Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Green School Buildings: The Many Benefits of Natural Lighting

The use of natural light in green schools benefits students, teachers and administrators. By reducing energy requirements, natural light also offers an environmentally friendly means of bettering the bottom line.

The sun provides higher light levels than traditional lighting while reducing energy costs. Natural light affords excellent illumination of educational materials and this appears to improve test scores. A well known school-building study, completed by the Heschong Mahone Group, identifies test scores 7-26 percent higher for schoolchildren in classrooms with plentiful natural light than for those in classrooms with little or no daylight.

A study from Alberta Education, titled A Study into the Effects of Light on Children of Elementary School Age indicates that natural light does have a positive effect on health and on rates of achievement. Children in classrooms with a natural spectrum of light including trace amounts of UV radiation had 1.75 fewer cavities than children in schools with traditional lighting. Children exposed to high pressure sodium vapor lighting were absent 3.2 days per year more than students in classrooms with full spectrum light.

The Alberta Education study also linked scholastic achievement to natural lighting. Students exposed to high-pressure sodium vapor lighting demonstrated the poorest rate of academic achievement.

A Sacramento California study titled, Light Helps Pupils Learn, is one of the largest ever done on natural light in schools and it suggests children learn faster and do better on standardized tests in classrooms with more daylight. Learning rates were 26 percent higher in reading and 20 percent higher in math in rooms with more daylight.

Windows let in light and when opened they provide natural ventilation. Windows also provide visual access to the outdoors, from morning to night and season to season, this is important to our circadian rhythms and our sleep cycles.

Ideally natural light in a green school lets in light without glare, while preventing overheating and excessive UVs.

Cost efficiency, energy reductions, improved scholastic performance and health benefits make natural lighting a logical choice.

Related
Green School Buildings: The Many Benefits of Ventilation
Green School Census
Green Buildings Combat Climate Change
Green School Buildings Health and Performance Benefits Part 1
Green School Buildings Health and Performance Benefits Part 2
The Implications of the Growth of Green Buildings
Top 10 Green Building Trends for 2010
New York's Leed Certified Universities
LAUSD Green School Building Initiatives
Da Vinci Arts Middle School in Portland
The Future of Green School Buildings
Green School Rejuvenates Dying Town
Green Building Environmental Benefits
Green Building Economic Benefits
Green Building Social Benefits
China Turns to International Community to Learn about Green Buildings
CleanEdison Building and Design Courses
The Green Building Focus Conference and Expo
Environmental Revolution: Building and Operations
Green Stimulus Part 2: Basic Elements
Oakland's Green Jobs and Energy Initiatives

1 comment:

Robert Binford said...

Daylighting design or skylight systems should be implemented to schools across the country. When it comes to the benefits of using natural lighting … saving electric bill and its effect to the environment are as far as I know. If study shows that they results to improved scholastic performance and provides health benefits then let us make natural lighting brighten every schools, hospitals and government agencies. Hopefully they would also improve every agencies performance and cause increased patience of every citizen waiting for a very long period of time.