07 Oct How LED Lighting Can Save Schools Money & Increase Student Performance
Every school looks for ways to cut costs and save money. But what if we told you that you could save money and increase student performance? Not to mention improve health outcomes and increase sustainability all at the same time? Sound to good to be true? Well, the simple answer is switching to LEDs. Look at it this way…
U.S. schools spend $8 billion each year on energy. That’s more than textbooks and computers combined! That $8 billion breaks down to be about $200 per student. Almost one-third of that energy bill is spent on lighting alone. Upgrading lighting can reduce electricity use for lighting by up to 50% and can sometimes reduce cooling costs as well. Upgrading to newer fixtures reduces risk of exposure carcinogens such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) which are present in some older lighting fixtures.
Better quality light can increase student performance.
Light has impacts on different levels of human functioning: from vision, to circadian rhythms, to mood and cognition. Poor quality of light can impair student’s visual skills and, therefore, academic performance. Imperceptible flicker from fluorescent lighting and glare has been shown to cause discomfort and impact visual and cognitive performance.
In a study of multiple school districts that have over 21,000 students, students in classrooms with better daylighting (natural light) progress on average 20% faster and scored up to 7-18% higher overall. While daylighting is always best, it’s not always possible. If you can’t improve daylighting you need to do the next best thing: mimic daylight. That’s where LUX LEDs can help with its wide range of applications and color temperatures.
Full spectrum light has been shown to help.
The only “real” full spectrum light is the sun, however, it can be imitated with a high CRI and CCT of around 4000-5000K (the most similar to natural daylight). A study in Florida showed that students in a room with full spectrum light were able to pay attention better. A study in Germany showed that students exposed to more intense blue light produced about a third fewer errors. In this study they also reported that many teachers were also “feeling better.” An experiment with a small group of third grade students showed that students with more ‘focused’ lighting improved performance at a greater rate (almost double) than those with ‘normal’ light.
School districts save money
Many school districts have reduced energy costs by 30% and more by switching to LEDs. That’s more than $60 per student they can spend directly on the student.
Here are some examples. A school district in:
- Tennessee reduced consumption per student by more than 50%
- Oregon cut costs 15% per year
- Michigan saved $900,000 over 4 years
- California saved $600,000 a year with a payback of less than 2 years
- South Carolina saved over $320,000 per year
- And across Long Island, school districts have saved more than $350M and reduced energy use by 30%
Replacing Old, Inefficient Fluorescents
Most schools use tube fluorescents either in exposed bulbs or recessed troffers which produces poor light quality that degrades over time. Our LED linear retrofits provide better light quality and a more full spectrum light leading to a better learning environment. They are easy to retrofit in existing housings making the switch simple and hassle-free. Not to mention, they reduce electricity use (i.e. the energy bill), and will last significantly longer which reduces maintenance and replacement costs. They also easily support lighting controls which help save even more money, energy, and extend the lifetime even longer. LEDs contain no toxic materials and operate at cooler temperatures which could reduce overall HVAC costs.
Lighting for Outdoor Areas and Parking Lot
So we’ve covered how switching your school’s indoor lights to LEDs can help save money, create a better learning environment, and increase student performance, but don’t forget about the outdoor lighting. Switching to high-powered LEDs for parking lots, playgrounds, sport fields, structures, etc., can add an 80% reduction in operating costs including energy savings and reduction in maintenance costs. The color rendering is better as well, increasing safety and visibility (see the example that pictures LED vs standard HPS area lights). Sensors can also be included in the lights which further improve security and energy savings. Check out our LED street lighting for more info.
How LUX Can Help
Interested in making the switch to LEDs? We will work with school districts to evaluate energy and indoor environments in schools. We can initially focus on at-risk schools (older schools that haven’t done retrofits and also schools that are struggling in academic performance). We will develop and implement pilot programs for these schools, evaluate outcomes and propose for district-wide and state-wide rollout. Contact us today for more information and download our complete product catalog in the meantime.