The White Light Debate in Public Schools

For years, data has accumulated on the potential benefits of lighting for the human body. This has proven to be particularly true for children, with lighting affecting their moods and learning potential. Because of this, it’s important that schools are properly lit to create the best environment for learning and developing.

One of the issues with standard light sources is their rigidness. Research shows light-sources should be tuned to specific settings in order for students to reap the benefits. Recently, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District (CFB) in Carrollton, Texas, installed widespread LED systems in some of the classrooms in its district, and invited the U.S. Department of Energy to observe its effects.

These LEDs were installed on a trial basis to assess their effects on student performance and mood. For years now, LEDs have been deployed in specific situations to influence group behavior; but would they help in the classroom?

Installed before the 2016-2017 school year, the LED systems boasted an array of settings and types. This study put the controls in the teachers’ hands, and while each used the settings differently, all of their feedback was positive. Teachers consistently told the DOE that the light setting noticeably influenced students’ moods.

However, it was clear from these interviews that teachers did not use the light settings to their full extent. This seemed to be a simple side effect of the technology being so new, as well as so rarely used by the general public.

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