A combination of natural light, strategically designed skylights and energy efficient electric lighting provides optimum lighting in schools.
Schools should architecturally be designed with wide windows so as to garner maximum sunlight to conserve energy. The lighting should enable and facilitate in reading, writing, learning, teaching, individual and group performance, as well as school administration.
Bright and airy classrooms should have daylight from windows placed in different directions. The light should be glare-free and bright enough to reach the corners of the classroom. At the same time, windows should be provided with blinds or shades to control light input when computers or audio visual equipment are used. Windows should also have awnings as they aid in cutting down radiation and heat from the sun. Expansive indoor areas like the gym, cafeteria, hallways, swimming pools, classrooms, and administrative offices could be provided with wide skylights to take advantage of the daylight, thereby cutting down on electricity consumption and lighting maintenance. With daylighting from skylights and windows, the school not only reduces energy consumption by 50% and lowers its maintenance costs, but daylighting serves to increase the longevity of the lighting system as well.
Use energy efficient lights. Switch off lights and equipment when not required. Appoint students who can take on the responsibility of turning off the lights. Motion sensor lights can be installed in restrooms. Installing programmed lighting that is sensitive to daylight intensity levels and dims automatically is another wise option. Glazed windows allow sunlight in classrooms while keeping the heat out.
Solar lights powered by photovoltaic panels on the school’s roof are an environment friendly option for schools. The investment in a solar lighting system will be recovered from the considerable savings in the school’s energy bills over a couple of years.
It has been proven that in natural light, learning is not only enhanced but also easier on the students. They become more proactive in class, perform better academically, and an overall improvement can be seen in their physical health and mental skills.