Assess School Lighting

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Did you know that buildings consume approximately 39% of the energy and 74% of the electricity produced annually in the United States (U.S. Department of Energy)?

Schools spend about $8 billion a year on energy—more than on books and computers combined—but almost a third of that money is lost through wasted energy (U.S Department of Energy). Significant impact can be made in energy reduction by looking at school lighting because a typical school spends a quarter of its electricity usage on lighting!

Get started

  • Perform a lighting audit.
    • Make the case to a school administrator for how your lighting audit can help them reduce energy costs.
    • Reference the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy in K-12 Schools overview for help making the case.
  • Take simple steps to improve classroom lighting levels, like taking student artwork off the windows and hanging it elsewhere or opening blinds to let the sunshine in.
  • Work with the school’s facilities team to swap out old light bulbs for more efficient ones.
  • Donate table lamps and swap with desk lighting for teachers so that they can turn off the overhead lights when class is not in session (and leave a note to remind them to turn them off when they leave).
  • Ask your school administration about policies for hosting classes in other areas of the school or outside.
    • If there are hesitations or restrictions against this, make your case and get others to speak up about the benefits of outdoor learning.

Additional resources

Example projects

Little Flower Catholic School in Richmond Heights, Missouri

“We are continued on our path to evaluate our energy practices and our school's sustainability. We focused on converting all our classrooms to have energy efficient lighting, as well as making behavioral changes throughout the school.”