The Commonwealth Government’s National Solar Schools Program (NSSP) enables schools to improve energy efficiency and decrease energy costs, by allocating their grant to increase natural light in classrooms. This can help schools to improve academic performance by up to 18% by increasing student concentration and decreasing absenteeism at the same time.

The Solatube Tubular Daylighting Device (TDD) from Solatube Australia is an innovative natural lighting system that produces four times more light than similar products. The Solatube daylighting device can reduce reliance on artificial lighting and in turn decrease energy costs. The compact, modular design of the device, combined with dimming capabilities and lighting controls make it an ideal choice for learning environments.

A single Solatube daylighting device can be installed in approximately an hour, while its adjustable tubing and angle adaptors allow it to be installed around any obstructions while retaining optimal lighting performance.

By using effective daylighting strategies, in combination with lighting controls and dimmer systems, schools can reduce or eliminate the need for artificial lighting during the school day. The Solatube daylighting system is controllable with dimming capabilities that allow the level of natural lighting to be adjusted on demand from 100% down to 2% to accommodate activities such as watching movies or presentations.

With most schools spending more money on energy than books and supplies, effective daylighting can significantly lower school building energy consumption, allowing the corresponding financial savings to be invested into improving educational facilities.

Almost 1400 schools across the country have already signed up for the program, which allows primary and secondary schools around Australia to apply for grants to install solar and other renewable power systems, including solar hot water systems, energy efficient lighting, insulation and rainwater tanks.

The program replaces the green vouchers for schools program and provides schools with greater freedom to choose from a wider range of energy efficient technologies.

As a growing amount of research from around the globe points out the benefits of natural light on human health and well-being, using the NSSP to fund installation of the Solatube daylighting system can also provide many benefits beyond improved energy efficiency and decreased energy costs. Studies undertaken in classrooms with increased natural light report benefits such as: reduced poor behaviour and health, faster test completion times, improved test scores and fewer absentee days.

Artificial light is not a substitute for natural light and can actually impact negatively on well-being. Research indicates that electric generated light can result in a low level type of sensory deprivation that leads to depression, irritability and impairment of organised thinking, while a lack of natural light can have a “jet lag” effect on students.