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LED Lighting for Schools and Educational Facilities

Help kids and young adults stay focused and obtained greater education by installing higher quality educational LED lighting fixtures. 

Schools and educational facilities from K-12 schools to college campuses require proper illumination that is suited for its students for learning and removing distractions; all while reducing operating costs and remaining within budget. Our LED educational lighting fixtures do all of the above by offering high quality light that uses less energy than other lighting technologies.

LED Lights For School Classrooms

Places of learning have their own set of unique lighting challenges, which can be addressed by evaluating a lot of factors. To adequately light these learning environments, one has to take into consideration the available natural light and the types of tasks being carried out in the space.

It is also essential to pay consideration to the lighting technology in use within the school and the surfaces that require lighting in that environment for visual clarity.

In the 50s, natural lighting dominated schools’ lighting design. There was a time-honored relationship between a classroom's dimensions and its window sizes. But with time, electric power costs went on a decline and daylighting took a back seat as lighting designers took advantage of the flexibility electric lighting provided.

Studies now show that students who learn under natural lighting achieve up to 18% better test scores than those who learn under low levels of natural lighting. Natural light has been shown to provide physiological and physical benefits to both students and school workers. The standard, therefore, is to use natural lighting as far as possible and incorporate artificial lighting where necessary.

In many cases, extensive use of natural lighting may be limited by a building's architectural constraints. This limitation has for years left schools at the mercy of outdated, UV-emitting, flickering, and humming fluorescent lights that not only create visual discomfort but also cause disabling glare.

In schools where daylighting is possible, there has to be an economical and healthy balance of natural and artificial lighting to ensure that the same undesirable effects of glare and visual discomfort are absent.

The Negative Effects of Fluorescent Lighting in Schools

Fluorescent bulbs in schools

Fluorescent lighting is not only an irritant, it can adversely affect people who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy, migraines, and autism. The U.S Department of Energy says that amongst its many effects, this light source has also been linked to a wide range of health problems including blurred vision, fatigue, headaches, a reduction in performance, and eyestrain.

Many fluorescent light manufacturers have claimed that they have eliminated the issue of flickering in their bulbs, but most medical experts feel that the adverse side effects of this lighting technology cannot be removed by a reduction in flickering. Child psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria Dunkley, wrote an article on Psychology Today saying that it will pay to err on the side of caution rather than expose children to lighting environments that can affect them negatively.

Dr. Dunkley stresses that florescent lighting induces a stress response caused by how the light signals hit the retina of the eye. Fluorescents emit a color spectrum classified as 'spiky' which is confusing to the brain's ability to process colors correctly.

Top Benefits of LED Lights in Schools

LED school lighting, unlike fluorescent lighting, can enhance a school's learning environment, helping children to feel safer in school. These lights can also create healthy indoor and outdoor spaces for learning and creative expression and strengthen a school's reputation and brand.

The energy efficiency of LED lights, plus their many other benefits, make them perfect choices for a school's lighting system. They help create an environment conducive to learning and have no toxic materials in them. These solid state lighting fixtures are becoming more affordable, energy-efficient, and sophisticated by the day and are very easy to use.

These days, a lot of emphasis is being placed on the impact of building design on human health. LEDs and their ease of integration with lighting control technology can go a long way towards helping build a healthy environment for all school staff and students.

Forward-thinking, tunable LED lighting is the future of efficient school lighting systems. LEDs with flexible controls and tunable white light help create an ideal learning atmosphere that allows adjustable light color temperatures for optimal classroom lighting for specific activities.

LEDs have a color spectrum that closely resembles the sun's natural spectrum with minimal spikes. Flicker-free LED school lights are better not only for their prowess in lighting, but for the safeguarding of the health of every person in the school.

    The Lighting Requirements of a School’s Classrooms

    High-quality classroom lighting can do more than brighten the learning space and help learners to see better. According to research, well-designed classroom lighting has a positive influence on learners and enhances their well being. Lighting can help increase or decrease focus and alertness.

    The human body has a circadian rhythm that is very sensitive to the light spectrum visible to the eye, especially the blue wavelengths in their varying intensity and levels. This rhythm informs our body when to sleep or wake up, with blue light triggering wakefulness and orange-tinged dusky light triggering the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Learners and staff who are continually exposed to artificial white light rich in blue wavelengths all day and night may develop a lot of physiological disturbances. The effects will range from sleep and waking disturbances, metabolism, eating patterns, mental alertness, mood patterns, hormone production, mood changes, and immune system disturbances.

    Most artificial lighting used in school environments produces more blue light than the sun does at sunset. But some solid-state lighting can be dimmed and tuned to avail circadian or human-centric lighting. This type of lighting adjusts to the rhythms of students in indoor spaces.


