Solar in Schools

I’m writing a series of blog posts to document my learning about green schools; work that I have landed in over the last year. Please follow along with my journey and share where you are in the environmental sustainability movement. 

One of the green initiatives in my school district is to be more energy efficient when it comes to light.  We live in southern California and have an abundance of natural daylight, thanks to our year round sun (minus May Gray and June Gloom, of course!). Each of our schools has solar tubes installed throughout classrooms.  What I’ve learned about these is that they allow natural light into the classrooms through protected tubes in the ceiling.  You can often turn off the classroom or auditorium lights completely and still work well with the natural daylight provided.

In addition to the energy savings, there is research to support that daylighting can positively impact students’ mental and physical health.  I know that I feel better when I can see (and feel) natural light while working. Another benefit is the glare that teachers often fight with in typical classrooms.  The unnatural florescent lights that are in most classrooms cause a glare on the screen or white board that teachers often use to project instructional information for students to see. I can’t count the number of classrooms I’ve visited over the years that were dark, with all lights off and the blinds closed to avoid that glare.  Students then sit, huddled over their desks, with hoods on, making it even easier to fall asleep. In my current district, I visit classrooms using the solar tubes that have enough natural light that they don’t need to turn on the classroom lights, thereby limited the nasty glare.

To hear more about this technology from someone much more knowledgeable than me, here is a commercial for the solar tubes we have in our schools.

In addition to the solar tubes in classrooms, all nine of our schools have solar panels installed. When installed in 2016, the hope was to cut the district’s energy consumption by nearly 80% and save over $20 million in future energy costs. In addition to cost savings, we use all of these solar products as educational tools for our students. We want our students to understand the science and engineering behind solar, and how we are harnessing the power of the sun, a renewable energy source, to power our schools.

I’d love to hear if you have solar tubes in your school or your home. Are you, personally or professionally, researching solar options for your home or school?

 Previous post(s) in this green schools series:

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Did you know that I wrote a book?  The Coach ADVenture: Building Powerful Instructional Skills That Impact Learning is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I love interacting with readers via Twitter and my hashtag #CoachADV.

The Coach ADVenture

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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4 Responses to Solar in Schools

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