Daylighting in Schools

Georgina Blach Intermediate School, Los Altos, CA

The Georgina Blach Intermediate School serves 450 students in seventh and eighth grades. In 1999, the Los Altos School District began a renovation project to demolish 10,000 square feet of the original school and expand the remaining 34,000 square foot facility to 71,500 square feet, as well as modernize nine of the existing buildings. The expansion involved construction of three new classroom buildings, a performing arts building, and a gymnasium. The modernization project included the library, multi-purpose building, administration building, and four classroom buildings. By fall of 2002, the Georgina Blach Intermediate School was completed, remodeled, and opened as a high-performance school facility.

School/Daylighting Project Profile

  • Grades: 7-8
  • School type: Suburban
  • Demo size: Whole school (25+ Classrooms)
  • Construction scope: New/substantial retrofit
  • Fenestration: Clerestory and roof monitors, North-facing
  • Blinds (upper): Performated roller shades
  • Blinds (lower): Curtains (on sliding doors)
  • Lighting: Direct-Indirect pendants
  • Photosensor location: On fixture
  • Controls type: Dimming
  • Survey scope: 250+ students, grades 7-8

Daylighting Satisfaction Survey Results


  • Windows and lighting were well-accepted
  • Dimming controls work well and are not noticeable or distracting
  • No major concerns about restricted view
  • Some teachers choose to work without electric lighting


  • Some teachers, administrators and students find the space too dark
  • Others find the space not dark enough for audio/visual
  • Some blinds are inaccessible making adjustments difficult
  • May see premature lamp failure in future due to no lamp seasoning procedures