LED Lighting for Schools: Making the Grade

Jun 24, 2023

The lighting in a classroom might be the last thing administrators, teachers and even building designers think about. For decades, fluorescents were the go-to choice for most educational settings because they were cheap and generally efficient at illuminating large spaces.

But over time, the harmful effects of fluorescent lights that flicker and glare in a learning environment have revealed themselves: eyestrain, headaches, bad behavior, poor student performance and disaffected teachers. And that’s not to mention the potential health hazards of mercury and other contaminants in fluorescent bulbs.

The lighting experts at TCP have immense respect for our educators — we’re a bunch of light-obsessed engineering nerds, after all — so we’re all for elevating classroom lighting standards. To help make that happen, we took on an extra-credit assignment and put together this report on the benefits of improved lighting in the classroom that often include:

  • Improved student focus and performance
  • Less acting-out behavior
  • Lower stress levels for educators
  • More money left over in your school’s budget

Then we put in the extra effort to shine a bright, sunshiny light on several cost-effective options to upgrade fluorescent lighting with LED lighting for schools that are eco-friendly, easy to install and sure to make the honor roll.

Ready to take notes and learn a few things? Let’s begin!

Impact of Improved Lighting in Classrooms

Students and teachers are under immense stress these days. Between the disruptions of the recent pandemic, low school funding levels and continual pressure to raise standardized test scores, our kids and educators need every bit of support they can get. Poor lighting in schools only exacerbates the situation because of how light impacts psychology and mood in educational settings.

Most obviously, if students can’t see what’s written on the board or a worksheet, they certainly can’t be expected to learn from it. Additionally, the flickering effect of fluorescent light distracts attention while possibly triggering kids on the autism spectrum to become agitated or act out. Then there’s the natural human circadian rhythm that helps us wake up and stay alert when we’re exposed to bright, natural daylight — which is why already sleep-deprived kids and overworked teachers feel sluggish or even nod off under poor, dim lighting.

To put it succinctly, the impact of improved lighting in all school spaces cannot be overstated, especially when those improvements include LED options as a way to upgrade outdated fluorescent lighting.

Benefits of Upgrading Lighting in Schools and Classrooms

The benefits of switching to LED lighting in classrooms and other educational spaces are manifold. Let’s look at the four biggest ways LED lighting impacts student performance, teacher experience and a school’s financial landscape.

Improve Performance and Focus

Kids who feel alert and energized naturally learn better. When there’s clear, bright LED lighting in a classroom, the overall mood becomes vibrant and invigorating. This helps students stay on task while stimulating them to engage and participate with the lesson and their peers. Whether they’re learning vocabulary words, conducting science experiments or completing state-mandated tests, they’ll be more focused and ultimately deliver better performances under elevated classroom lighting standards.

Save Money

If there’s one thing in short supply for all schools, it’s money — and frugality is the subject area where LED lighting really shines! Upgrading fluorescent lighting to LEDs may seem more expensive at first, but the long-term reality is that these star students use up to 90% less energy than incandescents and fluorescents, which translates to lower monthly utility bills. Plus, LEDs don’t emit the heat other bulbs do, which helps keep air conditioning costs down while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere. Furthermore, TCP is committed to helping educators maximize LED lighting savings with rebates and special industry offers. Less money spent on lighting for schools means more money for facility upgrades, classroom materials and extra-curricular activities.

Help Save the Planet

Kids learn more than reading, writing, science and math at school. They also learn how to be responsible and productive adults who can help make the world a better place for everyone. Make your school a role model for sustainable living by choosing eco-friendly LED lighting in classrooms, offices and common areas. You can be loud and proud about upgrading fluorescent lighting to LEDs or ditching those “curly” bulbs for LEDs — which could inspire civics or science class lessons on California’s ban on CFL light bulbs and its implications for public health, utility generation and environmental impact.

Brilliant Classroom Lighting Ideas From TCP

Now that we’ve covered the ways better lighting impacts student performance, teacher stress levels and a school’s overall bottom line, let’s move on to lighting options for various school settings. We’ve got transformative classroom lighting ideas, sunlight-mimicking common space choices, suggestions for your school’s outdoor areas and more. Whether your district is launching new construction, or your maintenance team is looking for dos and don’ts of retrofit lighting in existing buildings, you’ll find inspiration and insight here.

The Best and Brightest: Light That Mimics the Sun

TCP’s SOListic LED light bulbs bring the bright, even look of natural daylight indoors. Choose these for improved lighting in classrooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums and other spaces that need a high color-rendering index without bothersome spikes in blue light.

Head of the Class: Ceiling Panels With Style and Substance

From lecture halls to administrative offices, ceiling panels are a staple of lighting in schools. Make your retrofit upgrade a breeze with the pre-wired, quick-connect technology of our Pro Line Panel LED Luminaires that deliver full-panel diffusion for exceptional light uniformity. Choose our decorative Accents Series panels to customize your overhead lighting with your school’s motto or an image of your team mascot.

Team Players: Tubes With Multiple Light Colors

Get more bang for your improved lighting bucks with our SelecT8 Color Selectable Tubes. These non-flickering, damp-rated beauties let you change from the mood from vibrant and energetic to neutrally bright to warm and welcoming with the flick of a switch. Choose cost-effective tubes with three light color temperatures for versatile lighting in classrooms. Go for the four-color choice to transform a multipurpose room from a debate team practice area to a school board meeting room to a parent-teacher conference space to a calming teacher’s lounge.

Double Major: Lights That Illuminate and Eliminate Germs

Create a healthier environment for students, teachers and staff by upgrading to our PurEssentials line of germ-killing lighting options. These multitaskers include fans that draw air inside where a fully enclosed ultraviolet light zaps airborne pathogens, like flu, COVID-19 and the common cold. The purified air is then recirculated for a fresher environment while clear LED light brightens the day. Mix them into your lighting in classrooms, hallways, restrooms and other high-traffic areas for pure peace of mind.

Safety Officer: LED Tubes With Emergency Backup

Severe weather, utility blackouts and other emergencies can cause havoc in an educational setting. Give your teachers and staff an extra 90 minutes to ensure their students’ safety with TCP’s Ultimat8 LED Tubes with built-in battery backup. They keep illuminating for an hour and a half after the power goes out, allowing everyone to see clearly while calmly addressing the emergency. Plus, the easy-to-reach test button and indicator light allow maintenance workers to easily make sure the lights will work when they’re needed most.

Athletic Support: Stadium and Outdoor Lighting For Schools

Help your school’s student-athletes score bigger with top-quality stadium and outdoor LED lighting options from TCP. From the football field to the tennis court to the baseball diamond to the soccer pitch, your teams will see the LED lighting impact in higher visibility with less glare. Parents will appreciate the improved view of their kids, and the admin will revel in lower utility bills, fewer maintenance fees and a healthier bottom line.

More TCP Lighting Options for Educational Settings

Ready to put your school’s classroom lighting to the test? Check out all the education lighting options at TCP — and contact us today to explore customized facility and classroom lighting ideas that really make the grade!

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