(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eliana Pintor Marin, Wayne DeAngelo, and Benjie Wimberly to encourage the use of energy efficient outdoor lighting fixtures by departments of the state was approved Monday by an Assembly panel.
Sponsors note the legislations stems from “dark skies” legislation that has been adopted in states around the country. If this bill is enacted New Jersey would join at least 18 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who have laws in place to reduce light pollution in order to promote energy conservation, public safety, aesthetic interests and astronomical research capabilities.
The bill (A-1652) requires the state to install, replace, or maintain outdoor lighting fixtures that comply with design requirements state in the bill that are intended to minimize wasted light and state funds. It does not require the state to replace outdoor lighting fixtures that function properly as of the bill’s effective date, but only applies to the replacement of deficient outdoor lighting fixtures.
“This legislation aligns New Jersey with other states taking steps to reduce light pollution, and promote energy conservation,” said Pintor Marin. “Moving away from current outdoor lighting fixtures to new fixtures that conserve energy will not only be good for the environment but cost effective for the state in the long run.”
The reduction in consumption combined with the more efficient and superior equipment would help to reduce energy cost and offset any monies needed at the time of the upgrade as well as less need for disposal and/or recycling of old equipment.
“Some local governments have already taken action to switch to energy-saving lighting in their towns,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “Excess lighting is energy wasted. This is a small gesture with a sizable impact that the state can make to reduce light pollution.”
“One small change in the way we use lighting in the state can save energy, reduce light pollution and protect the environment,” said Wimberly (D- Bergen, Passaic). “It may also help lower our energy bill and that’s good for New Jersey.”
Under the bill, the state would install, replace, or maintain an outdoor lighting fixture if:
· an outdoor lighting fixture with a rated output greater than 1,900 lumens is installed or replaced with a cutoff luminaire;
· the minimum illuminance adequate for the intended purpose is used with consideration given to nationally recognized standards;
· for fixtures used for lighting a designated highway of the state highway system, the Department of Transportation determined that the purpose of the outdoor lighting fixture cannot be achieved by the installation of reflective road markers, lines, warning or informational signs, or other effective methods;
· and full consideration has been given to energy conservation, reducing glare, minimizing light pollution, and preserving the natural light environment.
The bill was released by the Assembly Telecommunication and Utilities Committee. It will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.