Lights Out, Raleigh

i Aug 31, 2015 No Comments by

Wake Audubon Society Citizens Petition to the City of Raleigh Council

Protecting Birds and Saving Money with Lights Out

Wake Audubon Society is a chapter of Audubon North Carolina and the National Audubon Society.  With more than 1,500 members, we actively support projects and educational programs in Raleigh and Wake County to advocate for wildlife, nature and conservation.

During spring and fall migration, millions of birds pass through North Carolina, often flying at night and passing through urban centers on their way to their migratory destination.  Many of these birds collide with buildings and other structures.  Through onsite walks, Wake Audubon has documented more than 100 building associated bird deaths in downtown Raleigh over the last four migrations.  Click here for background information about Lights Out programs in other cities as well as the protocol and data collected from our Raleigh Lights Out surveys.

Research has shown that eliminating non-essential indoor and exterior building lighting between 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM during spring and fall migration can significantly reduce bird mortality. At the same time, significant savings on utility bills could be realized if the reduced late night lighting is extended to a year round practice.

We have discussed Lights Out with staff from the Office of Sustainability and have received favorable feedback on our proposal from several stakeholders they contacted.  We look forward to further discussion and to Council’s assistance with the approval of a formal policy.

In keeping with Wake Audubon Society’s mission of advocating for wildlife, we petition the City of Raleigh Council to adopt the following “Lights Out” policy to provide safer passage for migrating birds and to benefit the City and its citizens by reducing utility costs:

All City of Raleigh owned and operated municipal buildings are included in this Lights Out policy to protect birds and reduce utility costs:

  • All non-essential outside lighting, including decorative up-lighting, and all non-essential interior lights will be turned off year-round from 11 PM to dawn.
  • Staff in buildings with overnight operations will be encouraged to use blinds/curtains, to diffuse transmitted light to the outside.
  • Security lighting is not included in this policy.

If adopted, Raleigh will be the first city in North Carolina to adopt a municipal, city-wide Lights Out policy to protect birds and reduce utility costs.  As such, our city will be widely recognized through the Audubon network for this forward-thinking, bird-friendly, energy-saving policy.  Wake Audubon Society members stand ready to work with city staff and do all we can to make this a win-win for Raleigh and our birds.


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