13 sary for the implementation of this act on its effective date is author-
14 ized to be made and completed on or before such effective date; and
15 provided further, that this act shall not apply to projects for the
16 installation or replacement of permanent outdoor fixtures which have
17 already received final design approval prior to the effective date of
18 this act.