Comprehensive Local Actions

Site Planning and Landscape Design

Enhancements to the Building Envelope

Modifications to Existing Buildings

Building Operations

Emerging Technologies

Building Operations

OBJECTIVE: Undertake strategies to reduce light trespass from buildings, particularly during migration seasons. Undertake monitoring programs to evaluate success.

Develop Lights- Out programs during peak migration periods:
Encourage building owners and managers to extinguish all unnecessary exterior and interior lights from 11pm to sunrise during the spring migration, from mid-March to early June, and the fall migration, from late August to late October.
Utilize gradual, "staggered switching" to turn on building lights at sunrise rather than instant light-up of the entire building.
Dim lights in lobbies, perimeter circulation areas, and atria.
Monitor the effectiveness of lights out programs by tracking bird collisions and mortality rates. Determine light emission reductions and cost savings. Publicize positive outcomes.
Contact local bird conservation organizations for support and to share the results of the Lights Out program.

Reduce light trespass from interior sources:
Turn off unnecessary interior lighting by 11 pm until sunrise, especially during fall and spring migration seasons.
Utilize automatic controls, including photo-sensors, infrared and motion detectors, to shut off lights automatically in the evening when no occupants are present.
Encourage the use of localized task lighting to reduce the need for extensive overhead lighting.
Schedule nightly maintenance activities to conclude before 11:00pm.
Educate building users about the dangers of light trespass for birds.
Encourage voluntary light-closing in the evenings.

Reduce light trespass from exterior sources:
Reduce perimeter lighting wherever possible.
Attach cutoff shields to streetlights and external lights to prevent unnecessary upward lighting.
Install motion-sensor lighting wherever possible.
Utilize minimum wattage fixtures to achieve required lighting levels.
To comply with federal aviation and marine safety regulations in large buildings, install minimum intensity white strobe lighting with a three second flash interval instead of continuous flood lighting, rotating lights, or red lighting.
Ensure that all exterior light fixtures are properly installed to prevent unintended light trespass.

Implement daily bird-collision monitoring:
Encourage building management or maintenance crews to conduct a daily sweep of the building perimeter, setbacks, and roof to inspect for injured or dead bird species.
Encourage volunteer participation in bird-collision monitoring.
Instruct workers and volunteers in methods of temporarily caring for injured birds before transporting them to certified wildlife rehabilitators.
Document all bird deaths. Donate specimens to authorized local bird conservation organization or museum to aid in species identification and for use in scientific studies, as per the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. See page TK.
Partner with other buildings in the area as well as local bird conservation groups to develop a district-wide monitoring program and corresponding Lights Out strategies.
Undertake retrofits and other strategies to reduce bird collisions. See "Modifications to Existing Buildings to Reduce Bird Collisions".


+ Highly effective at reducing nighttime migratory bird collisions and mortality.
+ Saves money by reducing energy costs.
+ Decreases air pollution and light pollution.
- Requires the commitment and participation of both building owners and users.
- Less effective without public awareness about the problem of bird collisions with all types of buildings.
- Conflicts with aesthetic preconceptions that buildings should be brightly lit at night, particularly in urban skylines.

Sustainable Sites (SS) Credit 8: Light Pollution Reduction.
Energy and Atmosphere (EA) Credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance.
Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) Credit 6.1: Controllability of Systems: Lighting.

Disclaimer Site Map Webmaster Privacy Policy Terms of use