Light & learning at schools

Albertslund tests if new lighting designs can improve concentration and the ability to learn.

What was the purpose of the project?

To create evidence-based and useful knowledge about how light in classrooms can support a good learning environment and reduce the use of energy.

Chosen solution

Four classrooms were renovated. Two classrooms facing east and two classrooms facing west. In the four classrooms new light was installed, acoustics were improved, and adjustable external shading curtains were placed on the windows facing east. The light can change intensity and colour temperature. Predefined settings were made. Light according to existing regulation (300 lux, 3000 kelvin).

1: Smartboard.

2: Fresh/focus.

3: Calm/Relaxed.

It is up to the teachers to use these three settings to create different moods to support the various learning situations in the classroom. In two classrooms (one facing east and one facing west) there is a timer on each stetting, changing it back to the standard setting after 30 minutes. In the two other classrooms it is up to the teachers how long they use each setting.

Mixed methods were applied. Both an anthropological approach with observations and interviews and a technical approach with measurements of reflectance of materials, noise, daylight level and simulation of direct sun to choose shading solutions.

We measured and observed the existing situation, which resulted in design parameters. A lighting designer interpreted the design parameters into a specific design. The design was applied to the classrooms, and the new situation was evaluated with the same mixed methods.

Collaborating partners

  • Research: Lighting Design, AAU Copenhagen
  • Concept development: SWECO
  • Manufacturing: Zumtobel Group

Technical specifications

  • Ceiling luminaires: Zumtobel , Ondaria 590 TW 930-960 surface mount
  • Downlights: Zumtobel , Panos Inf. R150 WW CRI 90 4000K
  • Whiteboard luminaires: Zumtobel , Slotlight inf. WW. 4000K
  • Lysstyring: Zumtobel, Litecom

Measurable effects

The teachers’ use of the lighting scenario was studied through a mixed-method approach, combining qualitative research material from observations and interviews, and quantitative data from the dynamic lighting design. The results show that the teachers used the different scenarios and that they created individual patterns for interaction with lighting as a tool for teaching. The parameters were related both to the time-dependent variation of daylighting conditions referring to seasons, time of the day and orientation of the classroom as well as to different teaching and learning activities in classrooms. Both aspects should be considered when designing interactive lighting systems for learning environments, thus creating an engaging tool for teachers.

Lessons learnt?

The triple helix collaboration was very successful, since it gave us the possibility to make a real case study and collect a large amount of qualitative and quantitative data. The analysis of this data has been very time consuming and there is still a lot of valuable data to be analysed and used. Next time we would allocate more time for analysis and writing scientific papers.

Date of opening: Spring of 2018

Visiting info

After arrangement with the municipality, se contact details below.

Other (links, media appearances (TV, Newspapers, etc.))

3 scientific peer reviewed papers:

  • The Impact of Dynamic Lighting in Classrooms. A Review on Methods. / Hansen, Ellen Kathrine; Nielsen, Stine Maria Louring; Georgieva, Diana Zdravkova; Schledermann, Kathrine Marie. I: Springer, 07.03.2018.
  • Designing User Centred Intelligent Classroom Lighting. / Georgieva, Diana Zdravkova; Schledermann, Kathrine Marie; Nielsen, Stine Maria Louring; Hansen, Ellen Kathrine. I: Springer, Bind 229, 07.03.2018, s. 314-323.

These papers are about the pre-project, stating the criteria of the design based on pre-analysis and a literature review on the topic. The connection of these findings to this paper and final design, methodologies and analysis is clearly stated in a final paper, which is submitted for peer review.

  • Sen, S., Schledermann, K. M., Hansen, E. K., Nielsen, Dynamic Light in Class Rooms – a New Way of Teaching 2018. In per review

The unique contribution of this paper is that all the data collected from the final design case study during the previous 6 months, as well as the analysis and findings, are new, so this paper contributes with the absolute main findings of the overall project.

The last data of this project has been collected and analysed in December 2017 and January 2018. The focus of the analysis was the TOCHI special issue, but it was not accepted, so the data was analysed in more depth and the paper was rewritten in May and June 2018 to be submitted in another peer reviewed paper.

MSc master theses at Lighting Design AAU:

Georgieva, D. and Schledermann, K. M. 2017. User Involvement in the Process of Developing Intelligent Classroom Lighting. Master thesis, Aalborg University Copenhagen

”Lys er lærernes nye redskab” artikel ii tidsskrift, 6. December 2017

The future

The approach, to study how dynamic lighting can be used as a tool for teachers, will be scaled up in other projects and studied in other kinds of buildings.

Contact info

Email:      Phone: +4543686742

Classroom at Herstedlund school, where dynamic lighting has been implemented


The three pre-programmed lighting scenarios.


The control panel for hte lighting scenarios.
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