Fountain Hills Dark Sky: Lighting

Dori Wittrig July 27, 2023

The allure of gazing at the night sky, adorned with constellations and celestial wonders, draws visitors and residents alike to experience this awe-inspiring spectacle here in Fountain Hills. To protect and preserve this unique resource, the town has implemented Dark Sky requirements for outdoor lighting.
Let’s explore the importance of these regulations and consider practical guidelines on how to light your property while ensuring minimal light pollution and maximum enjoyment of the dark skies.
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger

The Significance of Dark Sky Regulations

Dark skies not only captivate our imaginations but also play a vital role in maintaining ecological balance. Excessive artificial light at night can have various adverse effects on the environment and the health of both humans and the animal kingdom.

Here are some reasons why Fountain Hills has taken the initiative to protect its dark skies:

  • Astronomy and Stargazing: One of the main reasons for preserving dark skies is to foster astronomy and stargazing. Light pollution obstructs celestial observation, making it difficult to study distant stars, planets, and other celestial phenomena.
  • Wildlife and Ecosystems: Many nocturnal species rely on darkness for their natural behaviors. Artificial lights can disrupt their activities, migration patterns, and even lead to disorientation and altered breeding habits.
Photo by Philippe Donn

Understanding Fountain Hills Dark Sky Requirements

Fountain Hills has adopted lighting regulations that align with the International Dark-Sky Association’s guidelines. The key principles of these requirements include:
  1. Light Fixtures: Use full-cut-off fixtures that direct light downward, preventing light from escaping above the horizontal plane. This helps to focus the light where it is needed and reduces light pollution.
  2. Intensity and Wattage: Limit the intensity and wattage of outdoor lighting to the minimum necessary for safety and security. Avoid over-illuminating spaces, as it not only wastes energy but also contributes to light pollution.
  3. Color Temperature: Choose warm-colored LED bulbs with a color temperature of 3000 Kelvin or lower. Cooler temperatures can be harsh on the eyes and lead to more light pollution.
  4. Motion Sensors and Timers: Install motion sensors or timers to control when outdoor lights are active. This ensures that lights are on only when needed, reducing light trespass and unnecessary energy use.
  5. Shielding: Properly shield all outdoor lights to prevent light from spilling beyond your property’s boundaries. This helps to create a more focused and controlled lighting environment.
Fountain Hills’ Dark Sky requirements for lighting your property, you not only contribute to preserving the beauty of the night sky but also promote a healthier environment for wildlife and human beings. Responsible outdoor lighting ensures that we can continue to enjoy the wonders of astronomy and connect with nature while reducing our ecological footprint.

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