Monday, September 5, 2016

Natural Light in Schools: Architectural Resource for Daylighting

Driven by a host of benefits, natural light (or daylighting as it is often called) is a logical choice in educational settings. Using natural light in schools has been shown to have a host of benefits that include health, learning, financial, cultural, and environmental factors. Reducing the amount of energy used for lighting is good for the environment while at the same time it reduces costs. It also offers improved health and enhanced academic performance. Despite the plethora of proven benefits there are still relatively few educational establishments that employ natural lighting. 

A free e-book from Ciralight explains what daylighting is and goes on to explain why architects should embrace it and how to select the right daylighting systems for each specific project.

We have seen the proliferation of daylighting in offices, supermarkets, and industrial facilities however, nowhere is natural light more useful than in schools.


The health attributes of daylighting include helping students to maintain their circadian rhythms. This combats both insomnia and seasonal affective disorder. Two common problems with high school students. Exposure to natural light also increases the body’s production of vitamin D, helping to boost the immune system and protect against conditions such as pre diabetes, rickets, and some autoimmune diseases. These factors in turn decrease absenteeism by an average of 3.8 days per year more compared to students whose schools schools use only artificial lighting. Natural light may even help to reduce skyrocketing rates of myopia (short-sightedness) and other vision problems, which some doctors attribute to eye strain caused by artificial light.


Daylighting may even help students to learn more and perform better. This is evidenced by the propensity of student's exposed to natural light to get better grades. It would appear that daylighting helps students to absorb and process information. By relaxing the body natural light stimulates learning. These findings have been independently corroborated in both US and Swedish research. Students whose schools employ daylighting are more productive and progress faster intellectually than students who learn under artificial lighting. One study sited by Ciralight suggests that students progressed 20 percent faster on standardized math tests and 26 percent faster on reading tests than other students.

If you want to learn more about the benefits offered by natural lighting click here to download the eBook The Power of Daylighting Systems in Building Design. This book gives makes the case that architects need to consider daylighting early in the design process. It also offers specific lighting strategies. The book addresses the latest technologies that can be used to maximize natural light and minimize the use of electricity.

Make sure to see the article titled, "Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources." It contains links to over 325 articles covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics, student eco-initiatives, green school buildings, and college rankings as well as a wide range of related information and resources.  

Green School Buildings Environmental Benefits
Green School Buildings: The Many Benefits of Ventilation
Green School Census
Green School Buildings Health and Performance Benefits Part 1
Green School Buildings Health and Performance Benefits Part 2
The Future of Green School Buildings

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