Daylighting Increases Learning 20-26 Percent New Study Shows

Release Date: Saturday, November 27, 1999

Student test scores improved as much as 20 percent in math and 26 percent in reading as a result of maximum exposure to daylight in their classrooms, according to a study presented today to the Alliance to Save Energy's School Energy Efficiency Task Force. Lisa Heschong of the Heschong-Mahone Group explained her study of over 21,000 student records before a groundbreaking meeting of key leaders from major education groups. The study is the latest in a growing body of research linking academic achievement to high performance, energy-efficient schools.

"There is clearly a statistically compelling connection between daylighting and student performance," stated Heschong, whose study was commissioned by the California Energy Commission and Pacific Gas and Electric.

"Smart school buildings mean smart kids,"" summed up David M. Nemtzow, president of the Alliance to Save Energy. "This new study shows that schools that use natural lighting increase the rate of student learning, while cutting utility bills for school districts and taxpayers."

Since 1996, The Alliance's Green Schools program (www.ase.org/greenschools) has worked with public school systems to manage energy use, upgrade the schools, and route savings back to the teachers. "Green Schools" teams saved an average of $8,500 on no-cost behavior and operations changes — half of which was returned to the classrooms where students learn about energy efficiency. Building efficiency improvements saved even more money.

"The space in which learning takes place is key to the quality of the learning experience and the level of actual achievement. If our goal is high performance learners, let us give our children the best possible chance," said Geoffrey H. Hunt of the lighting company OSRAM SYLVANIA and co-chairman of the Alliance's Task Force.

Groups participating in the meeting include the American Association of School Administrators, the International Facilities Management Association, the Council of Great City Schools, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, The American Institute of Architects, the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and many of the Alliance to Save Energy's Associate members.