8 Benefits of LED Lightning in schools and educational institutions
Benefit #1: Australian Government LED lighting Upgrade Program for Schools
The Australian Government Funding for Schools
Many public schools receive funding from several sources, such as the national and state levels of government. The Australian Government funding for schools has implemented new programs which have resulted in increased funding for schools.
The Australian Government provides funding for government schools and is the major provider of public funds for non-government schools. It sees its role as providing ‘educational leadership’ and working with state and territory governments and other school education stakeholders to ensure ‘teaching and learning for all Australian school-age children is the highest quality.
Upgrade for thousands of school projects through NSW Government’s $450 million Covid-19 Recovery Plan, including $157.8 million for LED Lighting Upgrade Program! This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW.
April 21, 2021
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell visited Carlingford High School to announce which schools will benefit from the first round of the $157.8 million LED Lighting Project, part of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan.
“We are investing record amounts in education and these important upgrades will deliver modern facilities for schools with energy-efficient lights in classrooms, libraries, halls, and administration areas, that will have great outcomes for our schools,”
“The LED lighting program will also benefit the environment with schools saving on energy costs every year. And importantly, as we continue to recover from the pandemic, it will help stimulate local economies, supporting hundreds of jobs in towns throughout the State.” MR Perrottet said.
“This program is part of the NSW Government’s school-focused COVID-19 stimulus, delivering benefits for the economy, environment, and students.”
“Schools are at the heart of our communities, and this package of work is delivering improvements to the learning facilities for students whilst providing jobs for local trades,” Ms Mitchell said.
October 1st, 2021
State MP Dugald Saunders welcomed the inclusion of Ballimore Public School, Dubbo West. Dubbo School of Distance Education, Mian School, Yawarra Community School, and Gulgong Public schools in NSW, will have old, inefficient lights replaced with smart LED lights. The LED Lighting Upgrade Program will help provide savings on electricity bills, and also improve the sustainability of local schools.
“This is exciting news for our local schools, and I’m encouraging local trades to explore the opportunity to install the new LED lights”.
“The lighting upgrades are a great way for the schools to improve teaching spaces, reduce their power and maintenance bills, and it’s also a fantastic way to stimulate the local economy by supporting local businesses.” Mr Saunders said.
What Benefits will Schools See From the LED Lighting Upgrade Program?
According to the NSW Government, over the past five years, the Department of Education has received positive feedback from schools that have completed switching to LED lights. LED lights can enhance the indoor learning environment and their installation is expected to deliver a positive impact on student learning behaviors including attentiveness, comprehension, and attendance. Program benefits include:
- Energy-saving – reduced electricity usage and lower bills over the long term by replacing inefficient fluorescent lights with efficient LEDs.
- Lower maintenance and repair costs when compared with fluorescent lights.
- Improved learning outcomes in the classroom as a result of improved lighting.
Benefit #2: LED Lighting in Schools Offers Big Cost Savings
According to Energy Star, after salaries and benefits, energy costs are the largest operating expense for school districts. LED lighting systems provide low cost, long life, high efficiency for schools and that is one of the most important economic benefits of LED lights in schools!
Longer Lifespan of LEDs
While LED lights are more expensive than halogen, incandescent, or fluorescent lights, they have a longer lifespan, so they are providing savings over a long period of time. That means that the LED lights don’t have to be changed for years, so overall maintenance costs are lower. Furthermore, because LED lighting is far more energy-efficient, schools can save money on utility bills. In addition, as the adoption of LED lighting grows, prices continue to drop.
Tip: Switch to LED lights at Once!
To get the most out of switching to LED lights in school buildings, it is very important to change the lights at once. Slowly replacing incandescent or fluorescent bulbs with LEDs only when they burn out, will feel less wasteful and easier, but there won’t be a noticeable difference in electricity consumption graphs, or electric bill, for a longer period of time.
Can a New LED System be Installed Without Interruption to Your School Day?
The answer is YES! The Eco Origin team can quickly and efficiently install a new LED system or retrofit your existing lighting system, with complete consideration to your school day schedule. During the consultation, we discuss a plan to complete the necessary work, without interruption for your students, teachers, and staff.
Energy Efficiency of LED lights is Changing the Future!
