Learning with light channels

How schools benefit from the best lighting and intelligent control

The spatial and technical learning environment of students is considered a »third teacher« by those in the field. Especially worthwhile: Daylight-like human centric lighting. ESYLUX lighting systems can be easily configured for this purpose.
They implement energy-efficient human centric lighting, feature plug-and-play installation and are immediately ready for operation with default settings. However, lighting systems with ESYLUX Light Control ELC also allow individual configurations that further improve lighting conditions and energy efficiency – by using light channels in school classrooms, for instance.

The optimum lighting for successful learning in classrooms is a healthy mixture of natural daylight and artificial lighting similar to daylight.

Educational success via plug-and-play

An increase in the reading speed of pupils of more than 30 %, a reduction in their error rate of 45 % and, while we're at it, a 76 % drop in restlessness. Many a teacher may dream of this. Not least at secondary schools, where learning success becomes more and more important as graduation approaches. But despite there being no teaching method that can make that kind of difference, these figures are not just wishful thinking.

Outcome of a study at Hamburg UKE: Dynamic lighting improves learning conditions

These are the actual results of a study experiment at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). 166 students aged between 8 and 16 years and 18 teachers took part in the study, which lasted a good twelve months. The reason for the positive effects was the right lighting. More precisely: dynamic lighting similar to daylight. Especially bright, cold white lighting increased the reading speed of the students and improved their ability to concentrate. Darker, warm white lighting reduced restlessness at other times.

We are talking – of course – about human centric lighting (HCL), which can now be brought into the classroom very economically, using lighting systems with ESYLUX Light Control and SymbiLogic technology. For one, this is because of the simple plug-and-play installation, and for another because of the presence- and daylight-dependent HCL lighting control. Whereas the last ESYWORLD was all about scaling and networking systems in offices, this time the aim is to show useful configurations in the heart of the teaching environment: the classroom.

Configuration A: In this example, the light channels serve to optimise lighting conditions and energy efficiency through offset operation. As soon as light channel 1 falls below an illumination level of 70 % due to sufficient daylight, dimming of light channel 2 begins.

Light channels as the basis for individual configurations

The light channels of the systems form the basis for individual configurations. Two of these are available in versions with integrated SymbiLogic, and four of those without SymbiLogic. All the lights of one light channel are controlled identically, i.e. in broadcast mode. An example of how the channels can be used in a classroom is shown in configuration A. Here, the responsible persons decided on uniform lighting control in the room. Two ELC presence detectors were used, whereby the inside one took over light measurement, as well as two
ELC smart drivers, connected via C0.

In order to further optimise lighting conditions and energy efficiency despite the overall uniform control, lights near the windows and those far away were assigned to different light channels. The lights at the windows are assigned to light channel 1 and are normally controlled according to the target value set. Light channel 2, on the other hand, works with a 30 % offset to light channel 1. This means that the lights further in are only dimmed when the illuminance of the lights at the windows has already dropped to 70 %.

The advantage is obvious: During the day, the inner room zone needs more artificial lighting than the zone by the windows. Were the dimming process to start at the same time for both rows of lights, it would only start when the inner room zone received enough daylight. Because of the separate assignment to light channel 1, however, the dimming of the lights by the windows can start much earlier, with light channel 2 following later. ESYLUX customers are already familiar with this energy-efficient concept from the DUO DALI presence detectors from the COMPACT series.

With default settings, the RJ45 outputs for the main lighting are already assigned to the available light channels in a standard arrangement. This allows the assignment of lights to a specific light channel to be carried out often simply by plug-and-play. With the ESY-App, the mapping can also be changed at any time.

Plug-and-play or easy re-mapping via ESY-App

Assigning the lights to the two light channels was also an efficient process: It was simply carried out via plug-and-play. This works because the light channels are already assigned to the RJ45 outputs for the main lighting in a standard arrangement ex works. This means that the channel assignment is often done via the plug-and-play connection alone. In this example, only the desired offset value had to be set individually in the ESY-App.

Where the channel assignment is to deviate from the default setting, the ESY-App also enables a re-mapping that is as easy as it is flexible. The illustration on the left shows the appropriate configuration interface for this purpose. Incidentally, if there are several similar classrooms with the same requirements in one school building, a configuration like this only needs to be carried out once in the app: It can easily be cloned for the other rooms. As well as this, parameterisation can be done conveniently in your own office and only transferred to the installed lighting system later on the construction site via the ESY-Pen

ESY-Pen and ESY-App enable easy parameterisation, remote control as well as mobile project management and documentation for all ESYLUX remote-controlled products and solutions!

Connection via ELC bus for groups with individual lighting control

But now, back to the classroom. Anyone who read the last issue of ESYWORLD knows that there is an even better alternative to the example just presented. If the two control units are connected via the ELC bus instead of via C0, individual lighting control can be implemented in both room zones. Then an offset is no longer needed: Each of the two groups of lights created in this way ensures optimal lighting conditions automatically.

Configuration B shows how this is implemented. Each control unit now forms its own lighting group with the lights connected to it plus a presence detector. Each presence detector measures the light in its zone to enable the individual control of the respective group. Another advantage of this division: The light channels that were previously used for better daylight utilisation via offset are now available for other configuration options!

Configuration B: Light channels can also be used for manual override by scene. In the example, the lights of light channel 1, in the front part of the room, are completely switched off during a beamer presentation, while the lights of light channel 2 are dimmed to 30 % illuminance.

Application-oriented scenes for individual lighting

Lighting channels are also the starting point for the design of individual scenes that allow the automation in an application to be overridden as required. In a classroom, for example, it would be useful in the case of a beamer presentation to be able to override the lighting in the front area of the room differently to that in the rear area. With one and the same scene, the lighting in the front area of the room where the screen is located could be switched off completely, and the lighting in the back area of the room dimmed by a certain percentage.

In order to realise exactly this, in Configuration B the lights in the front area of the room were assigned to light channel 1 via plug-and-play and the lights in the rear area to light channel 2. This means they can be overridden together, even though they belong to different ELC bus groups. Subsequently, only the corresponding scene with the different parameters needs to be created in the scene editor of the ESY-App.

The configurations presented here show that, with ELC lighting systems, plug-and-play and individual configuration often go hand in hand. In other applications, further configurations are conceivable. As an alternative to the fully automatic SymbiLogic process, the light colour and illuminance in the classroom can also be changed in a targeted manner by scene. And whiteboard lighting can also be integrated into the system via a DALI actuator and switched by scene. If you forget to switch it off – you guessed it – the lighting system does it automatically.

Increasing attention and concentration as well as reducing restlessness are just some of the positive effects that can be achieved by changing the colour and brightness of the lighting. Daylight-like lighting indoors also increases motivation and promotes healthy sleep! For more detailed information on the functions of ELC lighting systems, please visit the Media Centre on the ESYLUX website or go to: www.esylux.com/esylux-light-control