Can we learn from American schools when it comes to health & safety?
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I read this morning a blog on the (allegedly) official blog page for the U.S Department of Education. It hit a chord with me and is relevant to educational establishments in the UK.
The point of the article was effectively - spend and save.
It seems that around 26% of electricity used by a typical school is for lighting alone, the total electricity bill amounting to more than is spent on textbooks and computers combined! This I find incredible, not to mention disappointing. After all, our students are in school to learn.
The blog reports that a school in Iowa "improved its energy efficiency through targeted lighting upgrades, completing extensive renovations that transformed the Central Campus building from a 1918 Ford car factory into a modern educational space with energy-efficient lighting".
Advantage was taken of natural light which is, in any situation, preferable and healthier for our students. Not only did the improvements lead to health and safety benefits (it is reported that the risk of exposure to harmful contaminants in the existing lighting may lead to "adverse effects on the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems") savings in the school budget could then be redirected to maintenance of the school buildings.
In times when school budgets are forever under scrutiny, I think perhaps our schools could take a leaf out of this particular book. Speculate to accumulate.
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