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How to make non-disruptive lighting upgrades in schools

Upgrading school lighting to energy efficient alternatives can offer significant financial savings. But the challenge is avoiding installation disruption to daily school life.

The benefits of LEDs for schools in terms of profit, health and a more productive and creative classroom are plain.

Nonetheless, the truth remains that to make the most of these advantages, the technology must be safely installed, tested, and commissioned.

In the busy school environment, when day to day pressures are myriad, competing drivers for time exist and finding the hours to get lighting in place can be challenging.

Thankfully, a little out of the box thinking can solve the issues, setting schools nationwide on a path to improved energy-efficiency through lighting improvements.

Lighting up schools; tactics for a hassle free LED install

Tip 1) Find a supplier that will work out of hours and during school holidays, offering flexibility and patience with the install process. Bedfordshire East Multi Academy Trust (BEMAT) is an Energys education client that underwent a major lighting upgrade. “When the Energys team got to work on the site, we were impressed by how much effort was made to avoid disruption to the daily life of the school,” says BEMAT Head of Capital and Projects Ian Kite.

Tip 2) Pick a supplier with education sector experience, who has already undergone Disclosure and Barring Service checks. DBS readiness means teams can get to work straightaway, avoiding burdensome procedural delays.

Tip 3) Lighting upgrades require access to classrooms and working areas; this can impact on scheduling and ease of install. But specialist retrofit lighting technologies can be installed in a fraction of the time that it takes for from-scratch upgrades.

Retrofit lighting solutions allow both T5 and LED lighting to be slotted into existing light fittings, allowing for fast installation and far less disruption. Energy savings of up to 90% can be achieved through this low-hassle approach.

Further energy saving measures

In addition, you can choose further energy saving options that  don’t require access to classrooms and learning areas. For example, look at boiler controls and plant room insulation, which offer 1 to 2 years rapid payback.

Hundreds of schools have pursued this route, including one in Plymouth which has had particular success by opting for boiler controls. St Edward’s Church of England Primary School installed boiler optimisers from Energys and achieved proven energy savings of 18%, all while bypassing concerns about disruption.

“It’s impossible to close classrooms during lengthy installations of equipment,” explains Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys Group.

“Retrofit technologies tend to be more suited to the education sector. Our technologies have already been successfully deployed in large numbers of schools maintained by local authorities including East and West Sussex, Plymouth City, Sheffield, Salford, West Lothian and many more.”

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