Earth Hour Conserves Electricity, Helps Night Sky Observers

by kespeland on March 27, 2009

At 8:30 PM Saturday night, lights on the Kentucky state capitol grounds will go out for an hour.  Lights at the Acropolis, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and the Empire State Building will also go out.  It’s all part of a symbolic gesture to raise awareness about climate change, and it’s called “Earth Hour.”  In some areas, participants may even get a better view of the night sky.  And that’s something Louisville Astronomical Society president Ken Alderson would like to see more than once a year.

“If you take a look at city parks in Louisville, they close after 10 o’clock and yet all the lights stay on all night.  And there are billions of dollars that could be saved by stopping unnecessary lighting,” says Alderson.

Alderson says Saturday’s global showing will help more than the environment.  It will save on electricity costs as well as give observers a chance to marvel at the night sky—a chance he says is dwindling quickly as more and more spots around the planet are lit up.

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{ 2 comments }

Jason Cissell March 28, 2009 at 11:25 am

By law, our Metro Parks close at 11 p.m., unless signs are posted stating otherwise. We keep some level of lighting (not all of it!) on overnight in many neighborhood parks for security reasons. This is frequently at the insistent request of neighbors, who observe illegal activity under the cover of darkness that can damage park amenities or lead to break-ins at surrounding homes. In fact, we received an e-mail from a citizen late last night about lights being out in Tyler Park, a park where we’ve recently been working with neighbors to fight vandalism that occurs overnight.

That said, if the Louisville Astronomical Society wanted to schedule a viewing in a park, we’d be happy to work with them on adjusting the lighting for their nighttime event.

Metro Parks is committed to reducing our use of energy. When we develop new park facilities, we strive to use the greenest designs that we can afford, and we’re working to retrofit older facilities, again as funding allows. During the off-season, we turn off the lights at little-used basketball courts and tennis courts altogether. This is because of the Mayor’s “Go Green Louisville” initiative, as well as our need to make our shrinking budget go as far as it can!

And, of course, we welcome feedback on ways we can do better, via MetroCall 311, parks@louisvilleky.gov or http://www.twitter.com/loumetroparks

Kristin Espeland March 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for your response, Jason. Despite a busy week here, I should have called you for comment!

There are opportunities to save energy and money nearly everywhere we look. Hopefully, as we seize more and more of them, we can achieve some harmony between safety, convenience, environmental benefits, and beauty.

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