Measuring the Impacts of Existing Artificial Optical Radiation at 3 Sites: A Pilot Study of Military, Student, and Older Adult Housing Communities

EPA Grant Number: SU834732
Title: Measuring the Impacts of Existing Artificial Optical Radiation at 3 Sites: A Pilot Study of Military, Student, and Older Adult Housing Communities
Investigators: Hebert, Paulette , Asojo, Abimbola , Peek, Gina , Schurch, Tom
Current Investigators: Hebert, Paulette , Asojo, Abimbola , Chaney, Sylvia , Eckhoff, Anna , Peek, Gina , Zhang, Xiaofei
Institution: Oklahoma State University - Main Campus , Clemson University , University of Oklahoma
Current Institution: Oklahoma State University - Main Campus , University of Oklahoma
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


  • to document and evaluate existing lighting and optical radiation effects in housing community field settings and to compare these to recommendations and standards.
  • to increase housing community stakeholders’ awareness of sustainable versus unsustainable lighting products’ specification, operation, and disposal;
  • to increase housing community stakeholders’ awareness and knowledge of the impacts of optical radiation – visual and biological;
  • to determine barriers to housing community stakeholders’ future adoption of sustainable lighting for housing through surveys;
  • to explore effect of age and housing community group type upon perceptions of safety and security relative to lighting through surveys; and
  • to develop and present educational materials to stakeholders and the public regarding optical radiation‘s visual and biological impacts.


The proposed methods for determining if goals and objectives are achieved include student-led team’s review and analysis of the study’s consumer and stakeholder surveys and the field study documentation. These outputs address three different existing housing community sites (student, military, older adult) with different existing lighting treatments. which may be lamped with incandescents, CFLs, LEDs, metal halide, mercury vapor, or high pressure sodium lamps. Utilizing diffraction grating slides, students will analyze the spectral composition of existing fixtures at the housing sites. These analyses will be compared to standard spectral distribution charts for various lamp types for identification. Surveys will utilize Likert-type scales on which statistical analysis will be performed. Both instruments quantify consumers’ inputs including those regarding demographics, awareness, knowledge, preferences, perceptions, current interior window treatment interventions, lamp disposal methods, sleep disorders, and sustainable lighting adoption intentions (including willingness-to-pay). This research appropriately builds on the related work of others. For increased applicability, survey and field study administration will take place in up to three different “real” housing communities catering to: military families, college students and older adults. Testing via three separate instruments will be accomplished for each of up to three field sites. Additionally, metering of light levels, sky quality, and ultraviolet light levels will be accomplished by the students utilizing: 1. Lux meters, 2. SQM meters and 3. Ultraviolet meters and documented, analyzed and compared across field settings and to IES recommendations, and to the existing Globe at Night worldwide online data set.

Evaluation Method

Likert-type scale surveys will ask housing occupants about demographics and awareness, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, habits and preferences, regarding cutoff and non-cutoff luminaires. In the questionnaire, anecdotal evidence of light pollution, sleep disorders, and information regarding any interior modifications made to the housing unit to mitigate light pollution will be solicited. The field study response sheets will capture community stakeholders’ perceptions of other issues including safety and security. The field study measurements, field documentation, and housing surveys will be statistically analyzed to see if hypotheses are supported.

Expected Results:

By measuring and disseminating the impacts of existing artificial optical radiation and by comparing findings to current recommendations, future sustainable lighting choices for housing of military personnel, university students, and older adults will be enabled.

Supplemental Keywords:

measurement methods, decision making,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report