Is your home nature, neighbor, and night sky friendly? Follow the steps below to find out. Most people will find that a few simple changes can lead to home lighting that is both beautiful and functional, without contributing excessive light pollution. 

Four Steps to YOUR Dark Sky Friendly Home Certification

After you’ve completed these four steps, and taken any action needed to improve your outdoor lighting, download and display a free Dark Sky Friendly Home (DSFH) certificate!

  1. Using the five lighting principles below, evaluate each outdoor light on your property and complete the evaluation portion of the Home Lighting Inventory Form.
  2. Follow the recommendations given for each step and take action to improve any of your fixtures that do not check all five boxes on the Dark Sky Friendly Home Inventory form.
  3. Confirm that your fixtures are now dark sky friendly by recording the date that you took any necessary action.
  4. Submit your results via our self-certification form (below). Then download and display a free Dark Sky Friendly Home certificate!


Printable Resources

Download and print these resources to help you complete the four steps to your Dark Sky Friendly Home certification.


Five Principles For Responsible Outdoor Lighting – At Home!

Follow these five lighting principles to make your home dark sky friendly.

1 – Does the Light Serve a Clear and Necessary Purpose?

Light is useful for safe wayfinding and to help perform specific tasks. In the example below, the light illuminates only the entryway and stairs, where it is needed.

If you find that lights on your property are not necessary or useful, remove or disable them so that they are not accidentally turned on. 

2 – Does the Light Fall Only Where it is Needed?

Direct the light down, not up into the sky, and target your fixtures so that light does not spill beyond where it is needed. From eye level, the light source should be even with, or recessed within, the light fixture.

If the light spills beyond where it is needed, install proper shielding and/or re-orient the light so that it does not extend beyond where it is needed. Be especially mindful of light that spills up into the sky, or onto other people’s property. 

3 – Is the amount of light appropriate for the intended task?

Use the lowest lighting level needed to perform the task. Light levels are measured in lumens, so check your light source and use the lowest lumens possible. 

Excessive light can contribute to glare, actually making it harder to see things well. If you find that the lighting level around your home is too bright for the task it is intended for, consider changing the fixture’s bulb or installing a new fixture with a lower lumens value.

4 – Is the light connected to active controls?

All outdoor lighting should be connected to a light switch, timer, and/or motion sensor so that they are used only when they are needed.

Outdoor lights that cannot be easily controlled with an on/off switch should be connected to a timer or motion sensor. Motion sensors should be set to times of 5 minutes or less. Dusk-to-dawn sensors are strongly discouraged as they release light when it is not needed. 

*Make sure sensor triggers are set appropriately so that they light the area only when people are present.

5 – Is the light source warm in color?

Most lightbulbs manufactured today have a Kelvin rating printed on the bulb. Low Kelvin ratings (3000 Kelvin or less) are considered warm and generally emit less harmful blue light than high Kelvin. For home lighting, there are good options at 2700 Kelvin or less.

Did you know? IDA certifies dark sky friendly light fixtures through our Fixture Seal of Approval Program. Check out IDA-Approved Dark Sky Friendly fixtures for your home at www.darksky.org

Light to Protect the Night

The Dark Sky Friendly Home certification program is based on the International Dark-Sky Association and Illuminating Engineering Society’s joint Five Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting.

Questions? Feedback?

Please email [email protected] with your questions or feedback about the Dark Sky Friendly Home Lighting program.