Urbana City Council discusses plans for lighting

By Susan Kantor

The Urbana City Council discussed ways to minimize both energy costs and light pollution with plans for city lighting at their meeting Tuesday night.

Councilmember Charlie Smyth, Ward 1, proposed that “all current and planned city lighting projects will use full cutoff lighting and conform to at least LEED lighting standards to reduce energy costs and minimize light trespass.” Cutoff lighting primarily uses light to illuminate the area below the fixture for about 165 degrees and minimizes the light that goes above the light fixture.

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“The whole purpose of cutoff lighting is to save money because you’re saving energy,” Smyth said. Smyth discussed having lights that looked very similar to those in Campustown, but with a different lens to make the light full cutoff.

Smyth’s proposal also suggested that specific LEED lighting standards and goals could be added to the Sustainable Urbana Report, so the Urbana Sustainability Advisory Commission could set more long term goals for the project.

“The bottom line in all of this is saving money,” Smyth said.

Questions were raised about long term sustainability and the need for a master plan for the project.

The council voted to continue the discussion in the coming weeks.