1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Public Buildings
  4. Article 5: Public Buildings Generally


Section 143 Lighting restrictions

Public Buildings (PBB)

1. Definitions. As used in this section:

  a. "Direct light" means light emitted by a fixture from the lamp, from a reflector, or through a refractor.

  b. "Facade lighting" means permanent outdoor fixtures that are specifically intended to illuminate the exterior surfaces of buildings or structures.

  c. "Fully shielded fixture" means a fixture that allows no direct light from the fixture above a horizontal plane through the fixture's lowest light-emitting part, in its mounted position.

  d. "Fixture lumens" means total lumens emitted by a fixture.

  e. "Glare" means light emitted by a fixture that causes discomfort or reduced visibility.

  f. "Illuminance" means the luminous power incident per unit area of a surface.

  g. "Lamp" means a light bulb or other component of a fixture that changes electricity into visible light.

  h. "Light trespass" means light that falls beyond the property it is intended to illuminate.

  i. "Lumen" means a standard unit of measurement of the quantity of light emitted from a lamp.

  j. "Fixture" means a complete lighting unit, including a lamp together with the parts designed to distribute the light, to position and protect the lamp and to connect the lamp to the power supply.

  k. "Ornamental roadway lighting" means a roadway lighting fixture that serves a decorative function in addition to a roadway lighting function, having an historical period appearance or decorative appearance.

  l. "Parking-lot lighting" means permanent outdoor fixtures specifically intended to illuminate uncovered vehicle parking areas.

  m. "Permanent outdoor fixture" means a fixture for use in an exterior environment installed with mounting not intended for relocation.

  n. "Roadway lighting" means permanent outdoor fixtures specifically intended to illuminate public roadways.

  o. "Sky glow" means a condition caused by light directed upwards or sideways reducing one's ability to view the night sky.

  p. "State agency" means any state department, office, board, commission, agency, or a public authority or public benefit corporation at least one of whose members is appointed by the governor.

  2. No state agency operating in the state shall install or cause to be installed any new or replacement permanent outdoor fixture unless the following conditions are met:

  a. In the case of roadway lighting or parking-lot lighting; whether mounted to poles, buildings or other structures, the fixture is fully shielded.

  b. In the case of building-mounted fixtures not specifically intended for roadway lighting, parking-lot lighting, or facade lighting, the fixture is fully shielded when its initial fixture lumens is greater than three thousand lumens.

  c. In the case of facade lighting, the fixture is shielded to reduce glare, sky glow, and light trespass to the greatest extent possible.

  d. In the case of ornamental roadway lighting fixtures, the fixture allows no more than seven hundred lumens from the fixture above a horizontal plane through the fixture's lowest light emitting part.

  e. For illumination by new permanent outdoor fixtures for applications described in paragraph a, b, c or d of this subdivision, only illuminance levels that are no greater than those required for the intended purpose may be used, as established by the commissioner of the office of general services in consultation with the department of transportation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and given due consideration to lighting industry standards and practices.

  f. In the case of roadway lighting unassociated with intersections of two or more streets or highways, the department of transportation has determined that the purpose of the lighting installation or replacement cannot be achieved by installation of reflectorized roadway markers, lines, warnings or informational signs, or other passive means.

  3. This section shall not apply:

  a. if a federal law, rule or regulation preempts state law;

  b. if the outdoor lighting fixture is used temporarily by emergency personnel requiring additional illumination for emergency procedures or temporarily used by repair personnel for road repair;

  c. to navigational lighting systems and other lighting necessary for aviation and nautical safety;

  d. to lighting for athletic playing areas; provided, however, that all such lighting shall be selected and installed to shield the lamp or lamps from direct view and to minimize upward lighting and glare to the greatest extent possible;

  e. if the state agency determines a safety or security need exists that cannot be addressed by any other method;

  f. to the replacement of a previously installed permanent outdoor fixture that is destroyed, damaged or inoperative, has experienced electrical failure due to failed components, or requires standard maintenance;

  g. to lighting intended for tunnels and roadway underpasses; or

  h. if the combined cost of acquiring and operating a fixture complying with paragraphs a, b and c of this subdivision is more than fifteen percent greater than the cost of acquiring and operating comparable non-compliant fixtures over the life of the lighting system and if a written determination with findings has been made that no compliant fixture exists that would meet the cost limitation.

  4. The office of general services, in consultation with the department of transportation and the New York state energy research and development authority, and given due consideration to lighting industry standards and practices, shall establish rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this section.