Color Tuning Lighting in Schools (Video)

Published April 2021

Color tuning lighting technology in schools, especially Special Education classrooms, have significant positive benefits for students and staff.

*Please note: colors are highly saturated to highlight full spectrum and tunable range

“The enhancement of human performance requires the optimum environment” and “educators must recognize the fact that surroundings are never neutral.”

Illuminating the Effects of Dynamic Lighting on Student Learning

Benefits of Color Tunable Lighting in Schools

When you think of the benefits of LED Lighting, you may think about better light levels, or even the energy savings, but have you considered the value of these technologies in an education setting? Did you know that Special Needs Classrooms are installing color-tuning lighting controls with such enthusiasm because of the positive benefits they see in their students and staff regarding performance, attendance, mental health and productivity?

Multiple studies report that improved LED lighting and color tunable lighting, which can be adjusted based on the tasks happening within the classroom, improve the learning environment for teachers and students. Reports indicate improved grades and test scores, increased attendance, and reduced teacher turnover.  

Multiple studies also reference special needs students and some student’s sensitivity to light. Color-tunable lighting has proven positive results with the ability to customize the light color and levels in the classroom, improving the atmosphere and learning environment. The ability for the teacher to adapt and adjust the color and light levels on demand make the learning environment more enjoyable and productive for all.

This study by the Department of Energy, focusing on a lighting retrofit at a school in Union City, CA, shares feedback from the staff on the controllability and tuning.

Color Tunable Lighting - Blue Fully Saturated

“Special education teachers were especially enthusiastic about the potential of the system to support the needs of their vision-impaired and autism-spectrum students who have sensory stimulation needs.”

Luminaires for Advanced Lighting in Education

The summary of findings from this particular study also discussed the overall level of interest from high-level administrators.

“The potential to use the system in alignment with children’s alertness cycles, an area of growing interest in education circles, garnered substantial interest from the group.”

Luminaires for Advanced Lighting in Education

In another study from the Department of Energy, Evaluating Tunable Lighting in Classrooms, the advanced lighting controls were studied in 3 classrooms, 2 of which were used to educate students diagnosed with ASD.

Color Tunable Lighting - Pink Saturation

“The potential to improve student health and academic performance, especially in ASD classrooms, was one of the motivating factors that prompted FCUSD to install the tunable lighting system in the ASD classrooms. Additionally, FCUSD and SMUD wanted to gain firsthand experience with tunable LED lighting systems in case future evidence confirms the positive effects on student achievement.”

Evaluating Tunable Lighting in Classrooms

In an article titled, “LED Lighting Saves Money and Helps Autistic Students,” particular attention was paid to student health and academic performance, particularly in ASD classrooms, in reference to color tuning lighting. Teachers were curious to see the impacts for their autistic students who often struggle with sleep/wake cycles and present sleep problems.              

“Teachers used the “Calm” setting on the LED lighting system to change classroom light to a low level with warm color temperature. The “Calm” setting was used at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm as a schedule cue for students to redirect their attention to a new classroom activity. The “Energize” setting emits moderate to high levels of light with a cool color temperature and was almost never used by the teachers in the autism spectrum disorder classrooms because the color and intensity of light was uncomfortable”

LED Lighting Saves Money and Helps Autistic Students