One of the many benefits that make LED lights an attractive school lighting option is that they have a very low energy consumption. Compared to traditional lighting solutions, LED lights use up to 90% less power. This reduction in the energy used can save around 30-70% of a school’s lighting cost, which can translate to several thousand dollars a year – money that can be put into other important uses for school.
Additionally, many schools that still use fluorescent, or even incandescent, spend more money trying to compensate for the heat generated from their outdated fixtures than the fixture itself. With the price of LEDs dropping more than 85% in recent years, making the switch is easier and more cost-effective than ever, and also provides a much shorter payback period—in some cases, payback occurs in as little as three years!
Environmentally-friendly School Reputation
Energy production is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Luckily the energy efficiency of LED lighting helps reduce the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and fights climate change.
The fact that your school fights climate changes and cares about the environment by switching to LED lights, should not be underestimated. Our community is well aware of the impact of climate change in the 21st century. Therefore, your school proactively doing its bit to help, will not go unnoticed. It will also set a positive example to your students.
Research study: LED light system in Classrooms
In a research study, published in 2017: “Evaluating Trial LED Lighting Systems in Three Classrooms at the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in Carrollton, TX” prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy, was summarised results from a trial installation of LED lighting systems in three classrooms.
The three classrooms, which were included in the LED lighting system installation and evaluation, had a very similar classroom located nearby that retained the current fluorescent lighting system, used for comparison to the LED lighting system.
8 Key results from the trial LED light installation included:
- Due to the higher efficacy of the LED lights and a reduction in illuminances, it led to a 58% reduction in input power for the tunable-white LED lighting system, relative to the incumbent fluorescent system.
- The dimming capability of LED lights furthered the energy savings in each classroom.
- Switching to the LED lighting system was managed with very few difficulties.
- All three teachers used the scene controls regularly during the school day but used the SPD controls infrequently.
- Illuminance levels in the classrooms at maximum output met or exceeded IES recommendations for the typical visual tasks, with both the new LED and the incumbent fluorescent systems.
- Colour consistency for the tunable white LED luminaires used in the classrooms was very good among luminaries and over the dimming range.
- LED lighting controls allowed the students to be engaged in choosing the settings for various classroom activities. Both teachers stated that the LED lighting system improved the overall learning environment.
- The use of color-tunable LED lighting has non-energy benefits through positive effects on circadian and behavioral responses for students, teachers, and other users of the classrooms.
Benefit #3: LED Lights Improve Higher Concentration
Learning more about how lighting affects student learning and performance has led to information on how poor lighting can actually harm students. Poor lighting in school can cause eye strain, inability to see the board or navigate hallways, and even irritate existing eye issues. When children experience visual discomfort, it makes it harder to concentrate on tasks and lowers their energy levels. Having a properly lit classroom helps make everything easier to see, learn and concentrate. Use LED lights to improve students’ focus and grades!
Provide Psychological Stability for Students!
One of the most important benefits of LED lights is to provide psychological stability, improve concentration and boost a student’s learning. LED lights can be switched on to highlight white and blue light, which boost productivity and concentration. Younger students tend to have difficulty concentrating in the early morning. LED lighting can help to switch their natural biological rhythms to overcome the tiredness they experience early in the morning.
LED lights are Healthier for Children
The Environmental Protection Agency established specific rules for schools that use fluorescent lighting in their buildings. If a fluorescent lamp breaks during school hours, the school must be evacuated until all traces of mercury have been removed from the premises.
With LED lighting, this kind of interruption would never happen because LED lights do not contain any hazardous materials found in fluorescent lamps. While LEDs do contain some other chemicals, they’re free of mercury, which is toxic and can be found in traditional light bulbs. LEDs are not considered toxic by current U.S. laws and can be easily disposed of. If an LED light does break, replacing it is a quick, easy process. LEDs are also recyclable, which makes them environmentally friendly.
Benefit #4: LED Lights Improve Learning Performance!
Several studies have been conducted on how the quality and colour of lighting can decrease or enhance students’ visual skills and academic performance. Visual impairments alone can induce behavioral problems in students as well as level of concentration and motivation in the classroom, followed by learning performance. Cheatum and Hammond in Activities for Improving Children’s Learning and Behaviour estimated that around 20% of children that enter the school encounter visual problems.
