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Schools Utilize Energy-Efficient Lighting Systems for a Brighter Future

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:14 AM
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by Guest Contributor last modified Oct 03, 2011

Most people associate a school or classroom atmosphere with outdated incandescent, overhead lighting. Classrooms often have few windows, to prevent students from becoming distracted during school hours and to help older heating and cooling systems remain efficient. However, this type of building design is outdated, and many schools are beginning to realize the numerous advantages from using natural light, lighting controls and more energy efficient lighting fixtures.




 

 

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Using natural lighting to power up class rooms

Most people associate a school or classroom atmosphere with outdated incandescent, overhead lighting. Classrooms often have few windows, to prevent students from becoming distracted during school hours and to help older heating and cooling systems remain efficient. However, this type of building design is outdated, and many schools are beginning to realize the numerous advantages from using natural light, lighting controls and more energy-efficient lighting fixtures.

As a culture we spend more and more time indoors, yielding to the demands of our technology-driven society, and therefore receive less exposure to natural light. Increasingly, studies have shown that exposure to natural light can not only increase performance, but can also help students feel more relaxed and comfortable in the school environment.
Instead of distracting students from their work, windows actually help students perform better. Students working in rooms with windows are more alert, more productive and happier than those in rooms without windows. Related workplace studies even show less absenteeism when buildings provide more natural light. Schools with more windows, then, should lead to fewer absences among the student body.
Most schools are still lit with out-of-date, inefficient incandescent lighting with no control systems in place. Newer high-bay fluorescent light fixtures are more energy-efficient, last longer and provide a higher quality light. Lighting controls help manage the use of electricity by automatically turning off lights when not needed.
In spite of the benefits to natural light and efficient lighting systems, many schools have avoided improving their facilities with more efficient, student-friendly lighting fixtures because of the perceived cost. In reality, a properly designed lighting retrofit will often pay for itself within 3-5 years, as districts report thousands of dollars in electricity savings within the first year alone.


Generally, for every 3 watts of energy a lighting system consumes, it requires 1 watt of energy for the HVAC system to neutralize the heat being introduced into the building environment. Since more efficient lighting gives off less heat as waste, the cooling system doesn’t have to work as hard to cool things down. Therefore the cost savings of a lighting retrofit are often greater than initially calculated.

Using natural and higher-quality indoor lighting provides a win-win proposition both for students and faculty, who will be happier, healthier and more productive, and for school districts, which will be able to save money in these financially lean times.

Elizabeth Smyth is a writer for Precision Paragon, an energy-efficient commercial lighting manufacturer and a leading source for lighting retrofit information and resources.

Image source: Precision Paragon



 

 

 
 
 

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