Download the Maple Glen Elementary Success Story (PDF, 200kb)
When it came time to design and engineer the new Maple Glen School in Westfield, IN the first consideration was to create a proper learning environment for the students and their teachers and the second consideration was to save energy.
According to Maple Glen’s Principal, Joe Montalone, “It’s the combination of these two goals that has become the future of green lighting for schools.” Maple Glen School is part of the Westfield Washington School District and one of the fastest growing districts in Indiana.
In order to accomplish these goals the consulting engineers, Mussett, Nicholas & Associates started by taking a good hard look at the lighting. They looked at buildings and previous projects that had premium light fixture packages, with fixtures that provided great light distribution and quality with no glare. According to Greg Stephens, Director of Engineering at Mussett, Nicholas & Associates, “These buildings had everything we were looking for but they were extremely energy intensive.” Since lighting alone can account for 40 percent of a school’s utility bills these high-end packages were not a good school solution. The design team continued to look for a system that could deliver energy efficiency along with the performance. The system also had to be durable, easy to maintain, operate quietly, and create a healthful learning environment.
With further investigation, the design team discovered that much research has been done on the effects of lighting in the classroom and the research showed that poor lighting caused headaches, eye strain, and fatigue, at a cost of reducing student and teacher productivity.
An important resource for the design team was the research completed by the California Energy Commission. The research has served as a guideline for schools across the nation and has resulted in best practices for classroom illumination. The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), have integrated these best practices into their school classroom standards.
Finelite’s Integrated Classroom Lighting System (ICLS) package was specifically developed to meet these standards providing high-performance lighting that is affordable and energy efficient. The design team selected ICLS for Maple Glen and according to Stephens the energy savings are projected to be about $6,000 per year.
The ICLS package provides teachers with the flexibility to create the appropriate environment for each classroom activity. Teachers can select from several modes depending on their lighting needs. The general mode is all indirect lighting and teachers can easily switch to the A/V Mode, providing minimal downlighting for slide and computer presentations. Separate fixtures also illuminate the whiteboards in the classroom, placing light right where it’s needed to focus attention.
Teachers can manually manipulate the amount of daylight entering their classroom with switches that control the lighting system modes. The two sets of switches in each room – one set by the door to the classroom and the other by the teacher’s desk – control all of the lighting functions in the room and give teachers easy access. Principal Montalone commented that, “Teachers used the A/V Mode most of the time resulting in significant energy savings.”
Finelite’s ICLS is the future of green lighting for schools – saving energy and providing lighting that accommodates all of the student and teacher needs.