Brighter days: State-funded lighting upgrades underway at BHS


BURRILLVILLE – The classrooms and hallways at Burrillville High School will look a little brighter this fall thanks, in part, to funding from a state initiative providing LED lighting to districts across Rhode Island.

Supt. Michael Sollitto noted that the Burrillville district purchased some LED lights for the East Avenue school, and a grant through the Public School Lighting Accelerator Program has funded an additional purchase, along with sensors and installation.

The funding comes through a program by the the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources that aims to light up dozens of schools in the state and in turn, reduce energy consumption. The district was one of many in the state to apply for the state grant.

“These upgrades provide classrooms with adequate lighting with controls that improves the learning experience for both students and teachers while reducing energy costs,” said Gov. Dan McKee in a release on the initiative.

According to state advocates, the effort not only contributes to reduced energy consumption, but also promotes long-term cost savings for schools, and supports the state’s Act on Climate goals. The act establishes mandatory and enforceable, economy-wide GHG reduction targets culminating in net zero by 2050.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that every student and teacher across the state has the opportunity to thrive in an engaging and sustainable educational setting,” said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns.  

The Public School Lighting Accelerator Program, part of OER’s Lead by Example program, provides technical assistance, procurement support, implementation oversight, and financial incentives to public schools to accelerate the transition to LED lighting with controls. The projects aim to reduce public sector carbon footprints, support clean energy jobs, and improve the quality of lighting in classrooms.

According to proponents, the program will increase the comfort of Rhode Island schools and to help communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with the Rhode Island 2021 Act on Climate.

OER’s School Lighting Accelerator program has already replaced aging lights with energy-efficient LEDs at 18 school buildings statewide, and BHS is among 15 more now under construction. Sollitto noted that there was no additional cost to the district.

“The installation has begun and is contracted through Rhode Island Energy with all work projected to be complete prior to the start of next school year,” he said.

More funding is still available and officials from other districts that might want to apply should visit the School Lighting Accelerator Program to learn more.

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  1. Please choose warm white lighting sources. The 5700 K temp lighting hurts eyes and causes significant strain to most humans. Pick a color rendering temperature 4K or less (preferably 3K).

    Please implement dimmers on switches so our educators don’t have to hang tinted curtains below newly installed light fixtures.

    Hopefully occupancy sensors will be fully implemented, with option to turn off.

    Good luck!

  2. Glad burrillville will have a new lights for all of those empty classrooms without teachers next year!

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