Offering the Best and Brightest for Schools

When the bell for first period rings, students should walk into cool, bright and clean classrooms with good lighting, study materials and technology. Building and maintaining an environment that is conducive for learning (and teaching) can be a challenge. In fact, research shows that a facility’s condition directly relates to absenteeism, teacher turnover rates and occupant health.

When building a new school, local school boards often face tight deadlines and strict budgets, while still needing a school building that is energy efficient and safe. Once the school is up and running, energy costs are the largest operating expense for school districts after salaries and benefits.

Recently those costs have increasingly strained their already tight budgets, and these constraints result in an accumulation of deferred maintenance, which eventually leads to higher energy costs and more equipment malfunctions.

The ABC’s of Schools’ Energy Consumption:

  • U.S. schools spend more than $7.5 billion a year on energy, which is more than they spend on textbooks and computers combined.
  • Schools spent around $130 per student on electricity in 2005.
  • Lighting represents about 26% of electricity consumption, not including its impact on cooling loads.
  • Office equipment accounts for about 20% of electricity consumption.

Having enough light, but not too much, is the most important lighting criterion for classrooms, according to the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star program. Energy-saving lighting updates can save as much as 30 – 50% of lighting energy, plus 10 – 20% of cooling energy. It’s all about choosing the right type of lighting that best suits the activity, whether it’s reading, artwork, a lecture on a chalkboard or a multimedia lecture with a screen projection — all of which require different levels of lighting.

In addition, sometimes it can be tempting to focus on the lowest-cost energy-saving lighting updates with the fastest return on investment, but investing in higher-cost measures might be more beneficial and economical in the end.

Whether you need help designing the type of lighting for the various classrooms and buildings of a school or want guidance on the kinds of economical lighting updates that best suit the school, we can help.