New school construction has made dramatic progress in reducing energy costs of lighting. The latest technology for daylight harvesting and architectural design pays back not only in cost avoidance but in student achievement as well. That is good news if your child attends a new school but the majority of schools are old, often with inefficient lighting, and in need of a lighting update. Service Lamp understands the problem and the technical solution to keep children safe and productive.
School Lighting Problems
The U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics reports the average age of school buildings as 42 years. School construction boomed in the 50s and 60s when electricity was cheap and plentiful. Today these schools remain in service with lighting systems in drastic need of updating and replacing. Lighting problems are found in every area of the campus.
Because of the conditions when schools were built classrooms not only have old lighting but are often over lit. Delamping, removing bulbs from a fixture, can lead to savings but replacing outdated fixtures with today's technology can reduce lighting cost by half and get a potential danger out of our classrooms.
PCB Danger in Schools
School lighting problems result in excessive operating and maintenance cost, poorly illuminated classrooms, and potentially hazardous environments for students. More than half of the classrooms in use today were built with fluorescent fixtures containing PCB. The Environmental Protection Agency has published guides for administrators and maintenance personal on the potential hazards of PCB in schools.
The potential hazard is posed by ballasts containing PCB. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a complete lighting retrofit — removal and replacement of all potentially PCB-containing fluorescent light fixtures, for all schools with old, T12 fluorescent lighting. A complete lighting retrofit removes the hazard posed by PCB in fluorescent light fixtures, provides better quality light, and more energy efficient lighting.
Service Lamp agrees that all fixtures containing PCB should be removed from classrooms and other areas where students are present. We can design a retrofit program that will meet that goal while at the same time reducing operating and maintenance cost.
In addition to ridding classrooms of potential hazards, a lighting retrofit from T-12 lighting to more efficient T-8 lighting with electronic ballasts means savings of 20 to 30% on the lighting bill. Long life T8 fluorescent lamps reduce maintenance costs because they are changed less frequently. Modern T8 fluorescent tubes with electronic ballasts produce better quality light for a better learning environment for students.
Even little changes in lighting can mean a lot of savings. If 25-watt, incandescent exit signs common to old buildings were replaced with ENERGY STAR® light-emitting diode (LED) exit signs using only 5 watts the savings per sign would be $80.00 per year at $0.10 per kWh. LED exit signs can last 25 years without lamp replacement and that means improved safety and lower maintenance cost.
The Department of Energy has published Guide to Operating and Maintaining EnergySmart Schools to provide a good overview of O&M concerns related to energy efficiency. The document notes, for example, that annual energy costs can reach $250 per student. That represents funds funds that can’t go to teachers, supplies, building repairs, or other programs to enhance education.
Classroom Lighting Controls
Lighting controls play an important role in new building lighting. Controls harvest daylight by dimming electric lighting when possible. Dimming also provides an appropriate light level for the use of audio-visual equipment or quiet time for the younger set. Even the simplest control, an on-off switch, can save 8% to 20% per year in lighting cost. The benefits of effective lighting in our school are enormous and include:
Lower Utility Bills
Lower Maintenance Cost
This page is still under development. For additional information call Service Lamp, 800-222-LAMP.