A city’s essence is captured by its skyline and an illuminated evening cityscape can be a beautiful sight. However, as part of a two month pilot program, Boston will lose its familiar nighttime silhouette. Starting on September 3rd the city will darken its tallest and most characteristic buildings by 11pm each night in an effort to raise awareness about energy conservation (and save some dough in the process!). The plan will effectively squelch all lights from the 30th floor and up through 5am the following morning and should save 25% of the energy used for lighting the 34 skyscrapers that have agreed to participate.
Particularly reminiscent of the nightly blackouts during WWII to protect against bombing raids the feel of Boston at night will be very different due to the darkness. Although that may be an extreme parallel the theme of using darkness to protect prevails. Another interesting benefit will be on the migratory habits of birds during their autumn commute. Natural migration routes can be altered by the bright city lights coming from major metropolitan hubs. Since the program will be in effect through much of the fall these birds may be able to take their preferred flight paths.
That being said, certain safety lighting for aircraft will remain on due to regulations. If Mayor Tom Menino keeps the plan in place Lights Out Boston will be the first for a major city using a year round citywide conservation program of this nature.