Lights Out S.F. wants to occasionally darken city

An event is gathering steam in San Francisco that could mean lights out in The City, acoustic music in the clubs and romantic candlelit dinners — at least for one hour.

Former Google employee and founder of Lights Out San Francisco Nat Tyler has a vision that on Oct. 20 between 7 and 8 p.m. The City, businesses and restaurants will say: Lights out.

He dreamt up the event after visiting Sydney, Australia, where he said he was dining one evening and all of a sudden the lights went out — including at the Sydney Opera House across the way — and candles were brought in for the remainder of the night.

Sydney had turned out its lights for one hour in an effort to save energy and promote energy conservation.

So why not in San Francisco, Tyler wondered, because this city is well-known for setting environmental trends. San Francisco recently became the first U.S. city to enact a ban on plastic bags.

Tyler has been working with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, city officials and others to get everyone on board adhering to the “Lights Out” call.

Today, Supervisor Jake McGoldrick said he will introduce a resolution to support “extinguishing nonessential lighting in all city government buildings and landmarks” for one hour on Oct. 20, as well as to dedicate that date as the official “Lights Out San Francisco Day.” The event will also include the handing out of free energy-efficient light bulbs.

Tyler is also working with the Golden Gate Bridge Transportation District, which he hopes will approve turning off the bridge’s “nonessential lights” during the event. And he also hopes music venues will agree to only acoustic music during the hour.

When Sydney turned off its lights for one hour, it saved more than 24 tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of taking 48,613 cars off the road for one hour, the resolution says.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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