KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY’S
Hill Country STARS BIG & BRIGHT
We all know the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. But keeping the night skies dark so we can continue to enjoy the stars requires some extra effort and mindfulness of light pollution.
What is Light Pollution?
Simply put, light pollution is wasted light in the natural environment. This is a manmade problem, caused by overly bright outdoor lighting that shines when or where it is not needed. Light pollution generally falls into four categories:
- Glare – excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort
- Skyglow – brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas
- Light trespass – light falling where it is not intended or needed
- Clutter – bright, confusing and excessive groupings of light sources
Effects of Light Pollution
The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light can have serious negative consequences for us all, including:
- Increasing energy consumption
- Disrupting the ecosystem and wildlife
- Harming human health
- Effecting crime and safety
It’s Wasteful & Costly
In an average year in the United States alone, outdoor lighting uses about 120 terawatt-hours of energy, mostly to illuminate streets and parking lots. That’s enough energy to meet New York City’s total electricity needs for two years!The United States wastes 30 percent of all outdoor lighting, mostly due to unshielded lights. Shielded lights provide the same level of illumination as unshielded lights but use less energy, decrease carbon emissions, and cut costs. Efficient and quality outdoor lights could cut energy usage in the United States by 60-70 percent. With the energy used to power bad outdoor light in a home for one night, you could power a 60-inch TV for one hour.
Learn more about light pollution
How You Can Help
The good news is that light pollution, unlike many other forms of pollution, is reversible, and each one of us can make a difference!
Although outdoor lighting is needed for safety reasons and such—use it wisely. Reducing light pollution at home is extremely simple (and can save you energy and money!) with the steps below:
- Light only what you need. Illuminate fewer areas and make sure the light is directed only on the intended space.
- Use energy-efficient bulbs, and avoid using excessively high wattages.
- Shield outdoor lights and direct them downward.
- Add automatic timers, so lights are only on when needed.
- Choose warm, white light bulbs.
Spread the word. Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors how they can help preserve the night sky.
Additional Organizations and Resources to Learn about Protecting the Night Sky:
Kerr County Friends of the Night Sky
International Dark Sky Association
IDA Texas Chapter
Night Skies Hill Country Alliance
Find Dark Sky Friendly Lighting with the IDA seal of approval
New lighting technologies can help conserve energy while minimizing glare and reducing light trespass and skyglow. Buying lighting with IDA’s fixture seal of approval program makes it easy for you to find the right products and certifies that your outdoor lighting fixtures are dark sky friendly.
You can find a list of dark sky-compliant lighting fixtures on IDA’s website here.
Choose the Right Color
Color matters when it comes to preserving the night sky. The International Dark Sky Association recommends using only warm-toned lights for outdoor lighting. LED and metal halide lights contain extreme amounts of blue light. Blue light brightens up the sky more than any other hue of light, meaning the increase in popularity of LED lights has reduced the beautiful Hill Country sky we are able to see and enjoy once the sun goes down. Do your part to reduce your impact on the night sky and use warm-toned lighting and bulbs with 3000 Kelvins or less.
KPUB reaches for the stars to preserve our Hill Country dark night skies and save energy for our customers!
100% of our street and area lights (3,600 of them) in our 146 square mile service area were converted to brand-new LED ones that are now dark sky friendly.
The new Dark Sky friendly lights that were installed will save energy, last longer, and require less maintenance. They are estimated to save over 1.6 million kWh per year—almost 60% less energy. The savings is equivalent to around the amount of energy 100 homes would use in a year.
In response to KPUB’s Dark Sky friendly lighting efforts, the Kerr County Friends of the Night Sky and the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce recognized KPUB as a Night Sky Friendly Business in 2021.
Are you Considering Street or Area Lights?
KPUB takes care to specify and purchase lights for our service area that save energy and prevent excess light from spilling into the night sky. In fact, it is one of the requirements of our street and area lighting specifications.
We supply dark sky friendly street and area lights for both our residential and commercial customers. KPUB will ensure your light shines in the desired direction while also keeping the stars shining bright! Customers interested in having an outdoor area light installed can contact KPUB at 830.257.3050 or click here for a lighting application.