Lighting & Light pollution simulator

Dan Nixon, of the Need-less campaign, has produced an interactive light pollution simulator, that graphically demonstrates how lighting can impact the surrounding area, and how different types of lighting can create different levels of light pollution. (You can read more about the work of Dan Nixon here.)

It has been designed to engage and teach the casual user how to create and minimise light pollution. The simple interface allows users the freedom to generate varied lighting 'scenes' by positioning the light fixtures on screen. The simulator responds realistically, by rendering the accumulative effects of good and bad lighting on the night-time environment.


  • Click once to place a light in the scene
  • Click on the lamp to toggle between globe light, a semi cut-off light, a full cut-off light, or to remove the light
  • Hold down the mouse button on a lamp to move it to a new location

Please choose the window size to suit your monitor, a smaller window will run faster on a slower machine.

small (1024x768)   medium (1280x1024)    large (1600x1200)

Need-Less Homepage

Copyright © 2008 Need-Less
Designed and built by Daniel Nixon

Good outdoor lighting practice

Good outdoor lighting practice is easy to achieve if some simple rules are followed.

The key point to remember is that we should only light the area that needs illumination. Maximum efficiency can be obtained by using the minimum amount of light required to see the illuminated surface, in this case, an empty parking lot.

Any light which falls outside this area should be minimised, since misdirected light represents wasted energy and poor lighting practice. Misdirected light also causes light pollution problems, such as light nuisance on nearby property, glare and increased skyglow.

These problems may easily be avoided by choosing the correct type of light fixture. There are many designs of light fixtures to choose from, some designs are decorative whilst others offer more control over the distribution of light. The best fixtures to use have 'full cut-off' optics that are specially designed to reflect any potentially wasted light back downwards, where it is needed. These lights, if installed correctly, will produce more useful light than other designs whilst consuming less energy!