Lighting may account for nearly 50 percent of the school’s total electrical expense. That’s the reason it is important to incorporate highly efficient lighting technology to minimize the expenses. It is important to make an immediate transition to LED lighting from the usual HID lighting. However, due to the rather high cost of LED-based lighting, its introduction has been rather slow. HID lighting in schools is likely in gymnasiums and parking lots. In fact, the power consumed by just one HID lighting fixture is equal to the amount consumed by 5 LED lights. They are currently the most efficient consumer-level lighting available for schools. Regardless of the lighting technology we use, the lighting in the classroom should be adequate, so we can avoid the creation of bad shadow and dark corners. We can typically eliminate them, by the combination of energy-efficient fluorescent lights and sunlight.
There are different configurations we can use, as an example 2×4 or 2×2 fluorescent light fixtures that we lay into the ceiling, preferable along with the available acoustical tiles. A square-shape classroom should have about a couple banks of lighting and switches, so we can control the whole light fixtures. However, we may need at least 3 banks of lighting in a rectangular classroom. Teachers should be able to easily control all banks of lights, so all the switches should be positioned near the teacher’s desk. It should be noted that dimmer areas of the class could cause the “naptime effect” where students could feel slightly drowsier. To further improve efficiency, it is a good idea to install occupancy sensors in classrooms, teacher lounges, restrooms, storage areas, offices or any area in the school that’s usually filled with people. It is also a good idea to provide teacher’s podium with well-lit lighting. The podium or the presentation platform should be elevated, so people will see it more easily. The effect can be enhanced by using banks of lighting with theatrical style lighting, such as floodlights and LED spotlights.
Schools should use the latest generation sensor, especially those that utilize passive infrared technology. By knowing about the occupancy within the room, the light can be adjusted appropriately. We can also use the dual technology sensor in the restroom that keeps the lights on for an extended period of time if there’s no movement, but there’s occupancy in stalls. The dual technology sensor also transmits continuous ultrasonic signal that bounces throughout the room to provide detection for people who are not detected by standard passive infrared technology.
Controls and switches should be easy to use, so teachers and students can use them easily. Good interior design should allow us to maximize the use of sunlight and this should allow us to have most of the light fixtures turned off during the day. However, it doesn’t mean that unwanted heat will accumulate during the summer. Good lighting could provide us with improved educational performance, so it is important for schools to include good lighting whenever possible.