Light Quality in Classrooms

Light Quality in Classrooms

Lighting systems of classrooms influence not only energy consumption patterns, but also the health and academic performance of students. This has been proved by the demonstration project implemented by SPARE-Kazakhstan in 2011-2014 with the financial assistance of Philips.
The statistics shows that up to 75% of lighting systems currently used in Kazakhstan are low efficient since they are manufactured using the technologies of the seventies of the last century.
Every tenth teenager in Kazakhstan is short-sighted, however this figure reflects only the number of children registered at health care facilities. Scientific researches carried out by the Kazakhstan Scientific Research Institute of Eye Diseases disclosed that the number of short-sighted children is about three times larger, while the studies on the influence of lighting in schools carried out by Philips showed that proper lightening of classrooms considerably improves mental alertness and behavior of students. Due to the improved lightening the reading rate of students increases by 35% (from 780 symbols to 1051 symbols), students’ attentions also increases leading to the reduction of mistakes by 45% (from 17,85 to 9 mistakes), while hyperactivity of students decreases by 76% as compared to the classrooms equipped with conventional lighting systems.
Lighting systems of school buildings in Kazakhstan were examined in November 2011 within the framework of SPARE project. Earlier the similar lighting audit had been carried out in the schools of Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. The expert of the project visited 10 SPARE schools the administrations of which gave their consent on carrying out the audit.
The measurements carried out within the framework of this audit showed that lighting of classrooms in most cases does not correspond to the standards set in the regulations
“СНиП РК 3.02-25-2004. Educational Institutions”. According to the Appendix 23 of this document, the level of lighting on table surfaces in classrooms in condition of artificial lighting shall be 300 lux. However, the level of lighting in the classrooms of the studied schools was within 120-180 lux, while in some of them – 40-60 lux. In the majority of schools blackboard lighters are missing. However, according to the paragraph 144 of “Sanitary and Epidemiological Requirements to Children’s Education Facilities”: blackboards shall be lighted by two parallel lighters to be installed at 0.3 and 0.6 m above the blackboard in front of it and faced to the classroom”.
And about energy efficiency which is obligatory according to the Law of Kazakhstan on “Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency”. In conditions of low lightening the energy consumption of classrooms was very high – 600-1,500 w/h. This is characteristic for the old lightening systems installed at these schools during their reconstruction in 2008-2011.
One of the most important objective of SPARE is to demonstrate and promote energy efficient technologies that are able not only to cut energy bills but also to improve the conditions of schoolchildren in schools and protect their health. The light audit was the first stage in discussion of the quality of lighting in classrooms. It provided data on used bulbs and lighters and the lighting levels. The next stage was the implementation of demonstration projects in the three pilot countries (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan) in 2012. The aim of the pilot projects was to demonstrate the benefits of quality lightening to teachers and parents through establishing demonstration classrooms with modern lighting systems and inform decision makers (specialist from governors’ offices, education departments, departments of sanitary and epidemiological surveillance, etc.) about main characteristics of lighting and technical opportunities available at the Kazakhstan market and convince them in their energy and financial efficiency.

The partner of the demonstration project in Kazakhstan was Philips the specialists of which helped to select lighters meeting the national and international requirements to the lighting of school classrooms and designed lighting systems for each demonstration classroom. Moreover, Philips donated lighters of blackboards to each demonstration classroom.
Demonstration classrooms were established at:
- #45 Gymnasium of Karaganda (1 classroom); №45 г. Караганды (1 кабинет),
- #1 Primary School of Shakhtinsk (2 classrooms)
- #30 Oraz Zhandosov Secondary School of Shimkent (2 classrooms).
After replacement of lighting systems the recommended level of lighting was achieved: more than 300 lux on table surfaces and 500 lux on blackboards.
The students and their parents say that eye fatigue of students has been considerably decreased due to the replacement of old lightening systems. The data of school physicians speak about stabilized eye vision among junior schoolchildren.
The data on academic performance of students shows that schoolchildren from the classrooms with improved lighting systems demonstrate higher level of knowledge as compared to others.
Since the pilot schools organize all official events in the well-equipped classrooms the teachers and managers from other schools of pilot cities are given the opportunity to evaluate the benefits of quality lightening.

SPARE Kazakhstan

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