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Benedictine Military School

 Savannah, GA  Indoor Lighting

Benedictine Military School Uses Simple Math to Choose a Cree® LED Lighting Upgrade for Their Classrooms of the Future.


Benedictine Military School (BC), a Catholic college preparatory school for young men in Savannah, Georgia, opened its doors in 1902. The current campus opened in 1963 and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Although the school has withstood well the daily grind of 400 boys, the school began to look at modernizing their classrooms with the goal of creating classrooms of the future. High on the list was an upgrade to LED lighting.

In preparation for the 50th anniversary celebration, archival photos revealed the original lighting fixtures still hanging in classrooms today! The 25 classrooms had fluorescent fixtures with about 30 bulbs in each room.  A simple math exercise revealed that with a very small facility management staff, keeping the 750 bulbs lit was a constant and costly battle.


As you would expect, education is the top priority at Benedictine Military School, and good lighting is instrumental to providing an optimal classroom learning environment.  So while maintenance and energy savings were important, the quality of light was also a key consideration.

Benedictine Military School administrators investigated LED lighting and found that, from architects to contractors, everyone was overwhelmingly in support of the technology, in terms of the quality of the light as well as the energy and maintenance savings it offers.  According to Greg Markiton, Director of Advancement and BC alum, “Knowing that even though they may cost a little more up front, LED lights would save a tremendous amount of energy on the back end.” Both alumni and individuals involved in the project pointed to one company who offered an exceptional LED lighting solution:  Cree.

Markiton visited Cree’s website to review the education application case studies and videos.  He also studied before and after photographs and shared those with the headmaster and business manager. In terms of light quality, “It was stunning,” said Markiton.

As a result, Benedictine Military School selected Cree’s ZR Series LED troffer to light several classrooms and a hallway as part of their initial facility upgrade.  The ZR Series provides a pleasing aesthetic look while balancing energy savings, visual comfort and payback. With superior light quality, the Cree® LED lighting provides exceptional clarity and consistent full-spectrum lighting without the flicker to help minimize fatigue and encourage alertness in the classrooms.


The daily operation of a 90-acre campus also played heavily in the decision to switch to Cree® LED lighting in terms of maintenance savings.  According to Markiton, “When we explained to our maintenance staff they would no longer be changing out lights weekly, they were thrilled! They immediately recognized the time savings and efficiencies gained by choosing Cree LED fixtures with their 10-year warranty.”

In addition to maintenance and time savings, Barbara Evans, Director of Operations and Finance, points to the energy savings: “We received a nice rebate back from our power company. And we only had to put in half the number of fixtures that we originally had in the ceilings,” offering a significant opportunity for future energy savings as well.

But the biggest selling point for Benedictine Military School is the improved quality of light in the classrooms. 

As Markiton explains, “It was not uncommon for me to walk down the hallway and see a dark spot where a fluorescent bulb was burnt out. Over the years, different kinds of fluorescent light bulbs were used and emitted a slightly different color than the rooms’ other bulbs. As far as a professional environment goes, those fluorescent bulbs can look rather sloppy.”

Prior to the installation of Cree® LED lights, the flickering and hum of the fluorescent fixtures were an issue for students and teachers.  According to Markiton, “I have sat in those classrooms and remember the flicker.  Add the hum of the lights, and it’s very distracting.”  

An opinion seconded by faculty member Lee Brantley: “The old lights made it more difficult for the boys to concentrate and stay on task.  There was a haze in the room and the boys were always complaining about the noise the lights made – it even gave some of them headaches.  The Cree lights are awesome.  The room is so much brighter.  I am very happy with the new lights!”

Markiton sums it up, “At Benedictine Military School, our monks are very welcoming, very hospitable. Hosting something, helping somebody do something. The lights are always on.”

Thanks to Cree, those lights will cast a welcoming glow for many years to come.

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