Installation of energy-efficient LEDs now underway

Both interior and exterior lighting will be changed


Photo submitted

Cartons of LED lights are being stored in the Shiel Student Life Center before they are installed throughout the campus.

Erin Emmick, Reporter

The classrooms and hallways along with the campus grounds will be brighter in January thanks to the installation of LED lighting, according to technology coordinator Mrs. Gara Schommer.

LED lights are more energy efficient than traditional bulbs. Schommer said, “(The use of LED lighting) reduces our operating expenses.”

The new LED lights need only half the energy of fluorescent lights. LED lights also need to be changed every five years, rather than more frequently as do fluorescent bulbs. Schommer also said that LEDs last 25,000 hours in comparison to fluorescents, which typically burn out after 8,000 hours.

LEDs have even more benefits than just economic and environmental. LEDs are also easier on the eyes of students and teachers in the hallways and classrooms. “The health benefits are decreased headaches, less eye strain and an increase in focus and memory retention,” said Schommer.

However, LEDs are more costly than regular lights. “The overall initial expense is high. This expense will be recouped after five years. We needed to save up for this project,” said Schommer. So while the new LEDs won’t be cheap to install, since they last more than three times longer than fluorescent lights, they won’t have to be replaced as often.

The only location on campus that will not have LEDs as part of the current project is the theater, as it needs a specific type of illumination for plays and concerts, but eventually the lighting will be updated there as well. “The theater will be changed within five years,” Schommer said.

Schommer also said that there were three different financial rebates that the school has taken advantage of, and 80% of the project has to be finished by the end of this calendar year to be able to make use of the rebates. Planning for this project had begun even before the school went online, and Schommer expects the entire project, excluding the theater, to be completed by the end of January.

So while the days get darker in these winter months, the hallways of school will be brighter in the calendar coming year. “The lights may seem brighter to everyone once you come back to school. Your brain will adjust to this and within a week or two, no one will notice the difference anymore.”