Effective lighting management at educational facilities
Lighting in educational facilities seems like such a straightforward concept at first glance: add enough light to allow people to see where they’re going. However, the more we discover about teaching methods and attention spans, the more we realise that proper lighting management can have an impact on learning. Not only that, but it can also reduce energy consumption and save money. Here are some areas where you could start implementing lighting management:
Small classrooms/study rooms
Perhaps the most important area to get the lighting right is the place where a lot of the educating/education/learning will be taking place. There is an expectation that modern classrooms or study rooms will provide the optimum atmosphere for both learning and teaching, while also maintaining efficiency. Modern LED lighting provides powerful lighting that won’t make people drowsy like incandescent bulbs can. It also operates with significantly more efficiency, requiring less energy.
However, one of the best sources of light for classrooms is natural light. As long as it doesn’t cause too much glare or reflection, sunlight is great for keeping people alert and, of course, is completely free!
Hallways and paths
Natural light can’t solve all lighting problems, however. Indoor hallways don’t often have many windows to allow sunlight in, so artificial lighting support is usually required. Corridors and hallways will generally have natural navigation lines, but managed lighting can make these clearer and safer. You could also invest in a sensor to lower energy consumption – they can adjust the level of light emitted based on factors such as the time of day and the number of people present. For example, hallways and corridors tend to be less busy during class, so a lower light level could be appropriate.
Outdoor paths only need lighting when there is no sunlight, of course. Playgrounds, sports fields, and routes between faculties on campus should be well-lit for safety. Outdoor lighting needs to be particularly durable and ideally automated to ensure it’s only on when the sun is down. LED-lit pathways are a great way to help people get around at night, or some bollard luminaires that can withstand weather and impacts. If possible, kit your exterior lights out with solar panels to save energy.
Any large room is difficult to light, but lecture halls are especially tricky, due to the need to focus attention towards the lecturer while also allowing enough light for students to make notes. Lecture hall lighting needs to facilitate safe movement into and out of the room before, during, and after any presentation or lecture. It also needs to be adjustable in order to accommodate different educational tools, such as powerpoint slides or video.
Direct/indirect LED luminaire lights are popular for auditoriums thanks to their efficiency and that they can hang from the high ceilings in auditoriums. That being said, make sure they don’t hang too low or they will obstruct students’ lines of sight.
Being energy efficient in a sports hall isn’t easy and it can be tempting to have a single, universal lighting setup for all activities. No one wants to risk injuries caused by insufficient light. However, if you can preset some lighting configurations, it’s possible to maximise energy efficiency by altering the lighting depending on the activity. Sports like basketball or volleyball require less light than sports like squash or badminton because the ball is larger and easier to track. Essentially, the smaller the ball, the more light you need for the activity.
Many sports halls are also used for examinations, so make sure the lighting setup you decide on can supply enough light for students to read question papers and write essays.
Minimising the lighting bill in educational facilities means reducing the time lights are on unnecessarily. This is almost impossible to do manually, with the exception of switching all the lights off at the end of the day. Many classrooms, canteens, sports halls, student/teacher lounges and corridors spend hours unoccupied. While some of these places require some light at all times for safety reasons, many of them can reduce their energy consumption through the use of motion sensors to ensure the lights are only on while someone is in the room.
Solar light tube
Solar light tubes work by gathering natural light at roof level and then using reflective tubing to transfer the light to a ceiling, which diffuses it to light the room below. These should be of particular interest to schools, whose operational hours are almost exclusively in daylight. Large buildings with gloomy corridors or rooms away from windows could benefit from natural light filling the area. Natural light is healthier and psychologically beneficial, with studies showing that people exposed to regular sunlight are more optimistic and sleep better.
Solar light tubes, of course, are also a great way to manage your campus lighting with reduced energy. Not only does this reduce the cost of lighting and the campus carbon footprint, but it also raises the value of the property.
Lighting accounts for as much as 15% of an educational facility’s energy bill. Reducing the amount of energy different departments use for lighting will not only save on energy bills but will also reduce the facility’s carbon footprint. At Zenergi, we want to help educational facilities lower costs and use greener energy, and we offer energy solutions that can help to achieve both of these goals. If you’re interested in knowing more about Zenergi services, please don’t hesitate to contact us!