Hot Tips (Daylighting Techniques)
Better Light, Better Schools
- By David Velarde
- March 1st, 2017
There was once a time when windows
were primarily viewed as an opportunity for
distractions amongst youngsters. Walk into a
classroom built circa 1970 and there is decent
chance small windows will line the walls.
This was before the benefits of daylighting,
designing to get the most out of natural light,
Of course there is the obvious benefit.
More light coming in through the windows
means less of a need for artificial light, equating
to a lower power bill. Obviously this is
better for the environment as well; however,
the benefits of natural lighting extend beyond
the fiscal. For example, daylighting has also
been shown to increase student testing scores
and performance. Further, artificial lighting
has been found to increase fatigue and levels
of stress amongst students. Day-to-day this
can have a compounding effect, leading to
long-term negative outcomes on our youth. On
top of which, increases in natural lighting have
been linked to higher attendance rates among
students. Ultimately, daylighting leads to a
more positive school environment.
When implementing daylighting techniques,
a best practice is to install reflective
floors to get the most out of the light coming
in; however, it is important to take glare into
consideration as to not distract students. Also,
higher windows are the most effective in
allowing the optimum amount of light into the
classroom. Thoughtfully placed skylights can
be particularly effective, especially in interior
rooms which lack window accessibility. Brightly
colored interiors can go a step further in leveraging
natural light to its fullest potential.
The benefits of daylighting are readily
apparent; however, proper steps should be
taken in the design phase to ensure students
and faculty receive the maximum benefits that
come once you let the natural light in.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.
David Velarde is the Operations director of the Mountain Region for Gordian. He can be reached at D.Velarde@gordian.com.