More than Brighter Classrooms—Brighter Students!
We can all agree that improvements in student learning and additional cashflow are two things every school wants. Scratch that—every school NEEDS!
Pressed with ever-tightening budgets, schools are paying more and more attention to energy conservation to free-up dollars. Schools that have made the switch from incandescent or fluorescent to LED have seen significant energy bill reductions, with their wattage decreasing by up to 75 percent.
Energy Savings + Focused Students = Better Schools!
While capital savings are a huge benefit to schools, the effects of creating a better lighting environment on student productivity and behavior are by far the most important elements.
Research scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science of Technology (KAIST) recently found that students score higher on tests when in classrooms that have been updated from fluorescent to LED lighting. A similar study published in the International Journal of Multimedia and Ubiquitous Engineering saw a 25 percent increase in learning following an LED update!
Solid-state LED lighting has also proven to reduce stress and anxiety while improving overall mood, allowing students to feel more comfortable in the classrooms in which they spend the majority of their days. This is especially important for students with autism, as fluorescent lighting can increase stress levels and stir anxiety in these children. Fluorescent lights are linked to migraines, strained eyes, and increased stress and anxiety. Students deserve a classroom environment that allows for optimal learning, and LED lighting fits the bill.
“Besides the physiological and psychological effects of lighting, studies have also indicated positive effects of specific lighting conditions on behavior, such as working speed, productivity, and accuracy. Our human biology is linked to natural light from the sun. Bright light stops the secretion of melatonin in our body which wakes us and increases our alertness. At night, the darkness cues our body to start the secretion of melatonin and prepare us for sleep. Light is the most powerful regulator of the human day-night-rhythm, also referred to as our circadian rhythm.”
-Kyungah & Hyeon-Jeong, KAIST
A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found classroom lighting can either promote or impair learning, depending on the type of light. The study revealed that 80% of classrooms are equipped with fluorescent lighting, which has been found to cause headaches and impaired vision. This common classroom lighting distracts students with excess glare and random flickering.
Both indoor and outdoor LED lighting provide the perfect environment for not only classroom learning, but extracurricular activities and sports, as well. The high level of clarity and versatility LEDs provide allow students and teachers alike to feel safer on an LED-lit campus, whether it’s during the school day or after.
Stretching an Already Limited Budget Further
In 2018, American Energy Services partnered with a Maryland school system to upgrade 24 schools with LED lighting. Following a comprehensive facility assessment and subsequent retrofitting, AES brought the school system over $788,000 in annual energy savings—a 36% overall energy savings and over 50% savings on its electric bills! To sweeten the deal even further, AES was able to find, process and apply over $2 MILLION in rebates on behalf of the customer, covering nearly half of the total project cost!
Down the road, AES helped a Baltimore County private school lower its yearly energy bills by nearly $27,000, saving over 194,000 kWh (or 76%) in energy. That’s the equivalent of the energy used by 17 average U.S. homes every year! Over a quarter of the project’s cost was covered by rebates that were again found, processed and applied by AES on behalf of the school—saving them over $42,000!
And it’s not only primary and secondary schools that are reaping the benefits of LED upgrades. Our work with a private Maryland university resulted in nearly $180,000 injected back into the school’s budget annually. This sweeping lighting and intelligent control upgrade project involved over 10,000 installations. The annual maintenance savings alone totaled over $25,000!
LEDs: A Simple Solution with Major Rewards
LEDs are relatively easy to install, can be retrofitted from the current lighting, and once installed require very little maintenance due to their 50,000-hour average lifespan. All of these make switching to LEDs a simple and quick way to free-up funds for other more important initiatives.
Imagine having the extra cash on-hand to hire much-needed additional teachers, fund more field trips, or purchase new technology. This can be a reality quite quickly. In fact, many schools begin seeing a return on investment in as little as two years and can infuse that money directly back into the school.
With so many benefits of LED lighting to students and the budget, it just doesn’t make sense to leave that money on the table. Financing options, such as the Efficiency Made Easy program, and rebates and grants can help you get your project up and running in no time, with little-to-no money down!