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GreenStep City Best Practices Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals
no. 4

Improve the efficiency and quality of street lighting, traffic signals and outdoor public lighting.
  Best Practice Action 1      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ]       [all actions]

Require energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant new or replacement outdoor lighting fixtures on city-owned/private buildings and facilities.

  • The best reference for outdoor lighting efficiency standards is the Model Lighting Ordinance developed and continuously revised by the International Dark-Sky Association and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
  • For outdoor lighting standards see the light pollution reduction credit (p. 80) of the LEED for Neighborhood Development (version 4) Rating System Document. The STAR rating system metric is to achieve a sky glow at or below 4 in the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale where the Milky Way is still visible in residential areas.
  • Dark-Sky compliant outdoor lighting resources, including fixtures, manufacturers and distributors, from the International Dark-Sky Association.
  • Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines (City of Toronto: 2007) provides design tips on reducing night-time light pollution and the benefits to birds. See also Bird-Safe Building standards in the State of MN B3 Guidelines, and the Audubon Society's Lights Out challenge through which a city can work with building owners and managers to turn off excess lighting during the months migrating birds are flying overhead, so as to help provide them safe passage between their nesting and wintering grounds.
Summarize the policy or practice for fixtures on city-owned, or school or other governmental buildings.
Summarize policies for fixtures adopted by the city and at least one other entity (the school board, another governmental unit within the city). Aim to limit light trespass to under 1 candle foot at the property line or center of a city street.
Requirements (within State code) for private buildings, OR: installation on public facilities of photosensors on all outdoor light fixtures; installation of timers with seasonal schedules to control when lights turn on and off; score under 4 in the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Date action report first entered:   04/13/2015
Date of last report update:   04/13/2015

Implementation details:
Energy efficient, Dark-sky compliant new or replacement lighting fixtures are included in new construction.

For more information contact:
Brandy Toft (City staff)   |   air@lldrm.org   |   218-335-7429

View All Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2016
Date of last report update:   02/15/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Section 544.09 of the Zoning Code includes outdoor lighting requirements consistent with Dark-Sky principles. The Code applies to both public and privately owned property. However, the Code requires metal halide lighting, although it is common practice citywide to now replace with LED.

For more information contact:
Melissa Poehlman (City staff)   |   MPoehlman@richfieldmn.gov   |   6128619766

View All Richfield Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/02/2015
Date of last report update:   03/02/2015

Implementation details:
The City of Royalton is committed to achieving "dark sky" compliance for its city and as a result the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council have adopted an ordinance requiring lighting to be "dark sky" compliant

Outcome measures/metrics:
The ordinance is in place and future lighting in the city (residential, commercial and street lighting) will comply with this ordinance.

            view file

Planning & Zoning Commission

View All Royalton Actions

Sauk Rapids

Date action report first entered:   03/03/2013

Implementation details:
In 2007 the City reconstructed its main street through its downtown. This improvement included decorative lights which are dark sky compliant. City ordinance also requires all new private parking lot lights to be of the same or similar design to the City lights, meaning that all new private parking lot lighting is also dark sky compliant.

For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer)   |   mpp03@charter.net   |   320-258-5300

View All Sauk Rapids Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/19/2017
Date of last report update:   12/19/2017
Year action initially completed:   2010
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
Development code sets standards for lighting in all zoning districts providing that any lighting used to illuminate an off-street parking area or other structure or area shall be arranged as to deflect light away from any adjoining property or from the public street. 1. Shielding. The luminaire shall contain a cutoff that directs and cuts off the light at an angle of 90 degrees or less. 2. Intensity. No light source or combination thereof which casts light on a public street shall exceed 1 foot candle meter reading as measured from the centerline of said street nor shall any light source or combination thereof which casts light on adjacent property exceed 0.4 foot candles as measured at the property line.

Descriptive links: Dark sky lighting standards             view file

For more information contact:
Neil Soltis (City staff)   |   n.soltis@ci.scandia.mn.us   |   651-433-2274

View All Scandia Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/03/2017
Date of last report update:   05/03/2017
Year action initially completed:   2015
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
All city-owned buildings and facilities (including parks) have been replaced with energy efficient, Dark-sky compliant lighting fixtures.

