Innovation Skåne

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Light Quality In Schools – the right light improves academic performance

The fully booked Light Quality In Schools Conference raised beyond all expectations. 80 guests were given presentations on light impacts, light architecture, sight ergonomics and energy efficiency. The conference ended with a panel discussion by an astonishing line up of speakers.

The Light Quality In Schools Conference was organized December 4th in Lund by Lighting Metropolis in order to showcase the impact light has on academic performance. According to researchers, is the light affecting the learning process and making children and adults in school environments feel much better. The conference gathered the school system, lighting industry and the academia from Sweden and Denmark. It was an open conference were participants integrated with the guest speakers, which contributed to deep discussions thought the day.

Following questions were addressed:

  • Why are there no investment in good lighting in school environments?
  • How do you procure better light quality in schools?
  • Are there any examples of good light environments in schools?

The conference was broadcasted live and can be watched here (SE).

Here are the highlights of the day:

The conference started with a presentation by Jonas Kjellander, Architect SAR and Lighting Designer at Sweco, who addressed the problem with bad lightning. According to Jonas, has very little changed with the way we use light since 1960. Lightning in schools is neglected and requires higher demands. See the full presentation in which Jonas gives examples of good lighting environments in schools where daylight is integrated in the video below (SE). Jonas also presents his work at Uppsala University, which he won the Swedish Light Prize 2019  for.

Marie-Claude Dubois, M. Arch. PhD, Associate Professor/Associate Professor of Energy and Building Design at Lund University, presented how architecture can create good daylight in school environments. See full presentation (SE). She showcased the three main factors that reduce the strength of the natural circadian rhythm among children:

  1. 24 hour electric lighting availability (LED)
  2. Reduced exposure to daylight during the day (90% of the time indoors)
  3. Use of light emitting devices, such as computers and mobile phones

Interrupted circadian rhythm can be related to many modern disorders and diseases among children, such as depression, stress and difficulty sleeping. This can be changed through the use of light. The following design elements are intrinsic to improving learning in the classroom:

  • Daylight
  • Indoor air quality
  • Acoustic environment
  • Temperature
  • Classroom design
  • Stimulation

Hillevi Hemphälä, researcher at Design Sciences, Lund University, addressed sight ergonomics and answered the question ‘How should the light be designed to make us feel as good as possible at our workplaces?’ Hillevis recommendation for good visual environment are:

  • The direction of light
  • Lighting power (lux)
  • Glare
  • Luminance (CD/sqm)
  • Contrast
  • Color temperature (daylight 5000k)
  • Color Rendering
  • Flicker

The recommended lighting power in schools are; school room 300 lx (500 lx) and generally in the room 100 lx. School tasks, walls and ceilings need to be taken under consideration in order to make the lighting controllable. See Hillevis presentation in the video below (SE).

Light as an educational tool was addressed by Ellen Kathrine Hansen, Head of MSc program in Lighting Design, PhD, Associate Professor, Aalborg University. According to Ellen, has literature review illustrated that lighting effects on learning has mainly focuses on academic performance and concentration, researched through quantitive methods. See the full presentation bellow (DK) in which Ellen presents the method and the results of motivations for interaction:

  • Supporting and structuring learning activities
  • Communication with lighting and involving students
  • Affecting students’ activity level and behavior
  • Creating atmospheres
  • Supporting visual tasks and visual comfort

Jim Collin, Head of Light Bureau, Part of AFRY, presented how ÅF Lighting changed all lightning in their new office in Malmö and how it contributed to not only better health for the employees but also energy efficiency. See full presentation (SE).

Why are there no investment in good lighting in school environments? The day ended with a panel discussion with moderator Fredrik Malmberg and participants Jonas Kjellander, Hillevi Hemphälä, Jim Collin and Ellen Kathrine Hansen. See the panel discussion in the video below (SE).


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