Re: Porch lights
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:29:24 -0700 (PDT)
> On Mar 31, 2017, at 11:04 AM, Carolyn Dyer <cdyer1621 [at]> wrote:
> At Iowa City Cohousing/Prairie Hill we are trying to decide what sort of
> nighttime illumination to provide on the porches of duplexes, townhouses
> and fourplexes, which are clustered along pedestrian paths. These units are
> about 20 feet apart. The concerns are either having too little or too much
> light.

There is likely a state code for required “Lumens” under various conditions. 
Advice is to under light because you can always put in more light where 
actually needed.  Also check out Dark Skies— information on negative effects of 
artificial light outdoors. And the healthy effects of darkness.

We are totally over lit Efforts to reduce the lighting failed.. The planning 
office insisted on what we have. 50% would be more than adequate. One shouldn’t 
have to close the blinds in order to sleep in the dark.

> The choices are switched lights for each unit

A switched light on a unit can be very helpful. If the street lights are out, 
or the corridor lights out, and for signaling.

> automatic lights that
> turn on at dusk and off at dawn

We do have these in some locations. Not on units but in the outdoor corridors. 
Ours are on a timer so someone has to monitor when they go on and off because 
the sun does change its schedule.

> or lights on motion detectors.  

We have these on each unit in the back. They are a big pain, to put it simply. 
If the switch is left on (it can be turned off) then the light goes on with 
every motion. Every bird, every blowing branch, most dropping leaves, and the 
neighbor’s cat. If you are sitting outside reading and want the light on, it 
will go off if you sit too still. You have to read with enthusiasm and act out 
the scenes.

> All the
> porch lights so far specified shine straight down. The common house also
> has down lights. It will be visible from most units.

Down is good. We had to put things in our pole lights along the green so they 
didn’t shine into all the second and third floor windows.

The good thing is that they are making fixtures with the lighting built in that 
last "forever.” 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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