Rich Heuermann and
Barret Williams

Replacing light-polluting streetlights

Barret Williams is an amateur astronomer very much concerned with the increasing light pollution in the area. He has been communicating with AmerenUE regarding the installation of “cutoff” cobrahead lights that direct light downward and screen emission upward. The primary advantages of the cutoff design for most people, including AmerenUE are improved direct illumination (less light wasted) and decreased glare. However, the regular fixtures are cheaper to install because they require fewer lights and poles (since they splatter the light around). AmerenUE reacts to comments and encouragement from the general public, but particularly pays attention to requests from its direct customers. So expressing support for the replacement of regular-style fixtures with the cutoff fixtures directly to the City Halls of your local townships could be a rewarding effort by Astronomical Society members. Here’s an excerpt from Barry’s message :

“... Ameren is now offering "cutoff" cobrahead street lights as a standard option. When I inquired recently about the utility's policy on these lights, I was told by Jim Bradley (below) that Ameren favors regular cobraheads because they spread light farther and therefore require fewer lights and poles. However, he said Ameren will install cutoffs whenever customers request them. Therefore, I hope you and other darksky advocates in St. Louis will inform area cities of this option and urge them to request cutoff luminaires from Ameren in the future. Jim Bradley is Ameren's lighting engineer and can be reached at (314) 5542993. (Also via e-mail at ) Please spread the word!"

Barry Williams