The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has announced the winners of its 2006 Lighting Awards: the Village Square shopping complex in the Blue Ridge Mountains and St. Mary's Medical Center at Galena in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The awards program was designed to honor projects in which the lighting design controls glare, uses appropriate lighting levels, is energy efficient, minimizes obtrusive light, displays good nighttime ambiance, and has minimal impact on artificial sky glow.

Contractor Shirley Insoft built the first winner, the Village Square shopping complex in Saphire Valley, North Carolina, with outdoor lighting design by John Gift of Steel Partners. The IDA said it awarded the project based on its use of originally designed, very low-wattage dark-sky friendly fixtures.

The second winner, St. Mary's Medical Center at Galena in Reno, Nevada, was designed by the Syska Hennessy Group of San Diego, California. According to the IDA, the judges were pleased with the Center's ability to conform to the strict lighting ordinances of its home city, while at the same time maintaining high aesthetic standards.

Awards were presented at the close of the IDA's 18th annual meeting in Tucson, Arizona, on March 15. Meeting attendees, including physicians, engineers, national park staff, astronomers, government officials, and many others gathered to discuss how over-brightness in the nighttime environment affected human activity. Presentation topics included issues of artificial lighting and human health, night vision, outdoor lighting codes, sky brightness monitoring, and lighting fixtures.

The IDA is a non-profit, education, and research organization, dedicated to preserving and protecting the nighttime environment and dark skies through quality outdoor lighting.

Read Architectural Lighting's coverage of the Dark Sky Movement.