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LED School Lighting: A Complete Guide

Hear from our experts on Everything LED Lighting

School is back in session! While kids are worried about their first-day-of-school outfits and parents are checking supplies off of their lists, it’s time for schools to make a back to school list too.

Investing in LED lighting can show off your school in a new light, literally! While lighting may seem an odd place to start in improving your school, it also provides improvements in student performance and classroom environments.

Read on to learn more about how LEDs are great for your school’s General Fund, and your student’s success.

Ditch the Light Shades

Due to the already high costs of stocking and running a classroom, lighting can fall to the wayside for teachers and administrators alike. However, it is one of the most important factors to consider when creating a functional, focused, and productive classroom. One workaround teachers use, past and present, is hanging light shades of varying colors over fluorescent lighting to create the best learning environment. However, not only can it be dangerous to hang fabric next to extremely hot lights, there are better, more energy-efficient ways to personalize your classroom lighting. Tunable and dimmable LED lighting is an investment your school administrators should be making in your classrooms and in your students!

Studies: Using Lighting to Improve Student Focus and Grades

There are many articles and claims online stating the positive and proven effects of LED lighting in classrooms. One of the most impressive claims is increased test scores. According to a study conducted in the United States, 84 third-graders reading in areas outfitted with specifically tuned LED lighting performed 34 percent better in oral reading fluency than those with fluorescent lighting.

A similar study was conducted in Korea. Half of a year-four class were placed under fluorescent lighting while the other half was placed under LED lights that were tunable to 3500K, 5000K, and 6500K. This study illustrated that students in LED-lit areas increased academic performance with 6500K LED lighting fixtures and took part in more recess activities with 3500K.

One of the earlier studies in full-spectrum lighting was conducted in 1995. A small group of six-year-olds were watched for their on and off-task behaviors in a classroom, as well as testing their blood pressure changes. When moved from a room with traditional lighting to a room with blue walls and full-spectrum lighting, the researchers saw a one percent reduction in blood pressure and a 22 percent decrease in off-task behavior!

One of the most in-depth studies to date took place in Hamburg, Germany involving 166 children between the ages of eight and 16, and 18 teachers. The researchers installed dynamic LED lighting in classrooms prior to the study. The teachers were able to choose between four settings: normal, energy, focus, and calm. In what turned out to be a great success, the test group showed a 45 percent decrease in errors as well as a 75 percent decrease in hyperactivity and lack of focus when using the calm setting.

LED Color Temperatures for Classroom Activities

Investing in tunable LED lighting for your classrooms is a great way to save money and create different light settings based on teacher’s lesson plans and activities. For classrooms in elementary schools, where one teacher is in charge of the entire day’s lesson plan, utilizing lighting based on time of day and planned activities can help get the most out of the lesson.

One of the optimal, more neutral settings for a classroom is an LED set at around 4200 Kelvin (K). This color temperature lends more towards the white/blue end of the color spectrum and is also an optimal setting for group projects and discussion.

To create an environment for reading and personal focus, you can set the light as low as 3000K to help kids feel comfortable, relaxed, and unbothered by other classmates. Setting the lighting to approximately 3500K is said to be the best test lighting, as it is another neutral lighting option.

For those afternoon slumps after lunch, 5000K is a bright white light temperature proven to help re-energize, re-focus and invigorate students.

Utilizing LEDs in Every Room

LED Lighting for Elementary Classrooms

Based on research studies, using LED lights tuned to warmer color temperatures is a great way to get restless and energetic kids to calm down and focus during the school day. Struggling to get students focused after recess, before a test, or personal reading time? Lighting set to around 3500K has been proven to reduce hyperactivity and create a calm, focused learning environment.

LED Lighting for Middle Schoolers

Teaching middle school students can be a challenging task. This is the age in school when it is common for students to walk from room to room for class, learning in each class with a new group of students.

If your classroom is dedicated to one or two specific topics, consider how you can use tunable LED lighting to make the most of the time you have with the kids once a day. If you are a language arts teacher, using warmer lighting for quiet reading time, and then a brighter white light for test-taking could help improve retention and test scores.

If you are a math teacher dealing with the afternoon slumps, use a white/blue light to keep students focused, whereas science teachers might consider a more neutral, test-taking type of lighting to help kids focus on tasks such as memorizing the periodic table without distractions.

LED Lighting for High School Buildings

High school is a time to put students’ knowledge to the test and prepare them for the next step, whether that be a career, vocational school, or college.

Help your students perform well on tests as they prep for college entrance exams, finals, and more by using tunable LED lighting. A neutral light or brighter, whiter light is best for test-taking scenarios.

LED Lighting for Special Needs Classrooms

Just as each child is different, each classroom serves a different purpose. For children in school with special needs, lighting can play a very important role in their success. The most common light bulb found in schools is the fluorescent tube. These traditional bulbs run very hot, fail quickly, and have a tendency to flicker due to damaged or old ballasts. Researchers have found that people on the autism spectrum are more aware of and susceptible to flickering that is not easy to see with the naked eye. This can negatively affect their behavior, triggering an increase in repeated behavior associated with some on the autism spectrum.

The use of LED lighting in special needs classes helps create a calm environment and reduce the agitating sight of flickering and burnt out bulbs. You can read more about the benefits of LEDs in special needs classrooms on our other blog!

How to Light a Gym with LEDs

LED lights belong in every nook and cranny of your school, from the classrooms to the hallways to the teachers’ lounge. Another amazing place to install LED lighting is in your gymnasium.

Traditional gym lighting often takes minutes to warm up and turn on, is dim, prone to burning out quickly, and costly to maintain. With LED lighting, you will save on maintenance, replacements, energy costs, and so much more!

Testimonials from School Districts Currently Using LED Lights

If you are still on the fence about the benefits of LED lighting for your school, hear from a handful of our past school clients currently enjoying their new LED lighting.

You can find all of these testimonials listed on our website to share with your school board in hopes of using some of your school funds to make the switch to LED lighting.

There is no comparison [between old lights and LEDs] – better for kids, staff and the budget! -Kevin Fiene, Superintendent, Interstate 25 CSD

[We’ve seen] $8750 in savings for a 3-month period even though the average temperature was higher which would have raised the electric bill for additional cooling costs! – Dave Broussard, Director of Information Technology, Grant Wood AEA

[Working with Sitler’s was] easy – we are planning to utilize them for additional projects this coming year. – Lance Ridgely, Superintendent, East Union CSD

We have had savings up to $650/month since the installation on our electric bill! – Carmen Benson, Business Manager, Winfield Mt. Union CSD

The new lighting changed the whole look of our classrooms and gym! – Karleen Stephens, Superintendent, Diagonal CSD

We are satisfied [with the LED lighting]. Staff and students have commented that the lighting is better now than it was previously. – Tony Alysworth, Superintendent, Pleasantville CSD

Sitler’s has the School Experience

Sitler’s has worked with a growing list of 50+ schools across the state of Iowa to improve lighting. We love watching a school transform with lighting alone and hearing about the positive feedback from both students and teachers alike.

All of our evaluations and proposals are free of charge, and we are experienced at meeting with school board members and attending meetings to answer questions. Reach out to us by phone at 800-426-3938 or email today to get started.