• Beth Bahr

LED Light and Classrooms

A school room filled with daylight. Artificial lighting wasn't available till around 1940.

Prior to the 1930's, educational systems were illuminated by daylight, due to the lack of artificial lighting being available. During the 1930's, continuing through 1945, architects were bringing emphasis on the significance of natural air in schools. To ensure the wellbeing of students, more schools began to implement outdoor activities and physical health exercises.

A classroom from 1955-1956, with a Fluorescent fixture hanging above those pictured..

During the post-war boom from 1945 to 1960, architects shifted their focus to lighting, heating, ventilation, and other important elements. This was the beginning of the evolution of fluorescent light options for schools. However, recent research has shown that fluorescent lighting has negative effects. What's the solution? The answer is LED Lighting.

LED Light Fixtures in a modern classroom setting.

By installing new LED Lighting fixtures, exposure to harmful contaminants such as Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) can be eliminated. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PCBs can lead to health effects in the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. Distinctively PCBs can be found in Magnetic T12 Fluorescent Ballasts. If a T12 Fluorescent Ballast leaks or ruptures, it can emit small amounts of PCB throughout its normal use. Schools built before 1979, may still have T12 Fluorescent fixtures. When breathing in PCB a person can show signs of acne, rashes, liver and lung problems.

Another contaminant contained in outdated light fixtures is Mercury. Fluorescent light contains Mercury and Inert Gases. Depending on the type of exposure, Mercury can enter the body through a persons skin or lungs. In the event of a shattered Fluorescent fixture, anyone is prone to Mercury contamination. UV Light can also be linked to Fluorescent lighting. UV radiation can cause cataract formations, Macular Degeneration, and damage to plastics.

LED Light Fixtures have been replacing Fluorescent Light Fixtures to great effect. Lighting plays a significant role in physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development. Starting with motor skills, moving toward how our brain functions and then establishing a relationship with others and even ones self. Lighting effects multiple areas or our lives. It shapes how we sleep, our motivation, our mood and concentration. That is why it’s important to pay attention to the light in schools and change those lighting systems to improve the future of our educational system.

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West Hazleton, PA 18202