The Nights Are Getting Longer – Love or hate; Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 am (CST) on November 1st resulting in nighttime arriving an hour earlier. For those of us lucky enough to live in the Texas Hill Country this means extra time to enjoy some of the most spectacular night skies. But as more families move out to enjoy the rural lifestyle of the Texas Hill Country, we risk losing our starry skies unless we all take steps to minimize light pollution.
Did you know, almost 80% of the world’s population can’t see the Milky Way due to light pollution!
So, what is light pollution and how exactly does it impact our environment?
Light pollution is defined as, “the inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light.” Excessive artificial light not only impacts our health but also the health of wildlife, the ecosystem and yes, even our wallets as wasteful use of electricity results in unnecessarily high utility bills and negatively impacts tourism.
For these and other reasons more and more communities are encouraging or requiring homeowners to comply with night sky measures.
Some of the best steps we can take to preserve our night skies and limit light pollution start at home. Try implementing some of these ideas.
USE WHEN AND WHERE NEEDED: The easiest and simplest way to reduce light pollution is to turn off lights when not needed and/or eliminate unnecessary lighting.
- Limit the number of outside lights to only those that are absolutely necessary.
- Turn off porch lights when not needed. Porch lights attract bugs and bugs attract frogs, lizards, and snakes. May be good for Halloween but otherwise, not so welcoming.
- Consider using light switches or motion detectors on outside lights to minimize unnecessary use.
- Be a good neighbor. Ensure that your lights aren’t “trespassing” on your neighbor’s property.
MINIMIZE BLUE LIGHT:
- Use low wattage bulbs. Lower wattage helps minimize light pollution and also helps lower your electric bill. Look for CFL or LED bulbs.
- Use “warm” light where possible. “Cool” bulbs tend to limit night vision and cause eye strain.
- Reducing wattage from 100 to 50 may actually give you better visibility.
BE FULLY SHIELDED:
- Use “down shade” light fixtures and/or ensure lighting is directed only to where it is needed.
- Look for International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) approved lighting.
Recently, PMI Bluebonnet Realty teamed up with preferred vendor, SAT Energy, a family owned, San Antonio based company specializing in the design and manufacturing of LED solar lighting ( https://sat-energy.biz/ ).
With Daylight Saving Time ending and the days becoming shorter, now is the right time to assess lighting on your property and around the common areas within your association. Replacing hardwired light fixtures with easy to install, Night Sky friendly, energy efficient, motion sensing LED solar lights will help reduce light pollution while reducing your utility costs.