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It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. chapter 24 is added to read:

Chapter 24.  Outdoor Lighting


(a)  Legislative purpose.  It is the purpose of this chapter to develop voluntary guidelines to be available for use in the design and installation of  outdoor lighting in order to facilitate the use of lighting fixtures and design criteria that minimize the causes of sky glow, light trespass, and glare, while still providing a comfortable, visually effective, energy efficient, safe, and secure outdoor environment.  It is the intent of the general assembly that the use of outdoor lighting should not interfere with the beauty and quality of the Vermont night landscape and night sky.  It is the intent of the general assembly to conserve energy without decreasing safety, utility, security, and productivity, while enhancing nighttime enjoyment of property within the state.  It is also the intent of the general assembly to minimize the intrusion of lighting across property lines, thereby avoiding disruption of the quality of life for nearby government and nongovernment buildings and grounds and for private residences, and to avoid the disruption of natural instinctive cycles of flora and fauna, particularly, but not only, within nearby natural areas.  On a pragmatic basis, it is assumed that appropriate lighting is safer and more efficient than inappropriate lighting.  Appropriate lighting is an energy conservation practice that will save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(b)  Definitions.  For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

(1)  “Candela” is the unit that describes the intensity of a light source in a specified direction, and is equal to one lumen per steradian (lm/sr).

(2)  “Cutoff” means a luminaire light distribution where the candela per 1,000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 25 (2.5 percent) at an angle of 90 degrees above nadir, and 100 (10 percent) at a vertical angle of 80 degrees above nadir.

(3)  “Efficacy” is a measurement of the ratio of light produced by a light source to the electrical power used to produce that light, expressed in lumens per watt.

(4)  “Full cutoff” means a luminaire light distribution where zero candela intensity occurs at an angle of 90 degrees above nadir, and at all greater angles from nadir.  Additionally, the candela per 1,000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 100 (10 percent) at a vertical angle of 80 degrees above nadir.

(5)  “Glare” occurs when a bright source causes the eye to be drawn continually toward the bright image or when the brightness of the source prevents the viewer from adequately viewing the intended target.

(6)  “Installation” means the attachment or assembly of any outdoor lighting fixture, and its fixing in place, whether or not connected to a power source.

(7)  “Light pollution” means the upward emitting of stray light which  may illuminate clouds, dust, and other airborne matter, and may obscure the night sky.

(8)  “Light trespass” means any artificial light greater than 0.10 footcandles falling outside the boundaries of the property upon which the outdoor luminaire is installed.  “Light trespass” occurs when neighbors of an illuminated space are affected by the lighting system’s inability to contain its light within the area intended.

(9)  “Lumen” means the unit of measurement of the quantity of light produced by a lamp or emitted from a luminaire.

(10)  “Luminaire” means a complete lighting unit, often referred to as a light fixture.  A luminaire consists of the lamp or light source, optical reflector and housing, and electrical components for safely starting and operating the lamp or light source.

(11)  “Nadir” means the point directly below the luminaire. 

(12)  “Noncutoff” means a luminaire light distribution where there is no candela limitation in the zone above maximum candela.

(13)  “Outdoor lighting fixture (or luminaire)” means any outdoor electrically powered luminaire, permanently installed or portable, used for illumination, decoration, or advertisement.  Such devices shall include general ambient lighting, street and area luminaires, decorative lighting, accent or feature lighting, as well as searchlights, spotlights, and floodlights, any of which being for use at or on:

(A)  Buildings and structures.

(B)  Recreational areas.

(C)  Parking lot and area lighting.

(D)  Landscape lighting.

(E)  Outdoor signage, both internally and externally lit (advertising or other).

(F)  Street lighting.

(G)  Product display area lighting.

(H)  Building overhangs, eaves, and open and closed canopies.

(I)  Farms, dairies, or feedlots.

(J)  Gas canopy lighting.

(K)  Outdoor walkways.

(14)  “Semicutoff” means a luminaire light distribution where the candela per 1,000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 50 (five percent) at an angle of 90 degrees above nadir, and 200 (20 percent) at a vertical angle of 80 degrees above nadir.

(15)  “Sky glow,” the result of scattered light in the atmosphere, means the haze or glow of light that reduces the ability to view the nighttime sky.

