New joint standard provides guidance on high-intensity outdoor light sources

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The level of knowledge and sophistication regarding outside lighting has grown significantly over recent years. From a standards perspective, New Zealand has historically used the Australian standard AS 4282 to help guide our local industry, but the recent release of a joint update to this standard (AS/NZS 4282:2019) has filled the gap.

Julian Chisnall, National Traffic and Safety Engineer at the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), is a member of the joint Australian and New Zealand committee that worked on the standard revision. He was one of several New Zealanders (from both public and private sector) who provided expert input into the end result, along with a number of Australian contributors.

'The release of this standard is of huge benefit to New Zealand,' he explains. 'The existing Australian standard gave us a good starting point, together with the latest guidance out of the US and Europe, and the committee has successfully built on this.'

New standard covers residential areas and 'dark skies'

The original standard focussed on lighting for new construction in commercial areas but didn’t cover residential locations. It also failed to provide guidance on how to deal with high-intensity light sources like outdoor advertising signage, sports fields or floodlighting. It was also drafted by lighting engineers for their specialised industry, rather than for the broader industry, which includes regulators, planners and the general public.

'The value for urban planning, in particular, is that the new standard gives guidance on how to measure and monitor the obtrusive effects of outdoor lighting,' Julian says. 'For example, one area that has come under pressure is road lighting, where we’ve needed to maintain a minimum level of lighting for safety.

However, on the flip side, there were no controls in place for light sources like billboards, outdoor signage and buildings. The updated standard helps address this and provides input for district plans,' he explains.

The revised standard set out to provide designers, installers and users with a tool that could be used to ensure outdoor lighting provides a safe, secure and unobtrusive night environment, including sensitive ‘dark sky’ areas that are gaining in popularity as astrotourism destinations. This includes locations such as Siding Spring Observatory in Australia and the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve here in New Zealand.

AS/NZS 4282:2019 Control of the obtrusive effects of outdoor lighting is available to purchase from our webshop.

Published in consumer and occupational safety.