Daylighting in Schools

Solon High School, Solon, IA

Solon High School is a new school that opened in 2002, with 88,000 sq. ft. It houses a student population of 329 students in grades 9-12. This new construction project features Cool Daylighting principles in all classrooms. Each classroom has two lower view windows and four or five upper clerestory windows. Rooms face either north or south. There are no architectural shading elements, so venetian blinds are used extensively. Electric lighting for all the classrooms is controlled by a single, exterior photosensor mounted on the North side of the building. Electric lighting is step-switched, controlled by an exterior north-facing photosensor.

School/Daylighting Project Profile

  • Grades: 9-12
  • School type: Rural
  • Demo size: Whole school (20 classrooms)
  • Construction scope: New construction
  • Fenestration: Punched window openings, North & South facing
  • Blinds (upper): Venetian blinds
  • Blinds (lower): Venetian blinds
  • Lighting: Pendants, indirect
  • Photosensor location: Outside
  • Controls type: Switching
  • Controls results: Maintaining luminances, wen blinds used
  • Survey scope: 80+ students

Daylighting Satisfaction Survey Results


  • Window tinting not noticeable
  • No major concerns about restricted view
  • Use of blinds does not impact lighting energy savings


  • Insufficient shading on South side, making blinds essential
  • Upper blinds are inaccessible yet are frequently needed and thus are left closed
  • Switching somewhat noticeable at first, but became less so as occupants became more accustomed