Lighting for the Education Sector

Lighting for the education sector is hugely important, it influences the present and future of our up and coming generations. Numerous research programs have come to the same conclusion, that students can be positively or adversely effected by their environmental conditions (in much the same way as employees are effected by lighting in their workplace). This means students’ well-being and productivity can fluctuate greatly, simply due to the quality of their lit environment.


Diverse lighting for flexible solutions

Any educational body will need to have lighting that can suit a huge range of spaces (GDS creates luminaires and control systems suitable for use in cafeterias, circulation areas, classrooms, labs, lecture theatres, libraries, office & administrative areas, sports halls, and external spaces) and their diverse use. In a school you might find that a sports hall is used for a range of sports (each requiring unique lighting levels) and exams (requiring brighter task lighting), or a classroom will require lighting for desk work at times and the group work at others. GDS has the knowledge to work alongside specifiers to ensure all these unique requirements have been considered and met.

There are a few key areas that can adversely affect the quality of lighting in education;

Flickering Lights – Lights that flicker cause a distraction for students as well as headaches and are particularly dangerous for students with epilepsy.

Glare – Glare is caused by light shining directly or reflecting upon your task area (be it a screen or a work book). It can result in poor concentration and adverse physical issues, such as headaches, migraines and eyestrain.

Inaccurate Colour Temperature – Cool light has been proven to enhance people’s ability to learn, whereas warm light is better for relaxation and winding down. Therefore, it is crucially important to have the right colour temperature in the right environments.

Poor/Excessive Illuminance – If the average lumens of a space are not a high enough value then a student’s ability to concentrate will be lower. This can consequently result in disruptive behaviour and slower intake of knowledge. In cases of excessive lumens, it is harder to read text and supposedly can lead to hyper-activity.

The above-mentioned issues can be greatly reduced when natural lighting is utilised and subsidised to keep luminance a constant. Heschong Mahone Group (professional consultants in the field of building energy) conducted several studies on the effect of having consistent higher levels of natural lighting on students. They concluded that students with this benefit had a 20-26% increase in learning speed and achieved on average 17% higher grades. From a physiological point of view this stated benefit is a result of student’s not requiring a higher level of cognitive resource to process work in poorly lit situations and its re-purposing directly to processing and storing information.


Lecture Theatre Lighting


Lighting control systems in the education sector

The PRODIGY Series has been developed to create a user-friendly control system, ideal for use in educational buildings. Energy consumption is greatly reduced with an intelligent reaction to natural light. When a classroom or lecture theatre is full of natural light The PRODIGY’s light sensors feedback and lighting fixtures’ output will decrease. In addition, presence sensors let the controller know when a space is unoccupied, and luminaires can dim or cease.

In places of education it can be very important to create lighting scenes. Spaces such as lecture theatres might need to have varying levels of light during a presentation. Cool light scenes can be utilised at times where focus is required, dimmed light scenes when PowerPoint is being used at the front of the theatre and warmer lighting scenes during breaks to enable students to relax and recuperate before returning to learning. Scenes can be applied for an entire space or sub-sections of a space to afford a greater degree of control.

To ensure switching to the appropriate scene is easy, it can be done through an app on a phone or computer or controlled using our Prodigy modules. If you wish to discuss how Lighting Control Systems can be utilised in the Education sector give us a call today (01173250063).

How the PRODIGY (Control) Series works

"Lighting must provide diversity to meet the varied needs of educational bodies."

Circadian Rhythm – The improvement in learning as a direct consequence of light can also be attributed to person’s Circadian Rhythm. Circadian Rhythm is the body’s natural reaction to light or lack of. The body should naturally react to its cycle to induce higher energy levels during the brightest parts of the days, to encourage hunger at the right time and to also require sleep during darker periods. When there is a lack of natural light this rhythm is thrown off, causing a person to be or not be tired or hungry at the wrong time of day. This can lead to over eating and not sleeping properly at night, then leading to a deterioration in a person’s mental state and overall well-being.In most new school or university buildings it is easier to create a lighting scheme that makes use of natural light. In contrast when creating a retrofit solution for an older building it is necessary to utilise artificial lighting as a complement. That requirement will of course vary dependent upon the time day or year and the external climate. This means that Lighting Control Systems become very important.

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