Research has shown that students benefit tremendously in daylit environments. A study by Heschong Mahone Group for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. tested 21,000 in three states and found those in classrooms with the most daylighting progressed 20 percent faster on math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests in one year than those with the least. A California Energy Commission study found a 21 percent improvement in learning between those with least daylighting to those with the most.
To support increased daylight in education, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of tubular daylighting devices (TDDs), Solatube International, is continuing its highly successful program to donate Solatube Daylighting Systems to qualifying schools and colleges in 2014. The program is for PreK-12 school districts and higher education institutions interested in adding daylight to their facilities, up to 10 units per organization. Nineteen of these projects were completed in 2013.
“We have been daylighting classrooms and educational facilities for over 20 years,” said Solatube International President Robert Westfall. “Giving students and faculty access to natural light is nothing short of transformative. Absenteeism and lighting energy costs go down and performance and well-being go up. We created ‘Operation Textbook’ to get more daylight to more students and teachers.”
One campus that is already benefiting from Solatube’s 2014 “Operation Textbook” program is Kirkwood Community College. Students and faculty working on the SHEP (Sustainable Housing for Education Project) located at the Iowa Sustainable Village on the Kirkwood Community College campus are demonstrating the latest in sustainable design and construction. The design for the SHEP has been developed by students within the Architecture, Interior Design and Construction Management departments. These same students along with many others at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, campus have spent the fall and spring semesters building the SHEP with a completion date of May 2014.
“Once the donated Solatube Daylighting Systems arrived, students were amazed by the size of the units and the amount of natural light they give within the dark areas of the classroom,” said Joe Greathouse, associate professor of construction management at Kirkwood Community College. “The Solatube products fit very well with all of the sustainable and highly innovative products within the SHEP.”
Designers or facility managers interested in Solatube International’s “Operation Textbook” program for donated Solatube units can email for more information.