For more information contact:
Blaine Hill (City staff)   |   bhill@ci.morris.mn.us   |   320-589-3141

View All Morris Actions

New Hope

Date action report first entered:   06/20/2017
Date of last report update:   06/20/2017
Year action initially completed:   2017
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
Section 4-3 (d) (5) requires cut sheets for all new proposed lighting so that light intensity at or above 90 degrees is no more than two and one-half percent of lamp lumens, and no more than ten percent of lamp lumens at a vertical angle of 80 degrees above nadir.

For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff)   |   jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us   |   763-531-5119

View All New Hope Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/30/2014
Date of last report update:   02/11/2015

Implementation details:
The city has a LED Retrofit Four Year Plan for all city owned lights in place.(Dates: 2011-2015)

For more information contact:
Ryan Johnson (City staff)   |   Ryan.johnson@cityofroseville.com   |   651-792-7049

View All Roseville Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/03/2012

Implementation details:
New or replaced outdoor lighting fixtures are all energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant fixtures. Additionally, almost all new outdoor lighting fixtures are LED. This is overseen by the City of Burnsville's Maintenance Supervisor as a standard, not a policy.

For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions

Eden Prairie

Date action report first entered:   09/13/2011

Implementation details:
As part of Eden Prairie's 20-40-15 program, most city lights have been switched to LED.

For more information contact:
Tania Mahtani (City staff)   |   tmahtani@edenprairie.org   |   952-949-8413

View All Eden Prairie Actions

Grand Marais

Date action report first entered:   11/04/2015
Date of last report update:   11/04/2015

Implementation details:
County Courthouse outside lights were replaced in with all LED fixtures. The County replaced communication tower lighting with LED lights. One tower is inside the City limits.

For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor)   |   shane.w.steele@gmail.com   |   507-884-5790

View All Grand Marais Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/06/2010

Implementation details:
The City recently installed Dark-Sky compliant outdoor lighting at Cottageville Park. There is no policy requiring outdoor lighting on City-owned buildings and facilities to be Dark-Sky compliant, but the City does require them as practice.

For more information contact:
Steve Stadler (City staff)   |   sstadler@hopkinsmn.com   |   952-548-6350

View All Hopkins Actions

Mountain Iron

Date action report first entered:   12/08/2015
Date of last report update:   12/08/2015

Implementation details:
Our recently adopted Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy requires, under Section 2(6) that only LED lighting be used

            view file

View All Mountain Iron Actions

Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   12/23/2014
Date of last report update:   12/23/2014

Implementation details:
The City does not require Dark-Sky compliant fixtures, however, they are considered when replacements are needed. The City has been installing LED fixtures in most of our newest installations but have not adopted this as a defined policy. We have replaced 1,500 fixtures with both state and federal funding, as well as City contributions. We are replacing between 500 and 800 more fixtures in high speed/high volume roadway areas this year.

For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff)   |   kurt.schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-6590

View All Saint Paul Actions

Two Harbors

Date action report first entered:   02/01/2015
Date of last report update:   04/07/2015

Implementation details:
All city-owned buildings have exterior lighting photo eyes or time clocks. This is to ensure the exterior lighting is in use only when necessary.

For more information contact:
Stuart Anderson (City staff)   |   cthelec@frontiernet.net   |   218-834-8811

View All Two Harbors Actions

Shoreview pending

Date action report first entered:   02/20/2013

Implementation details:
The City switched to a standard LED light fixture in 2012 for all new and replacement street lighting. The City first tested LEDs in a small area with 5 lights. Usually entire streets or neighborhoods are done at one time. All City-owned lights meet State building code requirements. Xcel owns a portion of the streetlights and Ramsey County owns large portion of lights.

Descriptive links: http://www.shoreviewmn.gov/pdfs/resources/sustainable-shoreview/streetlight-analysis.pdf

For more information contact:
Ellen Brenna (City staff)   |   ebrenna@shoreviewmn.gov   |   651-490-4665

View All Shoreview Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Susan Zarling, Traffic Electrical Systems Engineer, MN Dept. of Transportation: 651/234-7052, susan.zarling@state.mn.us