Promotion of energy efficiency and preservation of rural dark sky in the Gorge
With the increase of highly efficient LED lighting options, many homeowners, businesses and cities are looking at upgrading their outdoor lights. This opportunity poses a risk to the nature of our rural dark sky. Gorge Night Sky project, with funding support from a Google grant, is focused on educating the community about Dark-Sky standards and energy efficient LED options, developing educational units for schools, promoting preservation of the Gorge’s rural dark sky by helping consumers choose products that maintain or increase energy efficiency and meet Dark-Sky standards, and working with local vendors to gather commitments to stock Dark-Sky compliant, energy efficient LED options.
2016 Symposium Overview
As part of the Gorge Night Sky project, MCEDD, the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, and the Friends of the Goldendale Observatory hosted a two-day educational symposium on August 18-19, 2016, at the Goldendale Observatory and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. The symposium bought together the Dark-Sky community, lighting professionals, and regional utilities and PUDs, local lighting vendors and installers, high profile end users, and city and county governments. Goals of the symposium included:
- Vendor/designer commitment to stocking and specifying dark-sky compliant fixtures.
- Utility commitment to highlight dark-sky compliant fixtures as part of their efficiency programs.
- Commitment to maximize existing efficiency rebate programs through point of sale rebates and a streamlined rebate process for dark-sky compliant LED lighting upgrades.
- Develop a strategy to effectively reach businesses and homeowners with the message about quality lighting design.
- A commitment from local governments to pursue and enforce modern lighting ordinances.
Welcome from Washington State Parks – Lem Pratt, Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission, Goldendale Area Manager
The importance of the observatory to our community – Washington State Representative Gina McCabe
Brief History of Observatory, current designs for upgrades, and Night Sky stewardship – Ryan Karlson, Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission, Interpretive Program Manager
A typical day at the observatory & optical upgrades – Troy Carpenter, Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission, Interpretive Specialist, Goldendale Observatory State Park
Keynote Presentation – The End of Night? – Paul Bogard, James Madison University
Finding solutions to light pollution – Paul Bogard, James Madison University
International Dark-Sky Association and Dark Sky Communities – David Ingram, Dark Skies Northwest
The effects of light pollution on river and riparian ecosystems – Dr. Elizabeth Perkin, Willamette University
Human Centric Lighting – Gary Chittim, PLANLED
Raptor Program – Bambi Foy, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
Am I BUG’ing you? – Jorge Craveiro, Cyclone Lighting
LED Magic – Adaptive Lighting Controls – Rob Leonard, Echelon Corporation
Commercial and Industrial Opportunities and Incentives – Nick Jones, Northwest Trade Ally Network
Overview of NW SEED Program – Jill Eikenhorst, NW SEED
Overview of USDA REAP (Rural Development for America Program) – John Holman, USDA
There were also two discussion panels:
Panel #1: Rebate programs & stocking compliant lighting products: A discussion of setting up rebate programs between local vendors and utilities, in addition to finding and stocking Dark-Sky compliant lighting products.
Panel #2: Developing effective lighting ordinances for communities: A discussion of writing effective language into city and county ordinances to encourage communities to comply with Dark-Sky standards.
The Gorge Night Sky project has developed an educational booklet focused on light pollution issues and technology innovation in LED lighting. The booklet is geared for various age groups, mainly focused on grades 4th through 8th. It contains common terminology and concepts related to light pollution, as well as information about advances and considerations for LED lighting. Exercises are included in the booklet, including information similar to a lighting specification sheet and questions about calculation of energy usage so students can use what they learn to evaluate lights in various settings, such as at home, school, or other buildings of interest around the community.
The Gorge Night Sky project coordinated with the North Wasco County School District to bring the developed materials to the classroom and offer a field trip to the Goldendale Observatory. The goal is to inspire students to discover a passion in STEM based fields and educate them on the basics of astronomy, LED light technology, and energy efficiency. In addition to use in the classroom, the booklet will also be printed and distributed at various locations in the region so students in surrounding areas can take advantage of the lessons as well.