Model Lighting Ordinance

Model Lighting Ordinance Graphic

Model Lighting Ordinance

IDA and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) have developed a Model Lighting Ordinance to address the need for strong, consistent outdoor lighting regulation in North America.

Developed jointly over a period of seven years, the MLO encourages communities to adopt comprehensive outdoor lighting ordinances without devoting extensive staff time and resources to their development.

The MLO outdoor lighting template is designed to help municipalities develop outdoor lighting standards that reduce glare, light trespass, and skyglow. The MLO offers several innovations to outdoor lighting regulation, including:

  • The use of five lighting zones to classify land use with appropriate lighting levels for each. Zones range from LZ0, designed for pristine natural environments and limited outdoor lighting, to LZ4, for limited application in areas of extensive development in the largest cities
  • Limits on the amount of light used for each property
  • Use of the IES’s TM-15-11 “BUG” (Backlight, Uplight, and Glare) classification of outdoor lighting fixtures to ensure that only well-shielded fixtures are used. No uplight for area and street lighting is allowed in any zone

The MLO will be revised periodically to include new information, feedback from municipalities, and changes to IES standards. IDA is currently working with IESNA to provide an updated document that reflects current policies and practices, such as the Five Lighting Principles and Values-Centered Approach.

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