Chances are, lighting is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what children need to learn.
But without proper lighting, struggling to see the chalkboard means you can’t focus on learning.
The state norms and standards of the Republic of Kazakhstan state that the lighting norm for a school study area (the area around a student’s desk) is 300 lux and 500 lux at the blackboard. (Lux is a unit of light intensity indicating the amount of light present in a given area).
In February 2013, team members of the joint UNDP/Global Environment Facility (GEF) project, Promotion of Energy-Efficient Lighting in Kazakhstan, investigated the lighting levels at several schools in rural regions of Kazakhstan.
The results of these checks were mostly discouraging, with many schools found to be in need of updated lighting systems.
Poor lighting can result in eyesight problems in many ways. Not only does trying to see the chalkboard in the dark strain the eyes, but other factors such as the ripple ratio (a variation in the electrical current, which results in flickering), the colour and temperature of the light, and the presence of a buzzing noise all cause strain and can lead to eyesight problems.
The project team set to work, designing modernized lighting systems for several classrooms that would both meet the country’s lighting standards and be energy efficient.
Energy-efficient LED luminaires (light fixtures) were purchased from lighting manufacturers who had won the bidding set by the project and whose products met the needs of the schools. New luminaires were successfully installed in schools in several rural areas of Kazakhstan this past October.
The clear and balanced lighting now present in these classrooms is allowing students to focus on learning instead of just struggling to see.
We hope this pilot project will provide an incentive for local authorities to implement cost-effective and energy-efficient lighting modernization projects in other schools across the country.
Question: Did you have a successful experience that actually inspired local authorities to replicate similar projects? What is the main trigger to get authorities involved?