    The LED School Lights Ideal for Classrooms


    LED-Troffers and LED Panel-Lights

    LED panel-lights make great substitutes for the existing fluorescent ceiling lights. They are slim, have a straight edge, and require less space to install. LED-Troffers, on the other hand, are mainly rectangular-shaped fixtures designed for modular dropped ceilings. They do need more installation space but have different style options. Older generation fluorescent troffers were always a lighting nightmare. Their low quality of light, coupled with their high maintenance costs and excessive flickering, has quickly seen them replaced with innovative LED technology. Today, a large part of the troffer market in the U.S comprises LED-Troffers and their LED flat panel equivalents.

    A U.S. Department of Energy report stated that LED-Troffer retrofits can save schools 25% more on energy costs compared to fluorescents. These lights have a rated life of 50,000 to 100,000 hours, which translates to lower maintenance costs. LED flat panels and troffers have a 0-10V dimming capacity, enabling the integration of centralized dimming controls and daylight harvesting technology. They also pair well with occupancy sensor units and emergency back -up mechanisms.

    School Classroom

      Lighting Requirements of School Gymnasiums

      School gymnasiums lit by sluggish, old high bay light fixtures force students to wait for them to come on is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Today, thanks to LED school lights, a gymnasium can be instantly illuminated the moment a light switch is turned on. Most school gyms have relied on aged 400W metal halide high-bay lights that are not only inefficient at energy consumption, but also require recurring maintenance.

      MH lamps need a warm-up time of 5-15 minutes to attain their full lighting potential and are often left to operate all day, even when their light is not needed. When switched on, these lamps generate a lot of shadows and dark sports which negatively affect sporting activities.

      Metal halides also tend to buzz and flicker as their lifespan lessens and their replacement costs can get quite high. Gyms have high ceilings and are designed for high-impact activities (think basketball). And besides being venues for sporting activities, many school gyms are multipurpose spaces used as assembly halls and community meeting spaces.

      High-quality gym lighting must be flexible. It must be bright enough for high-intensity sports and gentle enough for meetings and ceremonies. This extremely flexible lighting required by gyms is not possible with metal halide lamps.


      Gymnasium Lighting High Bays

      • Due to their high ceilings, gyms require powerful, economical and energy-efficient lighting solutions. LED high-bays virtually eliminate high lighting maintenance costs.
      • High bay led lights for gymnasiums deliver full light output on demand. They require no warm-up time and have no restrike period.
      • LED lighting eliminates all dark spots and bright spots in a gymnasium with its uniform light. These lights are perfect for lighting up sports events.
      • LEDs are solid state lighting devices and are sturdy enough to withstand the high abuse environment of a gym. They have no delicate glass parts or filament wires that may shatter when hit by balls, objects, or other sporting equipment. These lights have less need for die-cast aluminum housings that shield the older generation lighting fixtures.
      • Sometimes, gyms require dimmable lights. LEDs have a wide dimmable range and work perfectly with a myriad of light control technologies. Their luminosity can be adjusted according to the type of activity happening in the space. Energy consumption can be further lowered through the use of occupancy sensors or daylight sensors which automatically switch off the fixtures when there is no need for light.
      • Great gymnasium lighting should eliminate glare and the blinding effect that reflective gym walls can cause. MH and HPS high-bays used in gyms often require parabolic reflectors to direct majority of the light downwards. HID lights are naturally multi-directional and require these reflectors to shield the light's arc from the spectators’ eyes. TV cameras need higher luminance than the human eye to correctly capture footage. Reflectors must be placed just right so as not to blind the spectators, players, or the fans back home. LED high-bay lights will lessen these rigorous processes and eliminate light pollution.
      • Gyms can be very dusty environments. These areas require dust proof LED high-bays that are not affected by dust like HID lamps.

      The energy saving prowess of LED high-bay lights is extraordinary.

      On their own, they can save up to 75% on energy costs. In addition, they double a gym’s light levels and also have brilliant color rendering capabilities. The most common traditional gymnasium light fixture has been the 400W MH high-bay light fixture.

      A 400W metal halide high-bay consumes 454W of power, thanks to its ballast. If only 24 of these lights are installed in a gym, they will require a whopping 10,896 kW for every hour they operate. Compare this consumption to that of 150W LED high-bays (which make perfect replacements for these lamps). These lights will only consume 3,600 kW per hour. It’s very clear that LED high-bays are built for the modern school gym lighting needs.

        School Gym

        LED School Lighting for Exterior Spaces

        The faculty staff and students need to feel protected and safe when coming in or going out of the school. This is where LED exterior lights come in. The most common LED school lights for outdoor spaces are:

        These three are all LED area lights. LED area lights offer better performance than HID area lights. For instance, LED shoebox -lights and wall-packs work well with photosensors (photodetectors) which switch off the lights when there is enough daylight and switch them back on at dusk. This makes the lights very energy efficient and easy to control.

        LED area lights for schools can also work with passive infrared sensors to detect motion and provide light when it is required. LED shoebox-lights are perfect for areas that need wide-angle, intense light. They are the ideal accompaniment for surveillance cameras, thanks to their high color rendering abilities. They are eco-friendly, energy efficient, and built sturdily to withstand the cold, heat, dusty and wet outdoor environment.

