At Greenbuild Expo 2016 one of the top attractions at our booth was the Sunoptics® daylighting application for the classroom.
Daylighting, or daylight harvesting, uses skylights combined with LED luminaires and lighting controls to optimally combine natural and artificial light – providing abundant natural light and reducing energy loads. Daylighting has been shown to reduce electric lighting costs by 80 percent in educational facilities.
Studies also show that students and school staff have lower rates of absenteeism, improved productivity and overall well-being when the levels of fluorescent lighting are reduced. A study initiated by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PGE) showed that students with the most daylighting in their classrooms progressed 20 percent faster on math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests in one year than those with the least.
Wilson Elementary School, in the greater Pittsburgh area, is a strong example of how schools are beginning to see the (day) light.
Based on a survey by the ENEREF Institute, 71 percent of teachers at Wilson wanted natural interior daylight in their classrooms. So we worked with the school to install prismatic skylights and networked nLight® Controls in classrooms, the library and open study spaces. The system also allowed teachers to easily dim the lights during the noontime sun or tune them up for a late afternoon pop quiz. Even in the middle of the day, the lights are at 50 percent, with plenty of outside light in the classrooms, according to the school’s principal.
Harvesting natural daylight inside the school brightens both the day and the bottom line.