Healthy Indoors



Lighting as an Educational Tool

Studies show that varied lighting not only boosts student performance but also dials down noise and stress levels.

Lighting as an Educational Tool

Can good lighting yield better study results? Yes, actually. Light is an educational tool that makes learning and teaching easier and more enjoyable. The right light in the right amount facilitates knowledge transfer and provides a better working environment for students and teachers. It becomes easier to see: to read, to write, and to understand what the teacher wants to convey. If the light also has the right intensity and composition, it can make the students more alert and committed.

During the 21st century, several studies have been conducted on the relationship between light, well-being, and study results. They show that classrooms planned with varied lighting – light directly on the work surface and ambient light on the walls – increase the students’ alertness and abilities to perform. Researchers have also studied how lighting can affect the sounds in a classroom. The result? When creating ”islands of light” with suspended lighting fixtures over the work surfaces, the noise level and stress is reduced.

Why is the lighting in a classroom so special?

All people, no matter the age, thrive in good lighting environments. Quality lighting provides high visual comfort and makes it easy to see without being dazzled. (Dazzled eyes quickly become tired, and results in headaches.) But good lighting also has a biological function. Light that varies in intensity and colour – just like the sky outside – supports the human biological clock. It makes us more alert and focused on what we need to learn. This is what classroom lighting has in common with any office. But in the office, there is often continuity: certain patterns and habits that you can influence yourself. In school, the environment is constantly changing. Classrooms are switched with different subjects and re-arranged from lesson to lesson to support various teaching methods. Not infrequently 25 students, all with different needs and sometimes with challenges in the form of diagnoses, are expected to work under the same conditions.

How do you create inclusive lighting in schools?

Accommodating every individual need is, of course, impossible. But with good lighting planning and knowledge of how humans react to different types of light, we can create the best conditions possible. The basis is glare-free light with the right intensity and variation that satisfies the students’ visual and biological needs. Good and well-diffused direct light from the ceiling makes it easy to read, write and see the screen. An indirect ambient light on walls and ceilings provides variation in a way that resembles natural light. Ideally, the lighting should also be combined with daylight. Directed light from spotlights on drawings or the latest science project adds life and even more dynamics to the environment. With smart and easy-to-use lighting controls, the teacher can find scenarios for different types of teaching and activity-based furnishings. You can also create ”islands of light” for students with a need for concentration, alone or in a group. As a bonus, lighting controls save money and reduces the school’s carbon footprint. When the classroom is empty the light is simply turned off.