Better Lighting Equals Better Learning

Intuitively, we all know that children learn best in a healthy environment, but sometimes it can be difficult to measure exactly what a healthy environment looks like. Here at Earth Day Network, we constantly strive to make the vision of green schools as clear and straightforward as possible. Recently a study has bee published that makes our task a bit easier. Philips SchoolVision and the University of Mississippi have worked together to show that dynamic lighting improves student (and worker) productivity because it also improves their mood.

The study took place at the Saltillo Elementary School in Saltillo, Mississippi. In this experiment, eighty-four third graders were placed in four different classrooms, each containing one of two lighting settings – standard and dynamic. The results showed that the students who were placed in the classrooms with dynamic lighting had a 33% increase in performance. Coke Magee, the principal of the Saltillo Elementary school, believes strongly in the idea that technological innovations are key ways to help the students reach their full potential.

Dynamic lighting is essentially a lighting system that mimics the effects of natural lighting. With a dynamic lighting system, schools can utilize four different light settings, each one specifically calibrated for different types of classroom activities. For instance, while the highest intensity light with a cool color tone supports student concentration during test taking, lighting with a standard intensity level and a warm color tone can be used to calm a class down after recess. This type of lighting has already had great success in Europe, and we are excited for it to be incorporated into the American green schools landscape. The trick, as always, is application. Dynamic lighting systems are not inexpensive, and require significant foresight, leadership and community support in order to be implemented. Please make your voice heard, join our online community of green schools advocates and learn more at www.earthday.org/education.