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RV Sustainability: The Dark Skies Initiative

This is the first piece of a three-part series exploring sustainability in the RV industry. Check out Part II: LED Benefits and Part III: RVs as Multifunctional Spaces to learn more about how sustainability impacts this ever-evolving industry. 

RV ownership by age has continued to trend towards younger buyers over the last five years, with consumers in the 18-34-year-old bracket rising from approximately 8.5% in 2018 to 22% in 2021. As more Millennial and Generation Z consumers enter the RV market, many first-time buyers are interested in products and adaptations that support sustainability and environmental protection.

The Dark Skies Initiative is a program dedicated to celebrating the night skies and promoting responsible outdoor lighting that's both beautiful and functional. There are many advantages to creating an RV lighting plan that can reduce light pollution and accommodate activities like stargazing.

Benefits from a versatile lighting plan can include greater star visibility, reduced energy usage, and improved well-being and safety for individuals and wildlife. Beyond the impacts on nocturnal animals and birds, light pollution has also been found to  disrupt human circadian rhythms. 

As younger generations of campers prioritize their health and the environment, many are looking for versatility in RV lighting. With a focus on task-based lighting, control over light color and temperature, and downward directed exterior lighting, an effective RV lighting plan can truly allow campers the flexibility to unplug and enjoy nature like never before.

RV Sustainability: The Dark Skies Initiative

Color and Temperature

For both interior and exterior lighting, the color and temperature can play a significant role in both reducing light pollution and creating the best environment to enjoy the night sky. 

To preserve natural night vision, many individuals opt to expose themselves only to red light leading up to a stargazing session. Traditional lighting causes pupil dilation and disruption to our rods and cones that detect color and light, making it much more difficult to see stars accurately.

Lighting control and RGBW fixtures allow campers to prepare for stargazing by setting their interior or exterior lighting to display all red light. User-friendly modules like ITC’s VersiContol® collection use simple app or pad control, making it easy to switch from cool or warm white lighting to red (or any other color) for seamless task and mood adaptation.

For more general environmentally conscious lighting, many Dark Skies organizations encourage the use of amber exterior lighting, which not only reduces light pollution but also aids in keeping moths and mosquitoes away as compared to bright white lighting.

Fixtures like our Amber Porch Light are ideal for camping in Dark Skies regions, as they provide low-light visibility for safety and convenience without creating a harsh, expansive glow that will interfere with other campers or the park at large. 

RV Sustainability: The Dark Skies Initiative

Directional and Solar

Downward facing light is another important element for both safety and maintaining low-light environments. Directional lighting plays a key role in keeping light out of the sky while also providing visibility.

For external safety after dark, the Tread™ Step Light shines down and forward to illuminate an RV step, ensuring security when entering or exiting the unit. With the ability to be mounted on the left, right, or center of the RV door, Tread is designed to direct light exactly where it’s needed.

Though sustainability is an essential component for many RV consumers today, safety always comes first. Our new Attune™ Solar Assist Handle is the perfect blend of function and power, providing up to 60 hours of lighting with no external battery required. 

Attune offers a gentle, low-output light source for visibility in the dark without a harsh glow. Plus, with the solar cell on the top of the handle, the light source is also directed downward for additional glare reduction.

Building a versatile, environmentally-conscious RV lighting plan comes with challenges, but as more consumers demand flexibility and accountability from brands, it’s more important than ever to choose lighting that provides these options. Outfitting an RV with versatile lighting is just one step toward helping consumers enjoy the great outdoors—and skies—responsibly.

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