Daylight boosts academic performance

Children sitting on couches and pillows, lit up by the sun

Numerous studies have concluded that the indoor environment in classrooms has an impact on the performance of children. Although there are well known benefits of natural light in general, this new report supports the hypothesis that the amount of daylight in a classroom affects its pupils’ test results

The new study by UPMC / INSERM (Epidemiology of Allergic and Respiratory Disease (EPAR) Department, IPLESP) in France involved 2,387 children across Europe.

The extended analysis, based on a European survey investigating the health impact of school environments on children, found that pupils working in classrooms with larger windows, a higher percentage of windows facing south and adequate daylight control performed better in mathematical and logic tests.

But how can classrooms achieve more daylight?

The most recent results for our renovation project at the Endrup School, in Fredensborg, eastern Denmark shows that roof windows can significantly improve access to daylight in classrooms.

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%.

The main findings from the UPMC/INSERM (EPAR IPLESP) study are:

  • Pupils working in classrooms with larger windows performed up to 15% better in both mathematical and logic tests, compared to classrooms with small windows
  • Children 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

“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.”

Peter Foldbjerg, Head of the VELUX Group’s Knowledge Centre