K-12 schools benefit from new lighting technology
Updated: Jan 4
New LED lighting technology offers many benefits for schools challenged with tight budgets and limited resources. In addition to sizable energy savings, optimal lighting creates a healthier and more productive learning environment.
Studies have shown that lighting has a direct impact on student focus, attendance, cognitive skills, and performance. While reducing energy costs remains a priority for most school districts, an increasing number are exploring the non-energy benefits of lighting. These include:
Studies show that students today sleep approximately two hours less than they did in the past, with 68.9% of students reporting insufficient sleep. Lack of proper sleep can lead to behavioral issues.
Recent research suggests that sleep deprivation resulting from the disruption of the circadian rhythm is the most likely cause of 50% - 80% of ADHD.
Lighting systems that deliver higher light intensities and color temperature are proving to improve both the duration and quality of sleep—thereby improving the ability to learn.
Improved mood, focus, and behavior
People are particularly sensitive to blue light—the main color we see when we’re outdoors. Blue light suppresses melatonin—the brain chemical that makes us feel sleepy. Exposure to blue light has been found to decrease depression, improve mood, energy, alertness, and productivity.
The opposite is also true – high-intensity fluorescent and dim, poorly-lit spaces negatively affect people’s mood, health, and productivity. The ‘white noise’ resulting from fluorescent lighting can cause problems (headaches, eyestrain, and increased repetitive behavior) for autistic students who can be sensitive to flickering.
Upgrading lighting systems has proven to improve focus, concentration, and relaxation. Specifically, color tuning can play a significant role in student health and wellbeing.
Using cooler color temperatures in the morning helps students wake up and become more alert, helping with their mental cognition and their ability to learn.
It has also been found that blue-enriched white light reduces restlessness and aggressive behavior among students when compared with standard white light
Research completed by the Universities of Mississippi and Texas, respectively, revealed that cool color temperatures can improve the behavior of students who are hyperactive or have learning disabilities
Improved test scores
Several studies have investigated the effects of light on student performance—showing conclusively that proper LED lighting can improve concentration, reading speed, comprehension, lower error rates, and boost productivity— significantly improving academic performance.
According to a 2014 study, classrooms with inadequate lighting design restrict access to visual information and, accordingly, suppress learning ability.
A study conducted in 2012 showed that skills in reading aloud were increased for 38% of pupils working under variable lighting conditions, compared with only 18% for those under normal white light.
Another study focused on two classrooms of students taking math tests.
One classroom was illuminated with standard fluorescent lighting, and the other classroom had LED lights that were fitted with an artificial “daylighting” option that mimics natural daylight.
Students were more alert and scored significantly higher on tests in the classroom outfitted with simulated LED lighting.