Create a Better Learning Environment With LED lights!
To improve student learning, busting out walls to create larger windows may not be the best “in the budget” solution for the school. Luckily, LED lights to offer a similar and more cost-effective solution for educational and other buildings.
Students who learn under LED lights scored better than students learning under fluorescent lighting. They remain more alert and focused throughout the day, absorbing all the necessary information. Poor lighting can lead to sleepiness, less productivity, and concentration, and even poor test scores. The quality and colour of lighting have been proven to impact students’ learning in several studies. Fluorescent lights, which are evident to flicker and dim over time, are also associated with visual distress and headaches in classrooms.
For optimal learning performance, “cool” or “blue” light is better, while “yellow” or “warm” light is the most relaxing and is used for other activities. Sunlight has a correlated colour temperature (CCT) of about 6,500 K (Kelvin), while incandescent bulbs emit light between 2500 K and 3000 K. The great news is that LED lights can easily adjust their CCT, unlike incandescent or fluorescent lamps whose CCT stays fixed. Bright white LED lighting in classrooms has been shown to improve student concentration and productivity, which then leads to better learning and testing.
Benefit #5: LED Lights Increase Better Test Scores
In the interesting study published in 2016 Dynamic lighting system for the learning environment: performance of elementary students, the goal was to investigate the effects of lighting colour temperatures on elementary students’ performance, for a smart learning environment. During the period of two weeks, researchers have investigated the effects of light on two classrooms of students taking maths tests.
One classroom was illuminated with standard fluorescent lighting, and the other classroom had LED lights that were fitted with an artificial “daylighting” option that mimics natural daylight.
The result: students were more alert and scored significantly higher on tests in the classroom outfitted with simulated LED lighting, which is closer to daylight. Similar studies have conclusively shown that proper LED lighting can improve concentration, reading speed, and comprehension, lower errors rates, and boost productivity, significantly improving academic performance.
Benefit #6: LED Lights Have Effects Similar to Natural Sunlight!
Let the Sunshine In!
The roles of natural sunlight during the day and darkness during the night are important for the normal function of human bodies. Studies of lighting have shown that sunlight has positive effects on people’s subjective well-being and mental health and that students prefer to sit near windows or in classrooms with natural lighting for higher productivity.
A New Zealand Ministry of Education survey includes the following quote from a pupil:
“The best classroom in our school is room 10. I like it because at one side of the classroom are huge windows which let in a lot of natural light, and you can see all the peacefulness around you, which makes me feel comfortable.” – Year 6 female
Both kids and instructors prosper from natural daylight on a biological and behavioral basis. Students’ well-being and focus can significantly benefit from exposure to sunshine when in the classroom.
However, access to natural lighting is not always possible. People who don’t have enough exposure to natural sunlight are at higher risk to have issues with mental health and physical well-being resulting from abnormal hormonal secretion. The result can be sleep deprivation, also known as Circadian Disruption. Other problems include depression and circulatory issues.
Schools usually have very little natural light
This highlights a need to understand how the use of artificial lighting impacts directly or indirectly students’ well-being and performance. Traditional lighting does not provide the specific spectrum of light required. With traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting, it is very difficult to even achieve the recommended light levels in a tolerable manner, and impossible to provide the critical light spectrum for circadian light. Circadian lighting follows the concept: “electric light can be used to support human health”, by minimizing the effect of electric light on the human circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes, such as sleep-wake cycles.
Merge Natural Lighting with LED Lights
LED lighting can supplement natural lighting and efficiently replace outdated conventional fixtures throughout the school, including hallways, gyms, cafeterias, offices, libraries, classrooms, and more. When looking for what type of lighting to use in school settings, one of the best solutions is to merge natural lighting with LED lights. The researchers found that the blue-enriched white LED light improves the subjective, positive mood, performance, concentration, productivity, mental health, and reduces daytime sleepiness.
Benefit #7: LED Lights are Flicker-Free
The Benefits of LEDs for Students
Flicker-Free LED lights are especially important in the case of children and young adults. They can have a big impact on the learning environments for students with special needs, by eliminating flicker and the hum, correlated with the high levels of flicker in fluorescent lighting. Fully directional down-lighting also provides more illumination on students’ learning surfaces, rather than the diffuse glow produced by the gas-filled fluorescent tubes.
