Lighting within the education sector is, and has always been, about striking the right balance between artificial and natural light. Achieving this balance has a number of benefits – both physically and psychologically.
In fact, The Heschong Mahone Group conducted a study that found students receiving high levels of natural light achieved test scores up to 18% higher than students receiving minimal natural light. Modern interior lighting for this sector must take great consideration for enhancing visual communication, eliminating eye strain, and avoiding excessive internal illuminance.
The best education-based lighting solutions work alongside natural light, not against it. Whether it’s a classroom, lecture room, laboratory or workshop, this approach brings about the best environment for concentration and development. Across nurseries, schools and higher education establishments, attention levels have always been significantly linked to light. There have been many research projects in the education sector that have linked daylighting with increased achievement rates, health, and attendance. Many classrooms are predominantly lit using large vertical windows at the back of the room. By applying natural daylighting systems, a classroom can be supplied with 300% more daylight, while also reducing the lighting energy cost significantly.
LED lighting can also help students overcome early-morning tiredness and help boost their concentration levels and wellbeing throughout the day. Education spaces frequently have students looking at visual display units for long periods. As a result, luminaires that cast a wide-reaching light and feature adjustable outputs are optimal for projects in which learning is the focus.
Daylight dimming via PIR sensors can be a key aspect within lighting for education since these installations can switch lights on when an area is occupied and can maintain a chosen lux level by dimming the lights in response to changes in the ambient daylight level. The luminaires will then turn off if that room or area is not in use – perfect for school corridors during lesson time and/or lunch halls either side of meal breaks.
Lighting for wellbeing in education environments
The continuous wellbeing of students is vitally important – particularly younger pupils. Their development is crucial and educational facilities need to be able to aid this as much as possible. Lighting should not have a negative effect on students and should make those using the space feel comfortable and function to enhance wellbeing – this in turn can have significant benefits in terms of focus and productivity. The more comfortable a person feels when studying, the better they will perform, particularly over long periods. This is also the case for the teachers.
It is so important to ensure that the lighting in a school, college, or university is not distracting. Light that is too intense, or directed into people’s vision, can cause eyestrain which then leads to headaches and migraines. Headaches and migraines can in turn cause illness and sick days – with 2,133,253 days taken as sickness absence by teachers in 2018/19 in total, many could be attributed to such symptoms. Luminaires that deliver light with as minimal glare as possible can solve many problems within these environments
Lighting design for education
Amongst the key deliverables of a lighting design within any learning environment are:
- Achieving adequate light levels, including the lighting of teachers’ and pupils’ faces for good visual communication
- Giving priority to daylight in all teaching spaces, circulation, staff offices and social areas
- Providing adequate views to the outside or into the distance to ensure visual comfort and help avoid eye strain
- Providing lighting controls that are easy to use
- Providing means to control daylight and sunlight, to avoid glare, excessive internal illuminance and summertime overheating
- Providing emergency lighting in all areas required by law
The basis of a successful lighting design is to consult the client and, potentially, end user as early as possible, to understand how the educational space will be used, and how best to provide a lit environment that meets the needs of those in the space. The technical decisions that deliver an appropriately integrated system, that meets the specifications and standards, and accounts for advice from guides such as LG5 and TM66, can follow if the desired outcome has been properly defined and interpreted by employing the expertise of a lighting professional.
Tamlite – lighting for education
Tamlite manufactures lighting solutions that fit all education needs – fine-tuned to create the perfect learning environment. The range includes surface, suspended, and recessed modules, downlights, wall lights and more – all designed to provide the ideal setting for students and teachers to thrive in. Explore the company’s education offering here.