ATRIA Corporate Center is a proud participant of
Audubon Minnesota's Lights Out program is a collaborative
effort to reduce the number of birds killed or injured when
they collide with structures such as buildings, has been
ongoing since 2007 and is supported by multiple organizations,
including Minneapolis' chapter for Building Owners and
Manager's Associations (BOMA) and by the individual building
staff that makes it happen every spring and fall.
Why Project BirdSafe / Lights Out?
As stewards of the environment, everyone should be concerned about conserving birds. Birds perform many useful functions, from pollination to seed dispersal to insect control. In spring their return signals the renewal of the seasons just as their fall departure precedes the changeover to winter. Their songs and daily activity bring joy to nearly everyone.
Most birds migrate at night and can be drawn off course by tall, lighted structures in their flight path. Many birds are killed or injured in collisions with buildings or drop from exhaustion after circling them, reluctant to fly out of the light. Migration is such an arduous business for birds, and we should do everything we can to make it easier for them. Lights Out programs can dramatically reduce these collisions.
What we do:
LIGHTS OUT FAQ
How does Lights Out work?
Lights Out is a voluntary program where building owners, managers and tenants work together to ensure that all unnecessary lighting is turned off during Lights Out dates and times.
Other Lights Out benefits
Besides saving birds, the Lights Out program saves a considerable amount of energy and reduces pollution by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The savings for a building can be significant. One participating building in the Toronto Lights Out program reported a savings of more than $200,000 in 2006.
How do we know that dimming or turning off lights can help?
Turning off unnecessary lights in buildings has been shown to reduce the number of birds attracted to or confused by illumination. Since Chicago buildings began dimming or turning off lights, many more birds are navigating through the city successfully. In fact, at one building where records have been kept for many years, mortality decreased by 80 percent when lights were turned off. More and more cities are starting programs and also compiling data on bird mortality.
What do building owners get out of participating?
A Lights Out program leads to real energy savings, which translates directly to real cost savings. Participating buildings save birds, save money and save energy while reducing carbon emissions. Many buildings are also interested in certification through the LEED system -- a "green" rating system for buildings, indicating Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Building owners, managers, employees and tenants also take pride in their participation in Lights Out. There is really no downside to Lights Out.
Won't a darkened city be unsafe?
Not at all. Lights Out cities don't go completely dark by any means. Lights Out focuses on dimming or extinguishing extraneous lights coming from buildings, particularly in the upper stories. This includes the bright, decorative lighting that defines the building top, as well as interior office lights that aren't being used. Street-level lights, though preferably down-shielded, and airplane warning lights are not affected.
While many buildings may choose to alter their lighting practices year round, Lights Out for birds is technically in effect during key migration periods late at night. This usually means about 10 weeks in spring and 10 more in the fall, between the hours of midnight and daylight.
For more information on the Lights Out Program, Audubon Minnesota, or how you can help to create a "Bird Safe Community" visit the Audubon Minnesota website at http://mn.audubon.org/creating-bird-friendly-communities-4 or by clickinghere.
Rebecca Field / Audubon Minnesota