Daylight Boosts Academic Performance


An extended analysis, based on a Europe-wide survey investigating the impact of school environments on children, has found that the quality of daylight conditions in classrooms have a significant effect on the pupils’ academic performance. Following these results, the VELUX Group believes that better daylight conditions should be considered alongside energy efficiency by public authorities.

The research, carried out in France by UPMC / INSERM (Epidemiology of Allergic and Respiratory Disease (EPAR) Department, IPLESP), found that the ratio of the window area to floor area of a classroom, a measure of how ‘big’ the windows are for a given room size, had a significant impact on the test results of the pupils. Scientists concluded that pupils working in classrooms with larger windows could perform up to 15% better in both mathematical and logic tests, possibly due to an abundant supply of daylight and feeling less ‘closed in.’

Furthermore, the researchers found that pupils in classrooms with a higher percentage of windows facing south and adequate window shading scored higher in the test results, suggesting that it is important to invest in systems to control daylight and glare, when needed.

Although previous studies have covered the benefits of daylight in general, this European study concludes that access to more daylight through larger windows has a positive impact on the test results of children. Combined with recent studies on the importance of good air quality in buildings, we expect that the conditions of a school’s indoor environment will be higher on the agenda from now on,
says Isabella Annesi-Maesano, Research Director of EPAR at Pierre Louis Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health, INSERM/UPMC.

The study included 2,837 children (9-12 years old) in 148 classrooms from 54 schools across Europe. All of the children took the same mathematical and logic tests at the beginning of the school day.

Here at the VELUX Group we have long understood the impact that daylight has on the well-being and productivity of people. That’s why we have spent 75 years creating better living and working environments for people all around the world using daylight and fresh air. The findings of the study support our own work at Endrup School and Langebjerg School, both in Denmark, which found that the introduction of roof windows can combine the need for energy efficiency and a good indoor climate. The roof windows significantly increased the amount of daylight in each room, resulting in happier and more productive pupils and teachers, 
says Peter Foldbjerg, Head of the VELUX Group’s Knowledge Centre.

In practice – Endrup School
In addition to these results, the VELUX Group has also released updated research on its renovation project at the Endrup School, in Fredensborg, eastern Denmark. By installing roof windows in each of the preschool classrooms, the rooms now achieve 3.7% - 5.7% average Daylight Factor, the most commonly used performance indicator to evaluate daylight availability in buildings, compared to the average results before renovation of 0.8% – 1.1%. Furthermore, from January to June 2015, the two renovated preschool classrooms reduced their probability to switch on the electrical lighting by 55%, becoming more energy efficient as a result.

To read more, the UPMC/INSERM (EPAR IPLESP) study, ‘Impact of Lighting on School Performance in European Classrooms’ is now available.


About the European survey
The importance of daylight in schools for academic performance results are from an ancillary project of the SINPHONIE project, the Schools Indoor Pollution and Health: Observatory Network in Europe, a complex research project covering the areas of health, environment, transport and climate change and is aimed at improving air quality in schools and kindergartens. The project is implemented under a European Commission service contract of the DG Sanco. 36 environment and health institutions from 25 countries are participating in the SINPHONIE research project in order to implement Regional Priority Goal III (RPG3) of the Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE), which is to prevent and reduce respiratory disease due to outdoor and indoor air pollution.

About the VELUX Group

About the VELUX Group

For more than 80 years, the VELUX Group has created better living environments for people around the world; making the most of daylight and fresh air through the roof. Our product programme includes roof windows and modular skylights, decorative blinds, sun screening products and roller shutters, as well as installation and smart home solutions. These products help to ensure a healthy and sustainable indoor climate, for work and learning, for play and pleasure. We work globally – with sales and manufacturing operations in more than 36 countries and around 11,000 employees worldwide. The VELUX Group is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by non-profit, charitable foundations (THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS) and family. In 2022, the VELUX Group had total revenue of EUR 2.99 billion, VKR Holding had total revenue of EUR 4.29 billion, and THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS donated EUR 181 million in charitable grants.

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