Close to 200 energy saving light bulbs have been installed in the Seventh-day Adventist School (SDA) at Sea Cow’s Bay as part of the SMART School Project being piloted in the three schools in that area.
The installation of the Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs serves to provide higher quality lighting in classrooms while reducing energy consumption costs. The initiative is a component of the SMART Schools Pilot Project spearheaded by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) in collaboration with the Ministry and Department of Education and Culture.
The SMART School Project seeks to create safer, healthier and greener learning environments and offer better educational experiences for school administrators, teachers and students while also fostering a culture that promotes environmental sensitivity, energy and water efficiency and conservation and healthy students and schools.
DDM’s Deputy Director, Ms. Evangeline Inniss explained that the SDA school was chosen for this component of the project because the energy data acquired through the audits completed at all three schools revealed that this school had the most potential for significant savings to be obtained through the installation of LED lighting. In addition, the light fixtures at the SDA School were in good condition and the project funds were maximised by the purchasing of the bulbs.
Ms. Inniss said, “This type of lighting provides an improved colour rendering when compared to the fluorescent type bulbs that are common in most schools in the BVI. Studies have shown that this enhanced color created by the LED bulbs results in better student performance and improved information retention.”
From the start of the Project in July 2014, SDA School Principal, Mr. Wade Tobin said he was excited about the prospect of being able to obtain savings in the school’s operating expenditure.
“The LED lights, which are noticeably whiter and softer on the eyes, are providing a more aesthetically pleasing light quality that teachers and administrators alike very much appreciate.” Mr. Tobin said, adding “In addition to improving the learning environment, we also want to see reduced costs in our energy consumption because the more money we save on things like energy consumption, the more money that we can invest into programmes and tools that will further enhance our students’ education.”
In the meantime, the DDM plans to maintain ongoing collaboration with the schools involved in the SMART School Pilot. Ms Inniss said the DDM intends to work with the institution to take the Green Pledge, develop energy conservation procedures and ensure their use as well as monitor the energy saving data with the intention of providing an illustration of cost savings over time. She said the DDM is also keen on hearing from the children to determine the impact that the new lighting is having in the classrooms.
The SMART model was conceptualised during the development of the Virgin Islands Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy and Programming Framework which was approved by Cabinet in early 2014. The strategy seeks to utilise Sustained, Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilient Techniques (SMART) in all 14 sectors operating in the Territory.
The SMART School Pilot Project has several components including the production of a video, a health fair, development and testing of school disaster management plans, community workshops, creation of a community profile of Sea Cow’s Bay and training. Funding for the project is being provided by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), as part of the Mainstreaming Climate Change in Disaster Management in the Caribbean Phase II (CCDM-II) Project.