What is the International Dark Sky Association?

IDA (International Dark Sky Association) is the recognized authority on light pollution. Founded in 1988, IDA is the first organization to call attention to the hazards of light pollution, and its accomplishments are extensive.

One of IDA’s programs focuses on working with communities and other dark sky places to provide guidance for developing sky-friendly lighting ordinances and programs that educate the community about smart lighting practices. Communities that meet the requirements set forth by IDA that show adherence to and support of sky-friendly lighting practices can apply to be awarded the prestigious designation of Dark Sky Community. The Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association has undertaken the mission to achieve this designation for Fountain Hills.

IDA promotes one simple idea: light what you need, when you need it. IDA recognizes that some light at night is necessary for safety and recreation, but they work with manufacturers, planners, legislators, and citizens to provide energy efficient options that direct the light where it is needed and not uselessly up into the sky.

IDA’s approach of public awareness and extensive partnerships is improving nighttime lighting on six continents. IDA acts on numerous issues to create a platform as expansive as the sky itself. Achievements include:

• Assistance with crafting ordinances. Recent victories include statewide ordinances in Hawaii and New Hampshire and national legislation in Italy.

• Recognition of Dark Sky Places. IDA’s International Dark Sky Places (IDS) conservation program ensures starry spaces for future generations. Designations for Parks, Preserves, Communities, and Developments of Distinction create dark sites in urban, suburban, rural, and wild spaces. IDS Places often capitalize on sustainable tourism due to their stunning—and protected—starry night skies.

• The opening of an Office of Public Policy and Government Affairs in Washington, DC in 2009 to inform lawmakers and lobbyists on energy efficiency in outdoor lighting and promote research and adoption of energy saving measures.

• Development of a Fixture Seal of Approval program that offers a third-party rating system to determine the sky friendliness of lighting fixtures based on photometric readings. IDA then works directly with approved manufacturers to promote energy efficient and fully shielded lighting. 100 manufacturers offer over 300 types of IDA-approved fixtures (over 1000 total selection), and membership in this popular program grows every year.

Note: Some of the above information was obtain with permission from IDA’s website. More information available at the IDA website: www.darksky.org