Main Factors Influencing Learning

There are three primary physical characteristics of school design which show significant positive influences in learning:

• Naturalness: Light, temperature and air quality

• Classroom design: Ownership and flexibility

• Stimulation: Complexity and colour

Interestingly, ‘naturalness’ has the highest impact on learning – it accounts for half the impact, while the other two factors only account for a quarter.  This highlights the greatness of the effect that natural light and ventilation can have on students and their learning, thus suggesting we should include sufficient windows, rooflights and natural ventilation when looking at a new build or refurbishment school project.

Benefits of Daylight in Education

Not only does the increased daylight have behavioural and health benefits for occupants, but it also saves on energy output, significantly reducing heating and lighting bills


The Herschog Mahone Group have lead several studies in the benefits of increased daylight in the classroom environment, which have identified a correlation between levels of daylight exposure and academic performance. Their research found that the test scores of pupils in well daylit rooms were an average of 10% higher than those in standard classrooms. Further to this, pupils and teachers in daylit rooms were found to have lower absence rates and improved general health and mood.

Energy Savings

In addition to the many health benefits daylighting provides, significant energy savings can be made:

  • Efficiently-designed and installed daylighting can deliver up to a 75% reduction on electric lighting energy output
  • Improved thermal control allows a further 20% of energy to be saved on heating 

Astonishing fact: The UK’s Carbon Trust estimates that around 50% of a school’s energy output is used heating the building, while another 25% is spent lighting classrooms.

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