Lighting : Lighting October 2015 - Vol 35 Issue 5
October/November 2015 | LIGHTING MAGAZINE 19 18 LIGHTING MAGAZINE | October/November 2015 Task-oriented lighting is of particular importance in learning environments, enabling teachers and students to undertake a variety of activities depending on the space that they’re in. Getting the lighting right requires an in-depth understanding of the activities themselves; for example, laboratories require bright light that mimics daylight as closely as possible in order to facilitate visual assessments of research materials and near work that requires a high level of attention to detail. In contrast, the lighting in tutorial spaces should actively contribute to collaborative learning opportunities in which students are encouraged to engage with one another in small groups. While single-use spaces are relatively straightforward, the higher education sector is seeing a significant shift towards multi-use learning spaces that require multiple forms of lighting to meet the needs of users. Mike Day, who leads the Masters of Lighting at UTS, says that in response, the lighting focus has also changed. “I think the days of sort of really full frontal teaching, where you get someone up the front talking for an hour are sort of gone,” Day says. “Once, it was about task lighting only and just lighting the horizontal surface, because that’s where you’re writing your notes. And now I think – and this is true of the workplace, just as much as education – it’s about lighting faces. It’s about communication – someone’s turning around, you’ve got to be able to see them, you’re talking to them, watching their expression.” Daylight is also becoming more and more integral to education lighting plans, particularly in the development of new buildings. According to Lighting for People, an initiative of the Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, existing research points to the impact of lighting on concentration, oral and reading fluency, speed, performance and social behaviour. For Roos, the research is confirmation of what many lighting designers already know: that good lighting should make people interact positively with the space they’re in and the people around them, and that daylight is key to making this happen. “I think in that way daylight is very important, and I think most of the studies also relate to that – that there should be access to daylight, and views to outside,” she says. “So that’s another thing we’re doing often for universities, is daylight studies and glare control, making sure there’s a lot of daylight coming into the building and controlling the glare and making it comfortable for the people working and studying inside.” Lighting controls are being used in novel ways to use daylight creatively and to enhance the flexibility of existing spaces. Lavery refers to natural lighting that’s controlled by layers of moveable panels, screens and curtains, giving users the option of accessing or restricting daylight depending on what’s happening in the space at any given time, while Day says that controls can also be used to manage brightness levels and colour temperature to enhance the user experience of a space. “So general brightness – that definitely helps concentration. But if you want people to relax a bit more, then by using lighting controls, dimmers, then you can create a different, more relaxed ambience,” he says. “You’ve also got to be careful with the colour temperature and just how warm or cool the lights appear. Generally for concentration, cooler is better, and during the afternoon you know we all go through that sort of slump round about 2-3pm. So if you can get a cooler light at that point it’ll perk people up a bit. Introducing some sort of blue wavelength in then it makes quite a bit of difference.” Sophisticated forms of technology like these also come with a sophisticated price tag, putting them out of reach of many educational institutions, but basic lighting plans can be a much more cost effective option. And the benefits they offer – enabling collaboration, communication and optimal learning outcomes for students – should make them a priority for the sector at large. Lighting controls are being used in novel ways to use daylight creatively and to enhance the flexibility of existing spaces. New learning styles have led to a shift in how education spaces are lit. Illuminating faces for effective communication is now just as important as lighting surfaces and workspaces. Daylight has been shown to have an impact on concentration, oral and reading fluency, speed, performance and social behaviour, making it a crucial component of learning environment lighting plans.
Lighting August 2015 - Vol 35 Issue 4
Lighting December 2015 - Vol 35 Issue 6