(c)  Advisory board.  There is created a 20‑member legislative outdoor lighting advisory board. To constitute the board, the governor shall appoint: one representative from organizations involved with protecting the public safety, recommended by the commissioner of public safety; one representative of the regional planning commissions recommended by the Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies; one municipal planner recommended by the Vermont Planners’ Association; one representative of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) recommended by the VEIC; one representative of the utility industry in a single recommendation from the state’s municipal, cooperative, and private utility companies; one Vermont representative of outdoor lighting manufacturers or outdoor lighting engineers recommended by the Vermont section of the American Society of Civil Engineers; one astronomer recommended by the Vermont Astronomical Society; one representative of the natural sciences and environment recommended by the Vermont Natural Resources Council; one commercial property owner and one outdoor recreation facility owner or operator recommended jointly by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility; one municipal official recommended by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns; one professional Vermont outdoor light designer or architect who has substantial experience in outdoor lighting applications and who is determined well‑qualified within the profession as recommended by the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA); a representative of the agency of transportation recommended by the secretary of the agency; a representative of the department of buildings and general services recommended by the commissioner of the department; a representative of the Center for Crime Victims Services (CCVC) recommended by the CCVC; a representative of the Vermont Farm Bureau (VFB) recommended by the VFB; a representative of the Vermont Agricultural Fairs Association (VAFA) recommended by the VAFA; and one landscape architect recommended by the Vermont Association of Landscape Architects.  If the governor fails to receive a particular recommendation under this subsection, the governor may make the appointment in question, without having received that recommendation.  The board shall include one member of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker, and one member of the senate, appointed by the committee on committees.  Legislative membership on and legislative council staffing of the board shall cease as soon as the board makes available its performance-based, outdoor lighting guidelines, as required under subsection (d) of this section.  The board shall be convened by the legislative members, shall be administratively staffed by the legislative council, and shall be entitled to the support of the natural resources board, the agency of transportation, the department of buildings and general services, the department of public service, the department of labor and industry, the agency of commerce and community development, the department of public safety, the office of the attorney general, and the agency of natural resources.  Effective July 1, 2007, ongoing support for the board shall be provided by the department of public service. At its first meeting, the advisory board shall select one of its members to serve as chair.

(d)  Outdoor lighting guidelines.  By no later than June 30, 2007, the board shall develop and make available performance-based, outdoor lighting guidelines, in a format that will be informative to the general public and usable by municipalities, regional planning commissions, architects and designers, commercial interests, and the general public.  In developing the guidelines, the board shall consider the recommendations and national standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), and the International Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Association and shall consider luminaires that are full cutoff luminaires and luminaires that are constructed so that no more than two percent of the total luminaire lumens in the zone of 90 degrees to 180 degrees vertical angle is permitted if the related output of the luminaire is greater than 3,200 lumens.  The guidelines shall be updated as necessary, but no less frequently than every three years.

(1)  In developing the guidelines with respect to minimizing sky glow, light pollution, or energy waste, the board shall consider provisions that would encourage:

(A)  An evaluation of the need for lighting at all.

(B)  Turning off noncritical lighting after business hours and at other times when it is not required.

(C)  Limitations on the use of noncutoff and semicutoff light fixtures.

(D)  Use of outdoor lighting fixtures that emit no more than two percent of light above the horizontal plane.

(E)  Use of shielding that minimizes the extent to which light passes above horizontal, when fixtures need to be tilted or aimed.

(F)  Providing uniform and appropriate lighting in parking lots.

(2)  In developing the guidelines with respect to minimizing light trespass, the board shall consider provisions that would encourage:

(A)  The careful selection of lamp wattage and outdoor lighting fixture type and placement, together with appropriate reflector selection.

(B)  The aiming and shielding of outdoor light fixtures, so as to keep the projection of the light within the property boundaries.

(3)  With respect to minimizing glare, the board shall consider provisions that would encourage:

(A)  Use of full cutoff light fixtures as well as louvers and exterior visors to help prevent the direct image of a bright source.

(B)  Use of quality prismatic or translucent lens materials to spread the bright image over a larger area and reduce the brightness of the source.

(C)  Appropriate mounting heights of necessary floodlights, so as to reduce glare in an unintended field of view and with a total effect that conforms to reasonable ambient lighting levels, based on the environment of the proposed installation. 

(4)  The guidelines shall acknowledge different needs for urban, suburban, and rural communities and for different land uses; shall be adaptable to various situations so as to avoid creating a minimum standard that is counterproductive; and shall focus initially on commercial properties, convenience stores with gas canopies, parking lots, roadways, and signage.

(5)  The guidelines shall consider energy conservation provisions that would set maximum footcandle levels or standards for a range of outdoor lighting applications and locations and shall encourage the use of high efficiency lamp and control technologies.  The guidelines shall encourage lamp technologies with high efficacy.

(6)  The guidelines shall consider all of the following:

(A)  Significant safety or security concerns.

(B)  Historic or residential streets that require special product aesthetics or vertical illuminance criteria, for example, to limit the lamp lumens or wattage to control glare and light trespass.

(C)  Temporary lighting used for emergency or nighttime work.

(D)  Lighting used solely to enhance the beauty of an object.

(E)  Special public events.

(e)  Outreach.  The board shall take appropriate measures to inform the general public of the legislative purpose of this section and of the guidelines developed under this section.  As part of this effort, the board shall work with planners, the electricians’ licensing board, the board of professional engineering, the board of architecture, public and private utility companies, and any others responsible for designing and installing outdoor lighting to:

(1)  assure that practitioners of these professions have a knowledge of the legislative purpose of this section, and of the guidelines developed under this section; and

(2)  encourage these practitioners to impart that knowledge to their customers in a manner that encourages consumer choices that are consistent with the guidelines developed under this section.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont