You will have many allies in your mission to make your school energy efficient. One of the most important of these is the business manager or estates manager. More than anyone else, they will be aware of how much energy you're using. We might all have different reasons for taking action on our energy use - your eco team might want to reduce your school's planet warming carbon emissions - but for your business manager, the cost of energy will be a major factor. Don't forget this when you're chatting to them.This activity focuses on lighting in your school.
You may want to conduct a lighting audit or monitor light levels prior to this activity.
Getting the lighting in your school buildings right is really important for the wellbeing of pupils and staff - the right level and quality of light improves the alertness and accuracy of those working in it. Not only this though, up to 40% of a building's electricity use is accounted for by lighting so tackling this is important for your energy consumption.
Ask to speak to your school business or estate manager about improving the efficiency of school lighting.
You could discuss:
Upgrading to the most efficient lighting possible. Upgrade existing light bulbs and fluorescent tubes to low energy LED tubes and lights. LED lighting reduces energy use and heat output, eliminates flicker and hum, extends lamp life (by up to 50%) and can allow dimming – all of which can make a classroom more comfortable. Make sure this happens by including it in the school’s purchasing policy, so that each failed light is replaced with an LED equivalent.
Occupancy sensors: By dimming or switching off lighting when there is nobody in a room occupancy sensors can reduce electricity use by 30%. Discuss adding occupancy sensors to toilets and resource rooms that only have occasional use.
Daylight sensors: You can reduce your electricity use by up to 40% by adjusting the artificial lighting according to the amount of natural light in a room using daylight sensors or photocells.
Maintenance plan: By regularly cleaning windows and skylights you can reduce the need for artificial light. Cleaning the fixtures that contain lamps, known as luminaires, will improve their performance.
(Links above take you to our Actions that will give your Business Manager more information and guidance about these activities.)
Your teachers can also play a part in this:
Decluttering around windows: Clear posters and resources from around windows to maximise the amount of natural light getting into classrooms.
For replacing all the lights in a school, some grants and green financing schemes are available.