        LED wall-pack lights, on the other hand, are installed on building walls or building perimeters. They are powerful and generate uniform light in a school exterior, eliminating shadows and dark spots to ensure the school is kept safe and secure.

        LED flood-lights are typically used in outdoor sports venues and other areas that require bright, powerful light.


        LED Lighting High School at Night

        Vital Considerations for LED School Lighting

        Glare-Free Lighting

        In a classroom setting, glare can be uncomfortable and distracting. It usually occurs when lights are too bright. Glare is mostly influenced by the environment and the arrangement of the luminaires. Both indirect and direct light play a critical role in the reduction of glare.

        The unified glare rating, UGR, calculates glare from luminaries. It helps determine the likelihood of a luminaire to cause discomfort. The UGR classification is comprised of numerical values ranging between 5 and 40, and low numbers point to low glare levels. In a school setting, glare can be caused by the bouncing of light off reflective surfaces such as whiteboards or screens, leading to eye strain and headaches.

        UGR is calculated by taking into account different factors such as the luminaire's angle, luminance value, and glare likelihood. Any light source with a UGR of 19 and below is ideal for school lighting, especially for writing and reading tasks.

        LED school lights are not just energy efficient, they also don’t cause glare in classrooms due to their unidirectional lighting attribute. They direct light to the target area, enhancing visibility and visual comfort.

        It is worth noting that lights with higher color temperatures have a blue light spectrum that is glare-inducing. LED lights with a high CRI R9 value are more balanced and gentler on the eyes. Additionally, LED color changing panels can be adjusted to mimic daylight as the day progresses.


        Color Temperature Tuning

        Some LED lights don’t have just one color temperature, they have several. They can be easily controlled to suit learning environments. Their light can be changed from bright, to cool, to warm, a feat that was impractical in the past with a single luminaire. LEDs can achieve this without sacrificing their performance and create an environment that’s perfect for learning.

        What Is Color Temperature?

        Color temperature describes the coolness or warmness of a light source. In a white LED light, the color temperature indicates the color tint of the light. There are different shades of white when it comes to LED lighting. Warm white, for example, has a yellowish tint while cool white has a bluish tint. In between these two extremes lies daylight white, the whitest light of them all. 

        LED Color Temperature

        A more accurate system that defines color temperature is the correlated color temperature (CCT) system, which gives measurements in Kelvins. While light has no temperature per se, color temperature can be compared to the effect heat has on a block of metal.

        For example, iron, when heated, changes color according to the temperature it is heated to. When hot, it glows red hot and turns orange as it heats up. When iron heats to 2,700º Kelvin, its glow is yellowish. 2700K CCT is therefore referred to as warm white.

        Higher Kelvin temperatures between 3500K and 4100K are cool white or bright white color temperatures. Daylight color temperatures are 5000K–6500K. Cool light and daylight are excellent for visual tasks because they produce better contrast than warm light.

        Optometrists did a study on the visual effects of color temperature on school children under three different lighting scenarios. In the first setup, they used a 5500K white light, in the second, they used a 3500K light, and in the last, they used a 5500K light at half the intensity.

        Carrying out reading and vision tests, the optometrists discovered that children perform better under lights with a color temperature of 5500K. Under this light, the pupils of the eyes were more constricted, resulting in high visual acuity and better vision.

        With tunable LED lighting, the classroom lights can be set to 5500K for tests then set to 4000K for class discussion or group activities. The 3500K color temperature can be set to calm the class occupants down after lunch or during recess.

        LED lights truly take classroom lighting to new levels. Unlike traditional fluorescent lighting that is controlled by one on-off switch on a wall, and whose lighting has a fixed Kelvin temperature, LED lights are very versatile. For elementary classes, for example, LED lighting can be set to a warm temperature suitable for a nap or relaxation.

        Lighting Control

        LED technology can be adjusted to increase energy efficiency, control flexibility, optical control, and many other capabilities. It is encouraged that LED adoption goes hand in hand with lighting controls adoption. The Collaborative for High-Performance Schools (CHPS) program promotes the best light control practices, such as vacancy or occupancy sensing and daylight responsive light controls in the classrooms.

        LED Controls

        The sensor, for example, should turn off the lights automatically after 30 minutes of vacancy in the space. If the said sensor automatically turns the lights back on, it must perform bilevel switching –which is turning on the lights at 50% or less lighting power. There should also be a manual switch installed at a classroom's entrance to control all general lighting.

        Daylight controls, on the other hand, should be installed where sunlight is present. They should also respond to bilevel switching, continuous, or step dimming processes.

        CHPS lighting solutions also allow the teacher to control whiteboard lighting (if present) separately from the general lighting. The occupancy sensor time delay can also be overridden during written tests periods. Wireless, simple-to-install and easy-to-use controls should be kept in mind when retrofitting classroom lighting.

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