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NAILD Rallies Industry in Support of Dark Sky Movement

NAILD released an open letter to the industry regarding a new initiative in support of the dark sky movement. Following is the letter in its entirety for you to read:


May 13, 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The National Association of Innovative Lighting Distributors ( NAILD) represents electrical and lighting distributors throughout the United States and the many Vendor members that supply them. Our customers are contractors, electricians, handymen, corporations, small businesses, installers, and end-users seeking quality electrical products and competent advice. Vendor Members are lighting manufacturers who deliver products that our customers want and need. The NAILD Board of Directors, Get a Grip Management and the members of NAILD are pleased to announce a new initiative in support of the dark sky movement.

While all our members are fierce competitors, we are aligned with a common interest in being responsible to our communities by providing our customers with products, information, and education to help our customers build safely and correctly, save energy, and preserve the environment. Recognizing the benefits of natural darkness, the impacts of wasted outdoor electric light, and the essential role that our members can play in reducing light pollution, NAILD has created a Vendor Committee for the Advancement and Promotion of Dark Skies. I am Chairman of the committee that i ncludes members from the lighting industry with decades of industry and lighting experience. In addition, I will be supported by James Benya of Benya Burnett Consultancy who will serve as Honorary Co-Chair and technical consultant. We conducted several meetings to review the 5 Principles of Responsible Outdoor Lighting as set out by the IDA and IES and had discussions on ways to increase adoption and application of those Principles. I am pleased to present the following findings of our initial Committee meetings to you for review and consideration.1

  1. NAILD recognizes that we play a significant role in educating both the industry and the general public.
  2. We take great pride in listening to our customers and catering to their requirements. Much of the new product development by our vendors is a direct result of our feedback.
  3. The most important thing is safety. To ensure this, all lighting products must meet UL standards verified and listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory ( NRTL) and must meet the many codes and other standards that apply to each installation.
  4. Compliance with DLC listing requirements is a standard of energy efficiency and to many of our customers it is critical for obtaining efficiency incentives.
  5. We provide product training to educate customers on the LED solutions meeting codes and standards that are available to meet their needs. Often, we are the only source of training that many customers receive.
  6. We ensure warranty support for all our products through distributor members.
  7. We furnish detailed product information and lighting calculation support such as .ies files for all our luminaires when needed by the customer and feel that we have done our part in delivering products that conform to the standards and expectations that lead our industry.

The challenge we face is that the current demand for products congruent with the 5 Principles is low. It will take the cooperation of the entire industry, from product innovation through installation, to change direction. Our Committee proposes to use NAILD’s unique position in the marketplace to develop education and awareness among our customers and to bring to market products and services which deliver on the 5 Principles. Our initial thoughts on how to gain our customers’ support and participation include:

  • Education should be simple, easily accessible, and segmented into products that are suitable for various consumer types, from the general public and typical lighting distributors to those who work in sensitive locations like the US National Parks. It should include but not be limited to infographics, real-world examples, and a concise presentation.
  • Focus the education primarily on human benefits with specific reference to the adverse effects of high color temperature white light at night.
  • Work together on a campaign confronting the misconceptions surrounding the balance between electric light at night, natural darkness, and safety.
  • Help develop on an ROI calculator that factors misused or wasted outdoor electric light.
  • Help develop a tiered system addressing the application, zone, and the purpose of the light fixtures.

We know there is a great benefit to these concepts, including a possible increase in safety and security by pursuing the restoration of natural darkness and responsible outdoor light. The dark sky movement is also an opportunity to improve the natural environment that will also create revenue growth in the industry. We present the recommendations as mentioned above in a spirit of goodwill with the hope that we may realize the IDA’s vision “in which the night sky, filled with stars, is celebrated and protected around the world as a shared heritage benefitting all  living things” in part because of our initiative and efforts. We look forward to working with the industry to achieve these goals, and coordinating our work with the work of others to achieve the maximum impact and benefit.

Please let me [us] know how to best make this work.

James Benya, Honorary Co-Chairman
Douglas Knebelsberger, Chairman and Director
Matthew Thesing, NAILD President


Responses to this letter should be sent to:

ST PAUL, MN 55117


1 The findings are the Chairman’s summary, reviewed by the honorary Co-Chair and the President of NAILD and do not necessarily represent the official positions of the committee members or their employers.
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