Lighting is obviously a small part of the overall school environment. But the condition of the school can improve a students’ grades by up to 17 percentile points (report)
Over half of students with Special Educational Needs say that lighting can be a problem for focus and concentration (report)
They are twice as likely as other students to be bullied (report)
. They struggle more than average with sleep disruption and depression (report).
And, by the time they reach 27, they are 25% less likely to be in sustained employment and 3.7 times more likely to be on out-of-work benefits than their peers (report)
Better-quality lighting can help.
The ‘diet of light’ during the day (particularly bright light in the morning) affects quality of sleep at night (report)
This in turn is vital for learning. Not only does a sleep-deprived person have trouble focusing, the process of consolidation during deep is fragmented so it’s harder to retrieve the information (article)
Sleep is also vital for physical growth – the cortical area alone increases over 40% from birth to adulthood (report)
, it’s also important for hormone regulation and physical repair (report)
. Bright light is as effective as drugs, perhaps more so, in treating the depression that so many of those students struggle with (report and report)
Lighting also affects their ability to see: eyes grow 60% from birth to 18 and exposure to daylight can cut their chances of needing glasses by up to 40% (report)
. Children with vision issues are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD (report)
Even if the learning arguments don’t cut it, an investment in better lighting can be justified on cost and energy efficiencies alone.
Schools are inefficient (energy rating D or below) and lighting makes up to 20% of their electricity bill (report)
. Simple occupancy sensors can cut energy use by up to 55% (article), cheap panels cost around the same as expensive ones per hour over time.
And the product itself can be as little as half the final installed cost (interview)
Together, we can make the case for lighting. It may even become the ‘new normal’.