Virtual Classroom

Daylighting

Day LightingStudies over several decades have corroborated the impact lighting on student achievement. Appropriate lighting levels and control of natural light are proven to affect test scores. Combing these long accepted findings with climbing energy costs makes efficient lighting design and control strategies critical now and the future.

Outlined below are three established energy saving tactics:

Increased use of natural light.
Daylighting - The processes of natural light infiltrating an occupied space replacing the need for artificial light is "Daylighting". This requires the ability to control natural and artificial light properly to insure the highest potential benefit to improve student's achievement. Studies and research over the last 40 years have shown gains of between 6%-21% on test scores. Glare and solar heat gain can create an uncomfortable learning environment and counteract the advantages of natural light. Strategies include shading devices on windows, light shelves and diffusing window material.

Maximum controllability of light.
Controllability - Matching light levels as close as possible to actual needs and using energy for lighting only when spaces are occupied is "Controllability". Lighting controls have moved beyond manually turning switches on and off. Lighting controls can be automated to deliver the appropriate light levels for the task. Occupancy sensors and lighting level technologies have greatly advanced. Simplifying the control system should be a high priority when choosing new systems. When lighting systems require little human participation, and/or it is self-regulating, the teacher can focus on teaching.

Prudent selection of lighting equipment.
Lighting Equipment - It is not just the term "energy efficient" that identifies advanced lighting equipment. Improved uniformity of light delivery also depends on the light fixtures material and design. The idea is to deliver the appropriate amount of illumination to where it is needed, when it is needed. Fixtures that provide indirect, direct or a combination of light direction will allow function of Daylighting and Controllability. Electronic dimming ballasts is the most advantageous strategy when daylight harvesting. Step level ballast, programmed circuitry, T8 or T5 lamps and improve light reflecting material all contribute to greater energy efficiencies.