When the LR24 luminaires were brought in for load testing, staff members also put them to a durability test, actually stepping on them to gauge their toughness. They passed that test.
The administration also likes that the LR24 fixtures have a sensor that adjusts the lights so all fixtures provide the same color and light output. “The Cree LR24 troffers provide consistent, even lighting,” says Harold Beumel, the district’s Director of Facilities and Planning, “which contributes to a better learning environment.”
“And since the lights are designed for 50,000 hours of life,” Beumel says, “Monroe should see ongoing operational savings due to decreased energy consumption and decreased maintenance compared to linear fluorescents.”
The state of Washington has an energy code on watts per square foot that its schools must adhere to. When using fluorescents, Monroe Elementary would have been just above where it was required to be in order to meet health code light levels; with the Cree LEDs, the school made the grade. In fact, they were able to install more lighting and still be within the energy requirement. And light levels are now double what’s required by the health codes.
“There was no way to make that happen without these LEDs,” Beumel says.
LED lighting also provides an improved color rendering index over fluorescent, which enhances colors in the classroom. Studies have shown that color in teaching materials results in better student performance and improved information retention.
According to Beumel, the district continues to embrace energy-efficient LED lighting, with an all-LED school having opened this year. View Ridge Elementary School installed Cree CR24™ troffers, which provide higher-quality light, longer life and greater energy savings than comparable fluorescent options.
Beumel says that going LED was about providing a better learning environment — the energy and maintenance savings were a bonus. “We came to see this as an opportunity to look at lifecycle costs,” he says, “and the fact that we have a fixture that can last up to 15 years with no ballasts and no lamps to change.”
In addition to the installation at View Ridge Elementary, the administration has put CR24 troffers in its district conference room. The troffers use a tenth of the energy while offering a more than 50 percent increase in light. “We decided to step up and take the lead,” Beumel says of the move to LED, “and we’re certainly glad we did.”