FGIA and Florida codes consultant Jennifer Hatfield led a panel discussion on the topic. This issue has an impact on residential and commercial structures in marine turtle habitats along Florida’s coastal areas.
Hatfield explained that today’s LED lights produce more lumens, increasing the brightness compared to incandescent lighting options or other artificial lighting options. Brighter lights can distract sea turtles and their hatchlings as they follow light sources. As a result, the State of Florida has implemented Section 161.163 of the Florida Statutes, which requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to designate coastal areas used or likely to be used by sea turtles. for nesting. “It also requires establishing guidelines for local government regulations that control waterfront lighting to protect hatching sea turtles,” Hatfield said.
To help regulate lighting in sea turtle habitats, the Florida FWC has issued guidelines on visible transmission (VT) from glazing used in buildings. Previous FWC guidelines recommended glazing with 45 percent VT in marine turtle areas. However, the FWC changed this recommendation to just 15% VT, which significantly restricts sight for humans and can inadvertently impact a building’s performance or use.
The FGIA is negotiating with the FWC to discuss possible options to meet the needs of sea turtles by taking a whole building envelope approach for lighting, said Kathy Krafka Harkema, FGIA’s director of technical operations in the United States. United. “During the hatchling season in 2022, the FGIA will provide FWC with glass samples with different levels of visible transmittance for their use in sea turtle research,” said Krafka Harkema. “The objective of the research is to better understand the response of sea turtles to different levels of visible transmission and glazing options, and then to consider possible recommendations. The FGIA is committed to continuing the conversation with the FWC to provide technical expertise on glazing options and overall building envelope design to help inform future recommendations.
Currently, the FWC is finalizing the test parameters for the research, which will help determine the number and types of glazing samples that FGIA glazing representatives will provide for the study. The group will continue to meet regularly over the coming weeks and months to prepare for the research in 2022.
“A team of FGIA members with expertise in glazing manufacturing, window manufacturing and building design are involved in the discussions,” said Krafka Harkema. “We’re looking at the problem in a more holistic way, starting from the building envelope, design and level of performance, to determine what research and data is needed to help inform future decisions. FGIA members are committed to working with FWC officials to explore sea turtle-friendly options that also work for humans. “
For more information on the FGIA and its activities, visit FGIonline.org.