Through the implementation of light pollution reduction design and technologies and an off-site mitigation plan, Springfield, Vermont will be home to a new state prison, but will keep its dark night skies.
WhenStellafane, a local astronomy organization with observatories just four miles from the proposed site of the Southern State Correctional Facility, raised opposition to the construction of the prison, the state hired Clanton and Associates, a lighting engineering firm, to design an outdoor lighting plan that would minimize light pollution.
But,with prisons, excess outdoor light is unavoidable – in addition to the light generated on site, neighbors have a tendency to light up their yards when prisoners move in. A total of about 150,000 lumens of upward reflection of light into the night sky is estimated to result from Springfield’s prison despite state-of-the-art lighting design. A novel plan, mitigation of light pollution generated by businesses in the area, will make up the differnce.
The plan, under Act 250 review by Vermont’s Environmental Board as of August 2001, includes measures to reduce light pollution from other sources in the area to compensate for the additional light to be generated by the prison. The state will finance lighting modifications at an educational facility, motel and two service stations, that will reduce area light pollution by an excess of 150,00 lumens.