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In 2017, DOE published a study conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, An Investigation of LED Street Lighting’s Impact on Sky Glow. The study examines the expected contributions to sky glow from converting high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting to broader-spectrum (i.e., white light) sources, with specific focus on LEDs, and presents the results relative to HPS baseline conditions. The before- and after-conditions represent typical conversions taking place in the U.S. and include changes in spectral power distribution (SPD), percent uplight, and lumen output.


In 2018, researchers at PNNL developed a simplified method for comparing lighting products’ contributions to sky glow that allows the user to vary the traditional output characteristics (e.g., spectral content, output level, percent uplight) of each product being compared. The methodology arose out of the large dataset generated by more than 215,000 model runs during the process of the 2017 investigation, and has since been incorporated into a spreadsheet that enables relatively simple comparisons. This sky glow comparison tool is designed to be user-friendly, with inputs and outputs that are readily familiar to the lighting community, and addresses an existing gap in their design toolkit. View a webinar about the Sky Glow Comparison Tool.

Request the tool: Stakeholders interested in obtaining the sky glow comparison tool should send an email request to and provide their contact information.