Light pollution has been a growing problem for many American cities. Inefficient lighting fixtures that have been installed in the past allow excess light to escape into the skies above and significantly reduce the visibility of the night sky. The City of Houston should adopt a lighting ordinance to help combat this problem in an efficient and simple manner.
A decrease in light pollution will not only benefit those interested in astronomy. The City of Houston will be able to save money on innefficient lighting that wastes energy and excess light. A simple lighting ordinance for the City of Houston will ensure that the city installs efficient, full-cutoff lighting fixtures to reduce the amount of light pollution in Houston and increase energy efficiency, as well as ensure that the city's old, inefficient streetlights are replaced with efficient ones in the future.
Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, Texas
Houston Public Works & Engineering Director
Houston Parks & Recreation Director
Division Manager of the Administrative Office of City Council
Houston City Council Members
Adopt a Lighting Ordinance to Help Reduce Light Pollution in Houston Texas
Light pollution has been a growing problem for many American cities. Inefficient lighting fixtures that have been installed in the past allow excess light to escape into the skies above and significantly reduce the visibility of our beautiful night sky. Many Houstonians are unable to witness the true night sky due to increasing light pollution in the Houston area.
Ever since the mid-90s, light pollution has decreased in many areas of the U.S., but there is still a large amount of room left for improvement. Unlike many other forms of pollution, light pollution can be reduced fairly easily without the heavy costs and major changes that other forms of pollution can sometimes require.
A decrease in light pollution will not only benefit those interested in astronomy. The City of Houston will be able to save money on inneficient lighting that wastes energy and excess light.
After the large amount of support this petition has generated as well as the response from Mayor Annise Parker, it is time to focus on a viable solution for the City.
The City of Houston should adopt a lighting ordinance that will ensure that the city uses full cutoff light fixtures that direct light to the ground and not into the sky. Many of the city's old, inefficient streetlights will need to be replaced eventually, therefore the ordinance can ensure that old streetlights are replaced with newer, efficient ones whenever they reach the end of their lifespan, saving the city money while replacing fixtures that already need to be replaced!
A lighting ordinance for the city would be the most effective and efficient long term solution to our city's light pollution problem. The city will be able to make use of efficient full-cutoff lighting fixtures that avoid wasting energy and light that is cast into the sky.
The Model Lighting Ordinance created by the International Dark-Sky Association, as well as the current ordinance in place for areas of Fort Bend County near Brazos Bend Park, would be a great place to start for an ordinance. The city could adapt the main elements of these ordinances to better fit Houston's energy and lighting needs.
With a lighting ordinance, the City of Houston will ensure that old, inefficient streetlights are replaced with full-cutoff fixtures in the future, and that new streetlights installed are also efficient, full-cutoff fixtures. These types of lighting fixtures are often called Dark-Sky friendly fixtures, as their design is able to prevent light from escaping vertically into the sky. With a simple ordinance, Houston can be on the road to decreased light pollution in our skies, more energy efficient lighting on our streets and buildings, and more efficient energy usage throughout the city, which is why I urge the City of Houston to adopt a lighting ordinance.