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RIBA report shows winning role for efficiency in schools

Sustainable lighting aids learning, saves cash and reduces carbon footprints. Recent research evidences why schools should switch with Energys sustainable technologies.

New evidence has revealed the vital impacts of eco lighting and sustainable design for schools.

The report says sustainable lighting, along with the right temperature and the best air quality, influenced by using the best technology, all help pupils and teachers excel. More sustainable technologies are key to updating the UK’s schools estate and saving taxpayers’ money; a key element of government policy.

The RIBA research team found that if school buildings performed well on light, fresh air and space, they had a significant and positive impact on staff and pupil productivity and wellbeing. But as crucially, the right lighting systems also contribute financially too.

The cash incentive behind efficiency in schools

The report says that between 2015 and 2018, the Government will spend £4.2bn towards essential school maintenance. It says much of this spend could have been avoided.

The data shows that over the same period, £450m will be spent on heating, cooling and lighting schools, which again could have been prevented if better design, maintenance and control systems were implemented in the school buildings at the onset.

Worryingly, the report puts the complete cost required to bring the UK schools estate up to a sufficient standard at £8.5bn. Combined with around £12bn needed to deliver enough additional school places this decade, the scale of getting schools fit for purpose is unprecedented.

Against this background, installing the right energy efficient lighting early on, to contribute environmentally and financially, is utterly essential.

Where has the money been going?

In 2013/14 the UK spent approximately £422m on energy in schools in England, says the report. From the case studies, there were some consistent findings that 40% to 60% of schools’ energy costs were incurred when they were closed; overnight, weekends and in school holiday periods.

Such wastage points to the archaic overall condition of energy efficiency in schools. In today’s world, where efficient systems with fast payback are available, this degree of climate harming energy waste is shocking.

Add to this; a majority of teachers think the right school building design is also important to their general health and well being, with good lighting (92%), ventilation (91%), and spacious learning areas (83%) rated by far the most important features.

Across both health and carbon, energy efficient lighting and boiler efficiency will impact significantly, improving everyday school life and drastically reducing energy waste and its unnecessary cash burden.

Hundreds of schools and colleges have made the switch to lower carbon lighting including Hackney Community College, which converted 4,900 lamps to LED. As well as predicted energy savings of £70,000 a year, the upgrade has resulted in a dramatic improvement in overall light quality and a pleasant daylight colour, with minimal glare – a crucial consideration for student wellbeing.

“The UK’s education estate drastically needs improvement,” explains Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys Group.

“Lighting and other efficiencies prepare our children for the future more sustainably and more effectively. Money saving measures , that improve schools for the better should be a no brainer.”

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