Kevin Cox takes a healthy approach to lighting school buildings

Kevin Cox takes a healthy approach to lighting school buildings

Sustainable LED lighting in schools offers major health and wellbeing benefits, to say nothing of an improved financial bottom line. Kevin Cox, managing director of Energys Group, explains how the concept should be put to work, financed and what you need to know

When it comes to healthier, happier children one thing’s paramount; they learn more and enjoy school better when lighting contributes, not detracts. When you stop and think, it’s quite simple. None of us like working, children and teachers included, in dark, dingy or poorly-lit circumstances.

Precisely the improvements needed to catalyse happiness, energy and learning

2015 research from Salford University showed that differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms, such as air quality, colour and light, can together increase the learning progress of primary school pupils by as much as 16% in a single year. This means that putting healthy light at the top of the agenda should be a priority but, in the modern battle for cash, such important changes can lose out.

Shining examples of best practice

Seeking kinder, more beneficial light, Hackney Community College has undergone an extensive LED lighting upgrade across its estate. The project forms part of a major energy efficiency upgrade and it’s estimated that the college is saving £95K a year.

The new lighting is set to deliver £7,000 annual savings with return on investment (ROI) in just 4 years

The conversion included the retrofit of 335 fluorescent tubes to LED in the sports hall. This resulted in a dramatic improvement in overall quality and a pleasant daylight colour – precisely the improvements needed to catalyse happiness, energy and learning.

Located in Tower Hamlets, Harry Gosling Primary School is another case in point, having recently instigated an LED upgrade at its Edwardian site – the original building dates back to 1910. The new lighting is set to deliver £7,000 annual savings with return on investment (ROI) in just 4 years.

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These examples show what can be achieved when sustainability, wellbeing and health are included within a procurement drive on lighting but, for many schools, managing the finances remains a major obstacle to moving projects forward.

Financing healthy light effectively

Thankfully, schemes exist which are ideally placed to enable the transition to healthy, environmentally friendly light. For a start, Salix provides 100% interest-free capital to help educational establishments fund energy saving upgrades; the loan is calculated to be repaid using the energy savings made.

With the right financing choice, not only can light and wellbeing become healthy partners, the school’s bank balance can play along too

Alternatively, Utility Rentals is offering an operational lease on energy efficiency upgrades such as healthy LED lighting. There’s no application process; any school is eligible, and the repayments are covered using the energy costs saved so schools are cash-positive from day one.

To be plain, this means there is no requirement for any upfront capital investment. Repayments can even be deferred until 12 months after the work has been completed and all the energy-saving technology is fully maintained for the duration of the lease, so there are no additional costs.

An enlightened learning environment

In conclusion, there are very few improvements to a school’s buildings that add up to making children and staff happier as well as saving energy costs and adding to productivity. Modern, health-conscious LED lighting is among such rare, vastly useful enablers.

Of course, there may be an upfront cost but, with the right financing choice, not only can light and wellbeing become healthy partners, the school’s bank balance can play along too.