Lighting is a vital element in the education environment

Light has a big influence on the way we learn, so good lighting design in education settings is crucial

As more and more organisations are paying greater attention to the quality of the lit education environment, there is now a far better understanding of the direct link between the lit environment and the well-being, comfort and productivity of those working in these areas, be it staff or pupils.

Lighting is more than just a basic source, good lighting can change the overall ambience and perception of classrooms, lecture theatres and the relevant space and the productivity of the people within those areas.  First impressions on entering an education establishment are also very important.  People need to feel welcomed and impressed in an atrium/entrance, with bright, engaging and dynamic lighting solutions.

Schools are also under increasing pressure when it comes to energy consumption and the latest LED luminaires and controls which take into consideration natural daylight, can provide high efficiency and long life, leading to a reduction in energy consumption and running costs. The best lighting for education settings takes into account the kind of activity being done, the spatial environment, and face-to-face communication. Poorly lit spaces can lead to symptoms such as eye strain, headaches and a lack of concentration.

Firstly, there needs to be clear lighting for the task at hand and, secondly, there needs to be comfortable and pleasant lighting of the space. Lastly, there needs to be good facial modelling to support face-to-face communication, which is achieved by balancing diffuse and direct light. If light is too directional, shadows become too harsh, but if it’s too diffuse, then the space will feel bland and modelling of faces will not be clear enough. These are the priorities that drove the creation of Thorn’s IQ Wave luminaire, which uses direct and indirect light to achieve high-quality light distribution, with high cylindrical illuminance to light faces.

One example of how light has influenced better learning is Broughton Primary School in Edinburgh, which dates from the Edwardian era. Thorn recently provided new cutting-edge LED luminaires and wireless controls for the entire school, including the IQ Wave Suspended fittings for the classrooms. These luminaires provide a blend of direct and indirect illumination for good light distribution that supports comfort and concentration. IQ Wave is ideal for desk-based tasks, group presentations or discussions, and creates a positive atmosphere for learning.

Installations like Broughton Primary School are based on the understanding that great lighting is about much more than just being able to read the paper on your desk or the whiteboard at the front of the room. It also means being able to communicate effectively with those around you, and being in an atmosphere that feels conducive to learning. Teachers at the school are also able to control the lighting from wall switches or mobile devices.

When high efficiency, energy saving luminaire designs are combined, the overall effect is a cost-effective and productive lighting scheme.

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