Upgrading light fixtures to LEDs brightens learning environment

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It’s a bright idea whose time has come: retrofit outdated and dim T12 fluorescent light fixtures with more effective, longer-lasting and energy-efficient LED lamps.

Dallas ISD’s W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy is undergoing the transformation now, with the project starting April 2 and expected to be complete by May 26. The District’s Electrical Maintenance team is performing the work after school and on weekends, which saves money over using outside contractors and prevents interruptions to instructional time.

At Greiner, there are 3,900 lamps that will be replaced, at a total cost of $79,000. That includes classrooms, the cafeteria, locker rooms, staff offices, hallways and the main entrance, as well as lighted display cases throughout the school.

The original facility was built in 1990, with a new wing completed last year. An older building adjacent to Greiner owned by the YMCA is also used for classroom space, and lights will be upgraded there as well.

LED lamps, which run at a lower wattage and cost less to operate, are expected to provide an annual energy savings at Greiner of $22,000 annually and pay for the project in about 3.5 years. Further, the LED lamps also require less maintenance because they are are rated to last more than three times as long as than the existing fluorescent lamps, 50,000 hours vs. 15,000 hours. LED lamps are also more durable than and produce less heat than fluorescent lamps.

Students, in one of the LED-upgraded art classrooms, said the colors they were working with seemed more vibrant. Even the paper they were using appeared whiter. Principal Yvonne Rojas said students noticed the sharper, crisper light immediately after first seeing the upgraded lights, particularly in the cafeteria.

Other schools that are slated to receive upgraded lighting in the near future are Justin F. Kimball High School, T.W. Browne Middle School and Umphrey Lee Elementary School.

The LED project is being implemented with the collaboration of Dallas ISD’s Electrical Department and Energy and Sustainability Department. They are charged with implementing cost effective and energy efficient lighting systems that enhance the learning environment.

Learn more about LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, which are becoming more common in homes as well.

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