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A DOE Solid-State Lighting video about sky glow, featuring commentary by Bruce Kinzey of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Video courtesy of the Department of Energy

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.

The study led to development of a sky glow comparison tool, 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.

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

DOE technical leadership and support also assisted industry in development of ANSI/IES-TM-37, a Technical Memorandum (TM) providing guidance on the description, measurement, and estimation of sky glow. The TM offers a means of reducing human contributions to light in the night sky and information on estimating the relative effectiveness of the different options available. It describes the causes, characteristics, and potential impacts of sky glow, and provides the current state of the science for conducting estimations to facilitate its quantification and control.