February 1, 2019

Daylight in a Penn Elementary School

“It really brought the daylight and the outside into the middle of the facility. It brought the school to life.” 

Eneref Institute examines the benefits of lighting controls with natural interior daylight in classrooms

Wilson Elementary is a public school in the West Allegheny School District near Pittsburgh, PA. When engineering firm Thomas & Williamson distributed a survey to school staff, they came back with notable findings.  Seventy-one percent of the teachers expressed keen interest in having natural interior daylight in their classrooms. Partly as a result of the survey, large domed skylights were installed on the roof of the school to illuminate classrooms and communal spaces.

“When the renovation was complete, it was unbelievable,” said Ken Fibbi, Director of Buildings and Grounds for the West Allegheny School District. “Students were astonished by the results.”

LED lighting was installed throughout the building in addition to the skylights. The LEDs are controlled by automatic dimming photocontrol sensors connected to the skylights, reducing electrical load.

“We don’t have to have the lights on at all some days, and the light in my room is enough for me to teach,” exclaimed Terisa Sharlow, the Wilson music teacher.

The use of natural interior daylight, or “daylighting,” increases student performance, a key finding in the 1999 Heschong Mahone report “Daylighting in Schools: An Investigation into the Relationship Between Daylighting and Human Performance.”

acy15-087_im_wilson-6421-SKY-rt_pt_v1-685x1024

Skylights in Wilson Elementary is a public school in the West Allegheny School District near Pittsburgh, PA. 

Daylight for Schools, Right to Daylight