Are you underestimating the value of light quality at your institution? Lighting can do more than you might think. Studies show that basic physical variables in one’s environment, such as light, affect learning and may even influence a student’s achievements and behavior. As a decision maker, you have a direct impact on the physical well-being of students, staff and visitors – in addition to overseeing operations and ever-tightening budgets. Reevaluating lighting can be a prime way to address all of these responsibilities, ensuring an effective visual environment for students and staff, while creating operational and energy efficiencies that lower the cost of lighting.

Today, high-quality LED lighting can deliver exceptional clarity and consistent full-spectrum illumination, making schools brighter places to learn, teach and work.. But with increasing options and a lengthy to-do list, how do you make the best lighting choice for your educational facility?

Benefits beyond budget

Energy continues to be a top expense for schools. The nation’s educational institutions spent almost $14 billion on energy in 2013, according to an Energy Star report. Lighting accounts for about 40 percent of those energy costs, according to Energy Trust of Oregon, so it offers a significant opportunity for savings. LEDs often pay for themselves within a few years.

These bottom line benefits are attractive, but with advancements in technology, high-performance LED lighting may provide educational facilities with benefits well beyond the bottom line.

Campus security for students and staff is one growing factor for converting to high-performance LED lighting. Whether indoors or outdoors, well-lighted spaces help occupants travel around campus with confidence. A well-designed, high-quality LED lighting solution can provide superior light coverage that minimizes shadows and dark spots and improves visibility and sense of safety. LED lighting also may improve the performance of other safety systems, such as security cameras, by enabling clearer images.

In contrast, inferior lighting technology has created an array of obstacles for educational facilities, ranging from inconsistent color temperatures and flickering of fluorescents to frequent bulb burnouts. Enhancing light quality with high-performance, high color rendering index (CRI) LED technology may translate into better learning environments and enhance sustainability. Lighting also may affect mood, productivity and even decision-making. Two-thirds of the brain is devoted to visual processing, so optimal classroom lighting is imperative. Additionally, because LEDs last longer than previous technologies, students experience far fewer maintenance disruptions.