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Highlights of the new Emission Norm for the Regulation of Light Pollution in Northern Chile

Due to the need to deal with the new menace of LEDS, which are very blue emitters, and to address other shortcomings regarding scattering and over illumination of the first lighting regulations passed in Chile in 1998 (DS 686/1998), the Chilean Ministry of Environment (MMA) approved new regulations by Presidential decree (DS 043/2012) on May 03, 2013. This new version of the regulations was developed by OPCC in collaboration with the MMA.

This new environmental standard includes the following main restrictions: A full-cut-off requirement for general lighting, which means 0.49cd/Klumen at 90o (i.e., no light distribution above horizontal).

For sport and recreational activities, an allowed level of 10cd/Klumen at 90o, together with a visor to cut upper- hemisphere emissions.

Spectral restrictions divided into three regulated regions of the visible spectrum (as compared to the total light emission between 380 and 780nm): (a) not more than 15% of total light output in the range 300 to 380nm; (b) not more than 15% in the range 380 to 499nm; and (c) not more than 50% in the range 781nm to 1micron.

Over illumination restricted to not more than 20% over the Chilean standard (NSEG 9 n71) for minimal levels in public lighting. 2 Billboards with inner sources of illuminations (LED or plasma big screens) must emit no more than 50cd/m No spectral restriction is applied.

This new lighting regulation has not come into force yet, due to a delay in approving complementary technical protocols. Enforcement is also a critical issue to deal with, given that the institutional environmental framework in Chile is being modified.

The OPCC is working with both the Ministry of Public Works and also Ministry of Housing, seeking to go beyond the new lighting regulation by applying a more restrictive approach in terms of spectral restriction, promoting the use of warm white LEDS with a CCT of 2.700 Ko and, in the case of outdoor illumination near professional observatories, monochromatic amber LEDS.

Pedro Sanhueza

AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: P. Sanhueza, OPCC, AURA INC, La Serena, Elqui, CHILEP. Sanhueza, OPCC, AURA CARSO ESO, La Serena, CHILE

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