Lighting is a critical element in the school environment.
Lighting can influence behavior1,2, satisfaction3, psychological
responses to a space and task performance , communication and
interest , visual comfort and safety and security, while defining
space and architecture.
Learning environments have changed dramatically over the past
several decades. Not only have teaching methods and technologies
evolved, so has our understanding of what makes good lighting,
which should be delivered within tightening code constraints.
Classroom lighting should support the educational experience by
providing a comfortable, attractive environment for students and
instructors. While target illuminance on task surfaces is
important, it is now understood that how light is distributed to
reduce glare and shadow is even more important for visual comfort
and task visibility.
Educators are using new methods. According to American
Digital Schools 20087, education trends to watch include
computerized classrooms and adoption of interactive whiteboards,
which display projected media. All public K–12 schools now have
Internet access, and the number of students per computer with
Internet access dropped 75% percent from 12% in 1998 to 4% in 2005.
Lighting originally designed for black chalkboards and a single
horizontal task plane is clearly inadequate for hi-tech learning
environments, which have particular lighting requirements.
The above lighting demands should be met on a leaner energy
budget. Education buildings consume some 109 billion kilowatt-hours
(kWh) of electric energy (per year), of which 33 billion kWh, or
about 30 percent (30% of electricity, 14% of electricity + other
fuels), is allocated to lighting. This lighting energy consumption
translates to 11 kWh per square foot, or $0.82 per square foot at
an average utility cost of $0.075 per square foot.
A significant number of schools are being built according to
sustainable design principles as defined by green building rating
systems, such as daylight and energy efficiency. Energy standards
are restricting lighting power allowances and mandating a growing
list of lighting controls in schools and universities.
This Recommended Practice was developed to enable school and
college administrators to understand the importance of the role
that lighting plays in educational environments, to be able to
convey to architects and other designers the needs for appropriate
provisioning of lighting, and enable architects, engineers,
lighting designers, and other lighting decision-makers to ensure
that their lighting criteria are consistent with good current
practice. It addresses all levels of education, from preschool to
continuing professional development.