Turtle Code: Sea Turtle Protection Ordinances

Wild sea turtles are integral to Florida’s ecosystem, and during nesting season females crawl onto the beach at night to bury their eggs. They are instinctually driven to the horizon by the reflection of the water, but as beachfront communities have developed, the artificial lighting can disorient them. This can also confuse turtle hatchlings trying to make their way from the sandy shores into the ocean.

A solution to this issue is “Turtle Code,” which refers to light ordinances along regions of Florida’s coast that restrict the amount of light allowed through windows and doors. Building codes require any new construction with a direct line of sight to the beach to install Turtle Glass, which has a visible light transmission of 45% or less. This special glass is tinted green and ensures coastal construction and artificial lighting does not befuddle turtles or their hatchlings.

Florida implemented Section 161.163, Florida Statutes, which requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to designate coastal areas utilized by nesting sea turtles. It is also meant to establish guidelines for local government regulations that control beachfront lighting, since light laws apply to three dozen communities in southern Florida. Counties can vary in their ordinances, but any new Gulf-front construction must use Turtle Glass to comply with the law (no exceptions). If you live in the state of Florida and would like to see if your county or municipality has adopted a lighting ordinance, take a look at this Interactive Map.

Euro-Wall’s glass can be adapted to Turtle Code for residents of Florida’s coast. The special coating combined with our unique door technology makes it easy for residents to live freely, all while reducing the impact on the environment. Property owners may not be required to replace windows that pre-date these light ordinances, but for many counties Turtle Glass must be used when installing new windows or doors. For more information on what glass types we offer, check out our blog post on glass or contact our experts.