For students who have hypersensitivity to light or sound, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, flicker in lighting can cause headaches and eyestrain and lead to behavioral issues. Flicker and glare often cause blinking and need to look away, and can be caused by one of two things — excessively high luminance or excessively high luminance ratios. Especially when performing tasks that require intense focus, poor lighting can result in uncomfortable symptoms.
Studies have shown that performance on tasks decreases with long exposure to flickering lighting in classrooms. Whether a child is on the autism spectrum or not, all children can benefit from flicker-free LED lighting. Flicker from poor classroom lighting can contribute to a student or teacher’s inability to concentrate, decreased productivity, headaches, and eye strain. By eliminating flicker, a classroom can give all students an equal opportunity to thrive and succeed at school.
Benefit #8: LED lights decrease the occurrence of headaches in classrooms
Teachers have a big influence over their classroom environment. Some teachers pay closer attention to the details of their environment that children commonly overlook, including the negative impact of fluorescent lighting in the classroom, such as the increased occurrence of headaches during the long school days.
How does poor quality light trigger headaches?
Poor quality lighting overloads the human system to receive large amounts of light and visual information, without allowing the brain to relax and process the information. As a result, in some people, the brain can’t handle this amount of information which creates migraines, headaches, and discomfort. Working in a poorly illuminated environment can be just as uncomfortable as working under bright lights.
The fluorescent lights found in most classrooms are a common trigger for headaches and migraines. Researchers commonly believe that people living with migraine pain are sensitive to the colour temperature and subliminal flicker of fluorescent lights. People with migraines often have an aversion to fluorescent lighting, and for reading, often choose colours that are not typical of conventional lighting. This is particularly important given that one in five children in England cannot read well by the age of 11. The government has consistently prioritised raising standards in reading and, for at least some of these children, fluorescent lighting could be part of the problem.
Clearly, then, it would be preferable for schools and workplaces to replace conventional fluorescent lighting with LED lights. This would not only be healthier for children and teachers but also reduce the running costs.
LED Lighting for Elementary Classrooms
A study published in Scientific American, involving 21,000 U.S. elementary students during one school year, showed that kids who were exposed to more sunlight during their school day reached 26% higher reading outcomes and 20% higher maths outcomes, than kids in less sunny classrooms. However, in the case that a classroom has less natural light, ScienceDirect studies have shown that replacing artificial lighting with blue-enriched bulbs just like LED lights, can improve students’ cognitive performance.
Kids in elementary classrooms are often restless and very energetic, so teachers have a hard time focusing and calming them. Based on research studies, using LED lights in warmer colour temperatures is a great way to get kids to calm down and concentrate during the school day. So, without struggling to get students focused after recess or before a test, setting the lighting around 3500K has been proven to reduce hyperactivity and create a calm, focused learning environment.
LED Lighting for Middle Schoolers
The challenging task of middle schools is to provide lighting which will suit a warmer lighting atmosphere for quiet reading time, or a brighter white light for test-taking, in the same classroom.
Biological changes during puberty delay the sleep-wake cycle, which impacts students’ learning capability. Teens have a hard time falling asleep in the evening, following a hard time waking up in the morning. This isn’t due to their laziness as many would say, in fact, it has a scientific explanation. Melatonin secretion in the body has a job to regulate sleep-wake cycles. With teens this process is shifted to later in the evening and later in the morning, making them less alert and able to pay attention, and then less able to learn.
LED blue light exposure throughout the school day may help to reset the body’s circadian rhythm and can increase their alertness and improve academic outcomes.
LED Lighting for High School Buildings
In High School, the focus must be on preparing students for the next great step, whether that be a career, vocational school, or college. Studies have shown that students were more alert and scored significantly higher on tests in the classroom outfitted with simulated LED lighting, which is closer to daylight. Similar studies have conclusively shown that proper LED lighting can improve concentration, reading speed, and comprehension, lower errors rates, and boost productivity, significantly improving academic performance.
Help students to perform well on tests as they are preparing for college entrance exams, finals, and more by using tunable LED lighting. A neutral light or brighter, whiter light is best for test-taking scenarios.
