Responsible Power

PEC supports dark sky initiatives

Working with cities and members to help preserve the starry night sky

The starry night sky is a precious resource that adds to the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. At PEC, we support efforts to keep the stars shining bright for all members.

Dark Sky Communities

Texas is home to three International Dark Sky Communities, and we’re PEC Proud that all three are located in our service territory. Dripping Springs, Horseshoe Bay, and Wimberley Valley are recognized by the International Dark Sky Association for showing exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education, and citizen support for dark skies.

In addition to these recognized communities, organized preservation efforts are happening across the PEC service territory. The city of Blanco, for example, recently passed an outdoor lighting ordinance. It states, “the citizens of Blanco value the natural environment, including the beauty of a pristine night sky, and consider it to be an essential element of Blanco’s treasured rural heritage.”

PEC support of night skies

The Texas Hill Country’s natural beauty is one of the reasons PEC’s service territory has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. This rapid growth comes with the potential to diminish the darkness of our skies at night. However, we have taken steps to preserve this natural resource, and help save energy in the process.

In 2011, the PEC Board of Directors adopted a resolution to promote outdoor lighting fixtures and practices that follow up-to-date guidelines for efficient, nonintrusive lighting and work with partners to educate and encourage landowners, businesses, residential communities, and public entities to join in this commitment.

Compliance standards vary by city depending on their specific ordinance. Generally, outdoor lights 3,000 kelvin (K) and less are considered dark-sky friendly. PEC provides compliant LED lights at 3,000K and 2,700K to cities and members. In addition to protecting the night sky, these lights are more energy efficient than brighter options.

Spread the word

Each year, the Hill Country Alliance helps host the Annual Hill Country Dark Sky Conference in Fredericksburg. For the third consecutive year, PEC representatives will attend the event to provide information and answer questions regarding compliant lighting options and our efforts in the community.

Awareness is key in protecting the night sky, and PEC is committed to shining a light on the ways our members can help keep the stars big and bright in Texas.

To get involved or for more information, check out the following organizations working on preserving dark skies in the region:

Hill Country Alliance

International Dark Skies Association

IDA Texas

The Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky

Wimberley Valley Dark Sky Committee

Hays County Master Naturalists

South Llano River State Park (an International Dark Sky Park)

In PEC’s service area, the following counties have adopted resolutions recognizing the value of dark skies and supporting their preservation: Burnet, Blanco, Comal, Edwards, Gillespie, Kimble, Kerr, Mason, Real, and Uvalde.