Creating Healthy Schools: The Benefits of Natural Lighting and Ventilation

In the pursuit of creating optimal educational environments, the integration of natural lighting and ventilation has proven to be transformative. At Solatube, we are committed to enhancing the health and well-being of students and educators through our advanced daylighting and ventilation solutions. Our journey has shown that these elements are not just enhancements but essential components of a healthy school environment.

solatube skylights installation into commercial school roof

Illuminating Minds and Spaces: The Science Behind Natural Light

The benefits of natural lighting in educational settings are well-documented. Numerous studies highlight its positive impact on physical well-being, mood, and cognitive function. The Heschong Mahone Daylighting Study, which tested over 21,000 students, found a dramatic correlation between daylit school environments and student performance, including:

  • 20% faster progression in maths
  • 26% faster progression in reading
  • Up to 10% increase in general academic performance

These findings are not just statistics but a testament to the power of daylight in shaping the minds of future generations. Solatube skylights, engineered to inhibit damaging UV radiation and provide a natural and efficient light source, ensure visual comfort and UV safety, creating an optimal educational environment.

Additionally, the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Schools report outlines the benefits of daylighting in green schools, sharing practical experiences of ministers, education departments, principals, and teachers in embracing the Green Star – Education rating tool. Solatube Daylighting Systems comply with Government regulations for green building and can help a project attain points towards Green Star certification.

20% faster progression in maths, 10% increase in overall performance, 26% faster progression in reading

From Concept to Classroom: The Solatube Difference

Traditional skylights have long presented challenges to schools seeking to incorporate natural light. Solatube’s tubular skylights, however, redefine the possibilities of daylighting technology. By capturing sunlight at the rooftop and channelling it through highly reflective tubing, Solatube skylights evenly diffuse light across classrooms without the need for significant structural modifications. This innovation ensures that every student, regardless of their classroom’s location, enjoys the full spectrum of natural light.

Solatube skylights use INFRAREDuction technology, ensuring the highest light performance and energy efficiency. Our quality skylight tubing minimises heat in summer and prevents heat loss in winter, unlike low-quality alternatives which perform poorly and lack durability. The reflecting tube technology maximises the amount of light that reaches your interior spaces, ensuring every corner is illuminated.

Architects like Chris Oakley have noted the profound impact of Solatube skylights on educational facilities. “The use of Solatubes allowed us to bring natural light into what is a deep plan building. This meant that people within the central core of the building still could enjoy the benefits of natural light, with minimal loss of colour rendition, which is so important for teaching spaces.”

What Solatube Offers

Solatube’s patented technology allows educational facilities to achieve standards that competitors simply can’t meet:

  • Controllable Light Levels: A Solatube Daylighting System is fully controllable with dimming capabilities that allow the level of natural lighting to be adjusted on demand from 100 percent down to 2 percent to accommodate activities such as watching movies or presentations.
  • Purpose Designed: Solatube daylighting systems restrict whiteboard glare as they are fitted with specially designed diffusers.
  • Building Code Compliance: Solatube daylight devices are compliant with Section J of the Australian building code. Thermal performance is optimised by restricting heat from entering the classroom, and at the same time, restricting heat from escaping the classroom.
  • Energy Saving: Energy costs can be significantly cut by reducing or eliminating the need for electric lighting during school (daylight) hours.

Ventilation Meets Innovation: Introducing the V-Aero 550 Solar Star

The conversation around healthy educational environments extends beyond natural lighting to include the air we breathe. Solatube’s V-Aero 550 Solar Star represents a pivotal advancement in creating environments conducive to learning through efficient, natural ventilation. This commercial-grade roof ventilator leverages solar power to enhance air circulation and quality within educational facilities, aligning with principles of performance and sustainability.

To maximise the effectiveness of classroom ventilation, schools can pair the V-Aero 550 Solar Star with the Solatube Whole House Fan. The Whole House Fan quickly removes stale air and replaces it with fresh, clean air within 10-15 minutes, ensuring that classrooms maintain a healthy and invigorating atmosphere essential for learning.

With four models that can be used alone or combined for any size building or number of zones, these fans offer a refreshing alternative to air conditioning without the high energy costs or accompanying noise level.

When used in tandem, the Solatube Whole House Fan and the V-Aero 550 Solar Star create a powerful ventilation system. The Whole House Fan effectively pulls stale air from the building, while the V-Aero 550 Solar Star expels this air out of the roof cavity, reducing reliance on artificial cooling systems and lowering energy consumption. This process of active ventilation ensures a continuous exchange of air, maintaining a fresh and invigorating atmosphere essential for maintaining focus and facilitating effective learning.

Solatube solar roof ventilation installation cooling roof space above happy kids in classroom

The True Investment: Enriching Education and the Environment

Embracing natural lighting and ventilation in schools transcends immediate educational benefits, aligning with broader environmental sustainability goals. By reducing dependence on artificial lighting, schools can significantly cut down on electricity consumption and associated carbon emissions, contributing to a greener planet. Advanced daylighting solutions like Solatube’s can reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day to less than 10% of the time, thanks to the consistent and adequate illumination levels achieved by natural light alone.

The savings from reduced energy and maintenance costs can be redirected to enhance educational programmes, making this a financially sound and morally compelling decision. Incorporating natural light and ventilation in schools is an investment in the future—a future where educational excellence and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.

Lighting the Way for a Brighter Future

As we continue our mission of enriching educational environments, we invite educational institutions to explore the transformative potential of natural lighting and ventilation. Together, let’s create learning spaces that inspire, nurture, and sustain both the mind and the planet.

For more information on how Solatube can help create healthier, more sustainable educational environments, visit our Commercial skylights page.

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