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Outdoor Lighting Standards Changed To Reduce Glare

Fairfax County is updating our outdoor lighting standards to reduce glare and excessive illumination and match the expanded use of LED lights, which can improve the quality of life for county residents.  

On Feb. 11, the Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the outdoor lighting regulations of the Zoning Ordinance to match lighting industry standards that lean toward more energy efficiency and warmer color temperatures.

New Lighting Regulations

Most outdoor light fixtures will now have a maximum color temperature of 3,000K. Sports fields and courts are permitted to go up to 5700K. Color temperature for outdoor lighting is measured in kelvins (K), which range from warm with an orange/yellow tint to cool with blue/white tint.

3Ds rendered image of 10 hanging lamps which use different bulbs. Color temperature scale. spectrum color on the cracked concrete wall and wooden floor

A typical incandescent bulb has a color temperature of approximately 2,600K. LED bulbs, which are becoming more common, are available in a wide range of color temperatures. Higher color temperatures are associated with increased glare, which can impact human health and wildlife.

The new regulations only apply when property owners replace bulbs or light fixtures that are above the 3,000K color temperature standard. The amendment also includes revisions to the exemptions for single family dwellings, motion-activated lights and sports illumination plans.