Developed jointly by the IDA and the IES over a period of seven years, the IDA/IES partnership will encourage broad adoption of comprehensive outdoor lighting ordinances without devoting extensive staff time and resources to their development.
The MLO outdoor lighting template is designed to help municipalities develop outdoor lighting standards that reduce glare, light trespass, and skyglow. The MLO offers several innovations to outdoor lighting regulation, including the use of five lighting zones to classify land use with appropriate lighting levels for each. Zones range from LZ0, designed for pristine natural environments and limited outdoor lighting, to LZ4, for limited application in areas of extensive development in the largest cities. The second innovation limits the amount of light used for each property. Third, the MLO uses the IES’s new TM-15 -11 "BUG" (Backlight, Uplight and Glare) classification of outdoor lighting fixtures to ensure that only well-shielded fixtures are used. No uplight for area and street lighting is allowed in any zone. The MLO will be revised on a regular basis to include new information, feedback from municipalities using it and changes to IES standards.