When the Government of Kazakhstan approved the “Energy saving 2020” Program and the 2013 Law “On Energy Saving and increase of Energy Efficiency”, an ambitious goal was set for the country: to decrease the 2008 GDP energy intensity level at least 40% by 2020. Along with this goal, numerous regulatory acts were passed to introduce energy consumption standards and energy efficiency requirements for buildings.
As part of its renovation, the M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University Library invested 3,654 euros in the modernisation of its lighting system to comply with the new standards and requirements, to improve energy efficiency and to enhance its users’ learning experiences.
Since lighting profoundly affects numerous aspects of human functioning such as vision, circadian rhythm, mood, and cognition, its implicit effects on learning and academic achievement were incorporated as a part of lighting improvement planning.
Kospanova Altynai, one of the KAZGUU University’s alumni, shared her approval of the lighting changes: “When I started my studies in 2014, in the afternoon there was not enough daylight since the library only had one wall with windows and the library did not turn on the lights. Besides, there were no lamps on the tables and they were not equipped with sockets for computers. The general light in the library was unpleasant and oppressive. But everything changed when I began my masters. I found a completely different, improved library with stunning light. In the afternoon and the evening a very easy, soft light is turned on. Each training area is illuminated in its own way, with different lamps. I always turn on these lamps - they are my favourite - and thanks to them a good, cosy mood is created for reading and writing. I believe that the library and the new lighting and gives inspiration has helped me to achieve excellence in my study results.”
Along with improved user satisfaction, other benefits of the modernisation were the improved energy efficiency of the library and a decrease in electricity spending by almost 50%.
Before the project, the library surveyed and led focus group discussions with 140 students and teachers to better understand the specific lighting needs of its academic community. The study revealed user dissatisfaction with lighting quality in the library’s individual and group work spaces.
During the 2015 reconstruction, three levels of lighting were introduced: general, longitudinal, and local. Layered lighting with varied intensity, distribution and control addressed the needs of multiple library spaces: quiet reading and studying, gathering and team collaboration, stack exploration, and computers and other technology use. A different lighting solution was provided for each need: soft, glare-free, ambient illumination, higher intensity task lighting, and symmetric distribution to highlight the library’s collection. Integrated, user-friendly controls were installed in each area to enhance the multi-functional nature of spaces.
A post-survey held after the redesign showed a significant improvement in student and staff satisfaction with the library lighting. Eight of ten library users (83%) said they were satisfied with the new lighting and that it helped them to concentrate, enhancing creativity and inspiration while studying.