Goldenwest honors Dark Sky with branch design
SOUTH OGDEN, UT (September 11, 2020) — Before Goldenwest Credit Union began construction for their Eden branch that opened in January 2020, the plans for their traditional building prototype were altered to conform with the Ogden Valley “Dark Sky” ordinance. In recent years, Weber County adopted night-friendly requirements for exterior lighting in the Ogden Valley to help protect wildlife habitat, reduce energy consumption, promote local astrotourism, and help preserve the prestigious North Fork Park’s dark sky certification received by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2015.
Adapting building plans to local zoning edicts is nothing new to the 84 year-old Credit Union. However, the Eden branch project was unique in the fact that the required modifications limited the light output from the building, signage, and surrounding parking lot. Balancing the lighting restrictions with Credit Union’s best practices for security was a concern.
“Proper lighting is a safety measure for our employees and members entering buildings, walking through parking lots, and using the drive-up ATMs,” stated Butch Campbell, Goldenwest’s Vice President of Facilities. “We worked closely with Weber County and our contractor to construct a safe building and surrounding property for our employees and members, while honoring the Ogden Valley General Plan to shield the night sky from light pollution.”
Goldenwest researched lighting options and installed fixtures that minimized glare and reduced light “trespassing” to help protect the night sky. For example, the monument sign in front of the building was installed with halo-lit channel letters, as opposed to the traditional back-lit panel signs installed at other Goldenwest branches. The halo lit channel letters significantly reduced light emission and power consumption. The modified sign design ensured that the light emanating from the sign did not extend beyond the Credit Union’s property line.
In the parking lot, Goldenwest installed posts with downward-directed lights that were “fully shielded,” meaning no light would be emitted beyond a 90-degree angle. Likewise, Goldenwest altered lighting around the building by mounting recessed canned-light covers under the eaves that focused light directly downward onto the ground. The sconce lights at the entrance of the branch were also selected for their fully-shielded design. All of the lighting fixtures use LED bulbs, or diodes, to reduce electricity consumption and heat radiation.
At the drive-up window lanes, the open/closed light-indicators were installed underneath the canopy as opposed to their traditional location on the exterior. Relocating the open/closed signage removed visibility of the green and red lights from everyone except people directly approaching the drive-thru lanes in the parking lot.
In keeping with their tradition, Goldenwest installed a pole on the property near the Eden branch building with the intent to fly the U.S. flag 24 hours-a-day. At their other branch locations, Goldenwest installed lights at the base of the poles to shine upward onto the flags. For the Eden Branch, Goldenwest installed a pole with a shielded light that sits on the top and shines directly downward onto the flag.
“Our additional efforts to willingly work within the Ogden Valley Dark Sky ordinance parameters has helped Goldenwest receive a warm welcome from residents and civic leaders in the community,” remarked Campbell. “Weber County now uses our Eden property and building as an example to incoming businesses as a company that embraced the local Dark Sky initiative without compromising safety nor aesthetics.”
Eden Branch at Night
About Goldenwest Credit Union
Founded in 1936, Ogden-based Goldenwest Credit Union holds $2.5 billion in assets, serves 160,000 members and operates 44 branches across Utah. Goldenwest Credit Union owns and operates multiple financial services providers, including: USU Credit Union, a division of Goldenwest; and, Goldenwest Insurance Services.