Date of Award

Fall 2013

Access Restriction

Campus Access only research projects

Degree Name

Master of Science


Systems Engineering

School or College

Seaver College of Science and Engineering


Although pollution can take many different forms, it is predominately thought of in the context of its effects on air, water, and soil. A lesser considered form of pollution is light pollution. And although its effects are less widely discussed than other types of pollution, light pollution adversely impacts a growing population of urban dwellers and wildlife. In addition, to impacting the health and safety of individuals and wildlife, light pollution impedes scientific exploration by observatories and consumes excessive amounts of energy. For example, wasted or unused lighting, consumes electricity above and beyond the minimum required to provide necessary lighting. In 2007, 22% ofthe United States' total electricity use powered lighting equating to 915 Terawatt hours (TWh) (Fighting Light Pollution 6-9). As a point of comparison, Russia's entire electricity consumption in 2010 was 915 TWh ("Key World Energy Statistics" 54). Considering only the financial benefit for reducing light pollution, a reduction of 1 TWh per year ($0.10/kWh) would yield $100 million USO in cost savings. Beyond the financial benefits of reducing light pollution, there would be a secondary benefit of decreasing the amount of non-renewable energy resources expended.

In contrast to other forms of pollution, the solutions for reducing light pollution are readily available and can produce near instantaneous results. For example, there are fixture options exist that shield or minimize the light trespass. Additionally, there exist a number of lamp bulb options that allows the appropriate brightness to be applied for each environment with a range of choices with different cost or energy efficiency. The effects of light pollution and impact of reducing light pollution are distributed and can only be realized when multiple disparate light systems incorporate reduction techniques.

This project predicts the energy and economic effects of widespread application of light pollution reduction design, while applying the systems engineering approach to define the notional requirements, architecture, and analysis tools for a single instance of a lighting system. The systems engineering artifacts are customizable for a specific lighting system. Additionally, the traditional stakeholder requirements have been mapped against light pollution objectives, underscoring the point that the two are not mutually exclusive-it is possible to build a lighting system that simultaneously meets user needs and reduces light pollution.

ChristineIto_Systems_Presentation_2013.pdf (13840 kB)
Oral Presentation