Dodgeville Streetlights

Has anyone else noticed how Alliant Energy is gradually replacing our orangish-white-light streetlights with bluish-white-light ones? The orangish-white-light streetlights are high-pressure sodium (HPS) with a correlated color temperature (CCT) of 1900K, whereas the bluish-white-light streetlights that are replacing them are LED with a CCT of 4000K, and, most notably, they are two and a half times as bright.

Even though I have written to both Alliant Energy and the City of Dodgeville, nothing has changed.

My questions, which are still unanswered:

What is the justification for increasing the streetlighting illumination level by two and a half times over what it has been for decades?

Why are we going from 1900K to 4000K (cold white), when 2700K or 3000K (warm white) is readily available and being used in many communities in the U.S. and Canada?

This same transformation is happening in Mineral Point, and probably many other communities in SW Wisconsin as well.

Is anyone else noticing how this is profoundly changing the rural character of our nighttime environment? Is anyone else concerned about this? The increase in glare and light trespass onto neighboring properties from these new LED lights is quite noticeable to me, even though they are nominally full-cutoff. Why? They are too bright, and too blue.

If anyone locally is reading Cosmic Reflections (and sometimes I wonder if anyone is…), and if you have noticed and are alarmed by these streetlighting changes, please contact me on blog or off blog (oesper at mac.com) and let’s meet and discuss a plan of action. Something needs to be done before it is too late and we are stuck with this very negative change to our nighttime environment.

7 thoughts on “Dodgeville Streetlights”

  1. I recently received a fundraising email from the International Dark-Sky Association, and they quote Joe Bergeron, an astronomy volunteer, who begins, “If you live in a city and the sky is just an ugly yellow dome over your head at night…”

    So true, but it is about to get much, much worse. That ugly yellow dome is going to become an even uglier bluish-white dome, and it will be brighter.

    Put your devices and virtual realities down people, and wake up to what is going on in the natural environment around you!

    1. I saw your Letter to Editor in the Mineral Point paper today and I too have been bothered by these new lights for the past months. I do not know what to do about them — although I do appreciate the fact that they are more energy efficient I think that maybe a lower wattage or maybe a yellow screen of some sort would help reduce the brightness. The new lights have been installed in the intersections here in Mineral Point, but are also in the middle of my neighborhood street (plus I now have a neighbor behind me that has installed LED flood lights). Not necessary! And now with the snow they are even more annoying. There are plenty of other communities in other states that have also complained about them which I assume you are aware of ( https://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/conservation/led-streetlights-are-giving-neighborhoods-the-blues) for example. Any ideas on how to address this? I had thought of calling up Alliant Energy but figured it wouldn’t go anywhere. Sorry, I’m not very good at verbalizing my concerns…

      1. Thanks for your comment, Dawn. I agree something needs to be done. I’m hoping a few others will respond to my letter to the editor in the newspaper and then I’ll contact everyone to find a time when we can all meet to discuss. Clearly, we should ask for a meeting with Alliant Energy, and I think a representative from the Mineral Point and Dodgeville city governments should be in that meeting, too. Will be back in touch soon!

      2. Hi Dawn, Did you know that Mineral Point has a lighting ordinance? Here’s a link to my copy of it:

        https://skythisweek.info/mineralpointlighting.pdf

        If the City of Mineral Point has this lighting ordinance on the web somewhere, I sure would like to know about it.

        Specifically, section 17.10(5), subsection (a) of the zoning code states that, “Outdoor light fixtures shall be fully shielded, placed so as not to cause glare beyond the property boundary, and not be directed above the horizontal.”

        Your neighbor with the LED floodlights may be out of compliance with the Mineral Point lighting ordinance. You might want to contact the City about this. Are your neighbor’s floodlights on dusk-to-dawn, or just some of the time? Perhaps I can help you with this issue.

        1. Shoot! My husband interrupted me after I wrote you a reply. So if you find multiple replies you know why! Anyways, I did happen to see the ordinance you had posted on neighbors with LED lights. I had asked my neighbor earlier this summer if he could angle his lights so as not to shine in my yard… but so far nothing has changed. They turn the lights on at dusk and are on all night long and even into daylight ( and I wonder what their electric bill is ! ). I have printed out the ordinance you have referenced but have not confronted them with it yet… kind of hard when dealing with next-door neighbors, right?

  2. Hi Dawn,

    Yes, talking to a neighbor about light trespass can be stressful if you don’t know them that well, or if they have different sensibilities than you. I’ve been in that situation several times myself, and have often helped others in similar situations. Lots of people just don’t seem to understand that their lights shining into your yard and house are just as obnoxious as if they were playing loud music directed at your house at all hours of the night.

    The key consideration is whether the lights are on all night long, dusk to dawn, or only occasionally. Since your neighbor has their outside lights on all night long, something needs to be done. I’ll help you with this. I’ll email you privately to find a time when you and your husband and I can meet to discuss.

    Incidentally, I have received no other emails yet from others who want to work on the LED streetlighting issue (too blue and too bright). We can also discuss meeting with Alliant Energy when we get together to look at your neighbor’s light trespass issue.

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