Q: Which lights should I turn off or dim? 

A: As many lights as possible in rural, residential, and commercial buildings; we are interested in reducing overall light emission. However, all nonessential and decorative lighting near the tops of buildings should be prioritized. Our pilot campaign Lights Out Texas endorses these guidelines from our partners in Chicago, New York, and other cities in North America:

Extinguish or dim:

  • Exterior or decorative lighting on any multi-story building, including but not limited to spotlights, logos, clock faces, greenhouses, and antenna lighting.
  • The maximum amount of lobby lighting possible.
  • Lighting in perimeter rooms on all levels of the building. 
  • Draw curtains or blinds to reduce light escaping!


  • Illuminating interior plants or fountains, which are attractive to birds. 
  • Scheduling cleaning crews after dark.


  • Timers and motion-sensitive lighting to ensure light is only used when needed, if at all.
  • Lower-intensity lighting where possible.
  • Desk lamps or task lighting for security/work stations rather than overhead lights.
  • Outdoor light fixtures that direct the light down, instead of horizontally and/or upward.
  • “Zone capable” interior lighting systems to illuminate selected areas.

Q: Isn’t it unsafe to reduce lighting? 

A: Most buildings are vastly over-lit: only decorative and unnecessary lighting are the primary source of light to be turned off. Lights that are legally required for building, public and aviation safety must be kept on. Additionally, research has linked reduced light pollution with health and wellness benefits like decreased disruption of sleep and circadian rhythms (for example, this studies – 1, 2, 3).