American Campus Communities, Inc. (ACC) is the largest owner, manager and developer of high-quality student housing communities in the United States. The student housing company is a fully integrated, self-managed and self-administered equity real estate investment trust (REIT) with expertise in the design, finance, development, construction and operational management of student housing communities. As of March 31, 2021, American Campus Communities owned 166 student housing properties containing approximately 111,900 beds. Pairing its owned and third-party managed properties, ACC’s total managed portfolio consisted of 207 properties with approximately 142,400 beds.
In every community design, ACC prioritizes sustainability not only for operational efficiencies and cost savings but also for the well-being of student residents.
This spring, ACC is turning out non-essential lights at night at its communities in the following university markets for migratory birds as part of a statewide initiative, Lights Out Texas:
- College Station
- Corpus Christi
- Prairie View
- San Antonio
- San Marcos
Texas is globally important for birds. Approximately 1 of every 3 birds migrating through the U.S. in spring, and 1 of every 4 birds migrating through the U.S. in the fall, or nearly two billion birds, pass through Texas. Protecting birds in Texas promotes conservation of bird populations across the Americas.
“One of our core values is to ‘do the right thing’ and that includes supporting conservation efforts across the country in our student communities,” said Jennifer Beese, chief operating officer at American Campus Communities. “Joining the Lights Out Texas initiative is an immediate action that we can take as a Texas-based business to do our part to ensure millions of birds migrate successfully while also educating our residents on conservation.”
What measures is ACC taking to participate in Lights Out Texas?
At 36 of its communities, ACC will turn out non-essential lights at night from 11pm-6pm to help birds successfully migrate across our region.
How is ACC messaging Lights Out Texas to it’s community members?
ACC is encouraging residents through social media to turn off all non-essential lights.
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What advice would ACC provide to another company that is considering joining the Lights Out Texas initiative?
We believe that the value generated by operational efficiency and sustainable practices benefits us not only as a company but also extends to our shareholders and for generations to come. Sustainability and conservation efforts is an area where we can all take on a leadership role, across multiple industries, to do our part for the environment.
The Lights Out Texas effort is led by a coalition of partners that includes conservation non-profits, universities, governmental organizations, and Texans dedicated to the conservation of birds. The initiative is asking all Texans to turn off their non-essential lights at night from 11 PM – 6 AM through the full spring migration of March 1 – June 15. Where conflicts apply, it is suggested to prioritize the peak migration period between April 19 – May 7, when half of the total spring bird migration traffic passes through Texas.
How you can participate in Lights Out Texas:
Guidelines for Everyone:
- Turn off all non-essential lights from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night.
- Do not use landscape lighting to light up trees or gardens where birds may be resting.
- For essential lights (like security lighting) use the following dark skies friendly lighting practices:
- Aim lights down
- Use lighting shields to direct light downwards and to avoid light shining into the sky or trees
- Use motion detectors and sensors so lights are only on when you need them
- Close blinds at night to reduce the amount of light being emitted from windows
Additional Guidelines for Buildings Taller Than 3 Stories:
- Extinguish or dim: Exterior and decorative lighting (i.e. spotlights, logos, clock faces, greenhouses, and antenna lighting); lobby/atrium lighting; and lighting in perimeter rooms on all levels of the building.
- Avoid: Floodlights; illuminating interior plants or fountains, and unoccupied floors; scheduling cleaning crews after dark; and blue-rich white light emissions (lighting with a color temperature of over 3000
- Use: Desk lamps or task lighting rather than overhead lights; blinking lighting in place of continuously
burning lights; and warm light sources (less than 3000 Kelvin) for outdoor lighting.
Lights Out Texas Recognition Opportunities:
- Texas Conservation Alliance’s Light Out for Wildlife Certification – take the pledge and share this certification with your networks
- If a company is seeking a deeper level of recognition, via a write-up, Texan by Nature can recognize companies through the Texan by Nature Certification program. Certified projects are highlighted on TxN website via a mini case study webpage and on TxN social media channels, newsletter, etc.
- Your commitment to go lights out is newsworthy, check out this social media toolkit to share on your channels.
Lights Out Texas Migration Radar & Alerts:
- Subscribe to BirdCast Alerts – for now, alerts are only for Bird Cities in TX
- For all other cities, you can enter your city here to see the migration forecast
- You can access all migration tools and live maps here
Learn more about Lights Out Texas here: https://birdcast.info/science-to-action/lights-out/
Learn more about American Campus Communities on their website. Did you know they were also selected as a Texan by Nature 20 honoree in 2019 and 2020 for their commitment to sustainability and conservation?