Why Schools Should Integrate More Natural Lighting
By Torrin Greathouse | June 28, 2016
While many offices, supermarkets, and industrial facilities have begun to integrate natural light, there are many other kinds of facilities that can benefit from it. Schools in particular should take full advantage of the potential advantages natural lighting offers.Below are a few of the ways in which schools can benefit from integrating daylight into their buildings.
Natural lighting is extremely beneficial to the health of students who are still physically developing. Exposure to the natural shifts in light throughout the day helps to maintain students’ circadian rhythms, combatting both insomnia and seasonal affective disorder, which are especially prevalent in high school students. Not only that, but moderate exposure to natural light 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. By improving students’ health and sleep schedules, natural lighting has also been shown to decrease absenteeism so students attend daylit schools an average of 3.8 days per year more than students whose schools rely fully on artificial lighting.
Boosts Learning Rates
Natural light is proven to increase the rate at which students absorb and process information. Natural light both relaxes the body and stimulates learning, with researchers in both the United States and Sweden finding that students are more productive and progress faster intellectually when provided with ample sunlight. One of the studies found that when exposed to natural lighting as opposed to artificial light, students progressed 20% faster on standardized math tests and 26% faster on reading tests than other students.
Maintains Optical Health
Myopia is a rising issue among middle and high school students, with some countries experiencing a rate of up to 80% in middle school aged children. Doctors say that artificial lighting may be to blame. Because artificial light is far dimmer than natural light and often flickers intermittently, it causes eye strain, particularly when students have to focus intently on white boards or text books for long hours. This slowly weakens the eyes and leads to short-sightedness and other vision issues.