LED Lighting for Special Needs Classrooms
For children in school with special needs, lighting can play a very important role in their behavior. Researchers have found individuals with autism are more sensitive to the sub-visible flicker of direct fluorescent lighting that is not easy to see with the naked eye. For some people on the autism spectrum, the flicker and hum of fluorescent bulbs can cause physical pain. In others, they may cause headaches or distractions.
At Cherokee Elementary School in Scottsdale, Arizona, switching to LED lighting helps their special education students with autism. Additionally, the school saw energy savings of about 60% in areas with the new LED fixtures. Most importantly, these fixtures do not flicker when fully dimmed, a quality that is important in a special needs classroom. The transition to LED lighting in special needs classrooms is crucial for a better, more nurturing learning environment for special needs students.
A Brief History of Lighting in Schools
Lighting in schools before the 1930s was limited with daylight, as artificial lighting was not available yet. During the following years, natural air in schools was the primary solution due to the rising tide of tuberculosis. Many schools implemented the “open-air” movement, taking care of the physical and psychological well-being of their students.
By the late 1950s, because of improved public health and sanitation practices, schools began to work indoors and focused on lighting, acoustics, heating, ventilation, and other important elements in schools. It was during this time that fluorescent lights became widely used in school lighting systems.
Common Issues With Lighting in Schools Today
We have been educated under fluorescent lights in schools, worked under them in offices, exercised under them in gymnasiums, and treated under them in hospitals. With the advent of the compact fluorescent bulb, we even brought them into our homes.
Many schools today use fluorescent lights and fixtures for their lighting systems. However, in recent years, studies have shown that fluorescent lighting has various adverse effects on students. Fluorescent lighting provides light in a restricted range of the colour spectrum. This limited colour spectrum can significantly affect moods, perceptions, hormone balance, and even sleep cycles. Fluorescent bulbs can also commonly flicker, causing distractions and potentially leading to eye strain and headaches.
One student asked: “How can I stop fluorescent lights from hurting my eyes and giving me a headache? I start school next week, and it is filled with these lights”. Due to economic and educational benefits, schools are now replacing their fluorescent lighting with LED lights.
Current Impact of Fluorescent Lighting on Students
Fluorescent tubes contain a mixture of mercury (hazardous material) and inert gases. When a fluorescent tube gets shattered, it carries the risk of mercury entering the body through the lungs or the skin. In that case, anyone in the area will be exposed to the dangers of mercury, making it a safety hazard in schools.
The mercury gas in fluorescent bulbs produces UV light, which is partially, but not completely, converted to light in the visible spectrum. UV radiation operates at a higher frequency than visible light and is able to cause damage to materials such as plastics, as well as the tissues in the eyes and skin. Exposure in the long term results in cataract formation- the leading cause of blindness. Young people are especially at risk of the hazards of UV light, as a protective deposition of yellow pigments in the eyes occurs with age.
Students learning in poor-spectrum lighting environments often have a difficult time concentrating. Some people have an extremely sensitive vision, particularly in the scotopic (low-lit) range, and low-spectrum lighting can trigger the same visual response. These students are commonly misdiagnosed with dyslexia or other learning disabilities, as well as being subjected to dizziness, headaches, and nausea caused by the spikes and gaps in fluorescent light output.
LED Lighting Technology- The simple choice for saving energy!
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are solid-state lighting (SSL) technology (unlike incandescent and fluorescent lighting technologies), which means they have no gases involved. Instead, energy is passed through a semiconductor (usually, a solid chemical element or compound that can conduct electricity), lighting up the LED light bulb.
While basic technology has been available for years, recent developments have driven down costs and made LEDs more widely available to the public. From industrial and landscaping feature lighting to residential settings, to schools and offices, LEDs provide a number of benefits over their predecessors.
Why are LEDs The Global Leading Technology?
According to IEA lighting reports, rising from a market share of 5% in 2013 to nearly half of global lighting sales in 2019, LED sales reached a critical milestone, achieving a record number of sales of more than 10 billion units, including both light sources and luminaires. Both residential and commercial LED deployment is advancing and LED sales now exceed fluorescent lamps, and are expected to continue expanding. To remain in line with the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), LEDs need to make up more than 90% of lighting product sales by 2030.