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| Updated: September 30, 2020

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Classroom lighting

Classroom time and before- and after-school activities considered, today’s learners spend upwards of 40 hours each week at school. If your school is like many, much of that time is spent under artificial lighting. Studies show a strong correlation between classroom lighting and student learning. Daily exposure to artificial lighting and a lack of exposure to sunlight can negatively affect learning and overall health.

Enter tunable lighting. Tunable LED lighting allows users to adjust light’s color and brightness, which provides numerous benefits to schools. This type of lighting saves energy, costs less and reduces environmental impact. And it helps improve students’ educational performance.

Benefits of tunable LED lighting

To understand the benefits of tunable LED lighting, it might be helpful to first discuss exactly what it is. According to 2020 LED, a commercial lighting-solutions provider, tunable LED lighting allows users to adjust both “light output color and the light intensity [allowing for the shift] from relaxing warm yellow light to activating cool white light … ”. These are some of its associated benefits:

  • Help regulate circadian rhythm: We all have an internal clock that regulates our awake and sleep times. This is known as a circadian rhythm. Tunable lighting can help regulate circadian rhythms so that students are more alert and ready to learn during the day, and in turn, sleep better at night.
  • Improved academic performance: The improved concentration and better work habits seen with adjustable lighting are contributing to better academic performance overall. Educators with tunable lighting have the option of choosing cooler, more-intense light to increase the concentration and alertness needed during a test or quiz. Or they can choose a warmer, white light to simulate relaxation during cozier classroom gatherings, such as story time.
  • Better behavior: Lighting studies have shown that mood and behavior improve, and hyperactivity decreases, when classroom light mimics daylight. That’s a win for students and teachers alike!

Districts with building renovations in their future may want to keep tunable LED lighting in mind. The benefits to students are apparent. However, just moving to LED lighting alone can decrease lighting costs by 20 percent to 25 percent.

However, even if a lighting revamp isn’t in your future, teachers can take steps to make the most of the current lighting in their own classrooms. If alertness is your goal, and you’re lucky enough to have windows in your classroom, consider rearranging desks so students are facing the natural light. Or think about having class outside if weather permits—you could even implement “Open-Air Fridays” or “Outdoor Wednesdays.” Kick off this initiative by providing Foldable Sunglasses and loaner stadium cushions or beach mats for outdoor learning in comfort.

If a more calming lesson is on your agenda, look into shielding fluorescent lights with tulle overhangs. Or forgo the light switch altogether and opt for lamplight instead. Those who need more light for reading or other tasks may appreciate the option to grab a book light or desk lamp.

We hope this article helps shed some light on all that optimized classroom lighting can do for your students. Don’t be in the dark—try one or all of these lighting tips and tricks today!

“Daylighting.” HealthySchools.org. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 16 Jan. 2016.

Godbout, Andrea. “Fluorescent Lighting & Children’s Behavior.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Demand Media, 28 Jan. 2015. Web. Retrieved 16 Jan. 2016.

“2020 LED Lighting.” 2020LED.net. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 16 Jan. 2016.

“LED Goes Back to School: Benefits of LED Lighting in the Classroom.” Leading Edge Design Group. N.p., 15 Oct. 2015. Web. Retrieved 16 Jan. 2016.

Whitaker, Tim. “Optimized lighting conditions help students improve performance.”LEDsMagazine.com. PennWell Corporation, n.d. Web. Retrieved 16 Jan. 2016.

Tauscheck, Mark. “Schools implement new lighting in classrooms to help students.” KCCI-TV. Des Moines Hearst Television, 02 Sept. 2015. Web. Retrieved 16 Jan. 2016.

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