Nature

Fredericksburg is Fighting to Preserve Their Dark Skies

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This NASA view of Texas at night clearly shows the difference between the Texas Hill Country and most of the country east of I-35. It’s dark at night here, and the City of Fredericksburg aims to gradually disappear from this photo.  Clearly visible are Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, and just south of those is the Eagleford Shale oil development.  Fredericksburg adopted an outdoor lighting ordinance in 2013 and is now hosting the Second Annual Hill Country Dark Sky Conference. The city also just installed a Dark Sky Quality Meter at the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse. Other Texas Hill Country cities are acting to keep their dark skies as development is booming.

1. Lighting Done Well

Lighting Done Well

Photo: Robert C Deming

The outdoor lighting ordinance requires new light installation standards which don’t allow lighting to shine up into the sky, past the property line, and into people’s faces.  This recent re-build in Fredericksburg does all that well, and more – it uses warm lights, which create a pleasing and romantic look. This is lighting done well.

2. Not Good Lighting

Lighting done badly

Photo: Robert C Deming

This is an example of lighting done badly; two wall-packs (floodlights) on the side of the building light up the street, the buildings opposite, and shine directly into the eyes of people walking and driving by. The lighting on the covered porch behind is done well with the lights recessed into the ceiling, but what purpose could these lights have? There are many such lights in Fredericksburg, and although the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance prohibits this kind of lighting, there is no requirement to retrofit them with better lights.

3. Lighting Done Well

Shielded Wall Pack
Photo: Robert C Deming

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