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LEDs go to school: They save energy, improve lighting at Nottinghamshire secondary

The lesson above: If students at Ashfield School (pictured) look up, they'll get a practical tutorial in energy efficient lighting, as LEDs now illuminate their classroom. Hopefully the kids will also pay attention to the teacher.

A large secondary school in Nottinghamshire claims to have slashed its energy bill and improved light quality by installing LED panels and downlights.

Ashfield School in Kirby-in-Ashfield decided on LEDs because lighting levels from existing fluorescent and incandescent bulbs were poor.

‘The school is fifty years old and the classrooms had old, inefficient lighting,’ Ashfield School business manager Martin Hough said in a press release from Tamlite, the UK manufacturer that provided the new LEDs. ‘Some of them still had 50 watt bulbs, making the lighting levels inadequate. This was an especially pressing issue because the school remains open in the evenings.’

The project started two to three years ago as part of a £3 million classroom refurbishment, a Tamlite spokesperson said. Lighting represented about 10 percent of the costs, and included retrofits as well as new installations. The school replaced inefficient incandescent downlights and T8 fluorescent tubes with both LEDs and also with T5 fluorescents – at the time, Tamlite did not offer LED retrofits for all of the school’s existing sockets, although it does now.

The lighting upgrade, including 300 LED downlights and 197 LED panels – each with 200 LED chips and measuring 600 x 600 millimetres – have cut energy consumption by 41 percent, yielding nearly £2,700 in annual savings on the school’s electricity bill, Tamlite said.

Although fluorescent and LED are fairly close in energy consumption (both are far superior to incandescents), the new LED lights are equipped with sensor controls that turn lights off when not needed, yielding substantial savings. The incandescent replacements represent significant nergy savings in their own right, as the LEDs are about 80 percent more efficent.

Ashfield also expects to save money on maintenance, as LEDs are meant to last much longer than conventional lamps. The school said it has not yet had to replace an LED lamp; it installed the first batch two years ago.

The 2,600-student school also added two new buildings for physical education and information technology classes, equipping them with LED lighting. It hopes to start another new build soon.

Photo is from Tamlite

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