Light pollution: sports facility regulations
Time to read: 4 min

Light pollution affects ecosystems and public health. It’s also an issue that concerns sports facilities. Broadly speaking, light pollution is the alteration of the amount of light present in the night environment, and it is caused by both public and private lighting. How is the issue of light pollution addressed in Italy? Which aspects must be considered in sports lighting management?

Light Pollution: the regulations

Italy has no national legislation governing light pollution (any alteration of the natural amount of light present in the outdoor environment at night) as the current regulations are regional in nature.


Where there are no regional or municipal regulations, the UNI 10819 standard defines the requirements for outdoor lighting systems. It defines the maximum parameters for upward dispersion of the light flux from artificial light sources.


CieloBuio - a national association that works to protect the night sky - has carried out important work throughout Italy. Since 1997, it has promoted a culture of environmentally-friendly lighting and worked to prevent light pollution.

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Light pollution: examples of regional regulations

Veneto was the first region to adopt a law on light pollution, namely Regional Law no. 22 of 27 June 1997, later replaced by Regional Law no. 17 of 7 August 2009. It applies to public and private lighting systems throughout the region, and covers upgrades to existing systems and the design and construction of new ones.


It defines the parameters for lighting new public and private facilities, and establishes, including:

  • emissions of between 0 and 0.49 (cd) per 1,000 lumens of total flux emitted at ninety degrees and above;

  • the use of high-efficiency light sources;

  • the use of the minimum luminance and illuminance levels required by specific technical standards;

  • at least 30% flux reduction by midnight.


Regional regulations also include Lombardy Law No. 31 of 2015 which incorporates and updates the previous Law 17/2000, paving the way for greater energy efficiency and the implementation of intelligent outdoor lighting systems. Particular attention is paid to safeguarding natural lighting conditions and public health, as well as to the reduction of light pollution. It sets precise limits to avoid the dispersion of luminous flux beyond the horizon. The DAIE – [Documento di Analisi dell’illuminazione Esterna – Outdoor Lighting Analysis Document] – is an important innovation that will allow municipalities to plan and manage public lighting, define measures and set installation performance requirements.

Light pollution: focus on sports facilities

There is no national law regulating light pollution from sports facilities, but all provisions come under regional laws. Generally speaking, all outdoor sports facilities are a source of light pollution, mainly through floodlights that produce excessive and poorly directed light.


What is the best way to improve energy efficiency and limit upward light dispersal in sports facilities? Conventional metal halide floodlights can be replaced with LED floodlights. This would produce up to 75% energy savings in comparison with classic floodlights. Positioning LEDs at a near 0° angle and adding shades on three sides of the spotlights would also decrease upward light dispersal.

Sports facilities: the best products for reducing light pollution

White-light LED lamps are best for illuminating sports facilities and limiting light pollution. LED lights offer longer life, sustainable energy use and clear, evenly lit vision.

The latest generation of LED outdoor floodlights are an effective way to illuminate both indoor and outdoor environments at smaller sports facilities.


These small but crucial measures help sports facilities limit light emissions and reduce the impact of light pollution caused by energy-intensive or incorrectly positioned floodlights.


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