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Published September 14, 2011 04:39 PM

IGCC Series: Star Gazing in a World of Light Pollution

he International Green Construction Code (IGCC) is a model code for cities seeking to promote sustainable building practices through their building codes. The IGCC promotes transition from the current voluntary green construction certifications, like USGBC’s LEED, to mandatory green construction codes. As the most recent revisions of the IGCC are currently under review, Green Building Law Update hopes to promote awareness by examining some of the code sections.


Section 405.1 Where this section is indicated to be applicable in Table 302.1, uplight, light trespass, and glare shall be limited for all exterior lighting equipment as described in Sections 405.2 and 405.3.

405.3 Light trespass and glare. Where luminaires are mounted on buildings at locations that are within a distance to the lighting boundary, measured horizontally, that is equal to twice the height that the luminaire is mounted, such luminaires shall not exceed the applicable glare ratings specified in Table 406.3(1). All other exterior luminaires shall not exceed the applicable backlight and glare ratings specified in Table 406.3(2).

Unfortunately, star gazing i is more likely to refer to looking at pictures in tabloids than to nights spent staring at a starlit sky. If one were to try star gazing near a city tonight, one would find significantly fewer visible stars than were visible a century ago. The visibility of the stars has significantly decreased in recent years due to excess artificial light commonly referred to as light pollution.

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