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Tungsram outlines ideal classroom lighting

Hungarian lighting company Tungsram claims that LED technology represents the future of lighting in schools in Hungary, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

"Parabolic surface-mounted luminaries with fluorescent tubes are widespread all around the world," explains Tungsramʼs illumination engineer József Bozsik. "The energy efficiency of the fluorescent tubes is bad, they regularly become faulty, therefore they vibrate, and their flux cannot be regulated. It is also bad if the luminaries are old, obsolete and the laminae are broken. If the plexiglass sheets that prevent the light getting directly into the eyes turn yellow with time, their transparency may decrease greatly, only letting 50% of the flux through. This can be fixed neither with cleaning, dusting, nor with the replacement of tubes."

According to Hungarian standards, the minimum level illumination in classrooms must not be lower than 500 lux. However, Bozsik claims that this is only the bare minimum, as visual comfort deserves more emphasis.

Aspects such as glare (no more than UGR 19, optimally even less during drawing), consistency (the same lux amount in every part of the classroom), a high color rendering index (more than 80, ideally more than 90 during drawing), and an ideal balance of direct and indirect lighting, should also be taken into account, according to the press release.

LED technology, paired with new luminaries, is more than capable of satisfying these requirements, according to Bozsik. The angle of lighting, however, must also be taken into consideration in order to avoid unnecessary glare, along with shielding the classrooms from direct sunlight that can affect lighting. Using DALI system regulators can also be beneficial, according to the expert, as it can be used to establish configurations suitable to both darker and more illuminated rooms.

School gyms, however, do not require such powerful illumination, requiring 300 lux instead of the regular 500, says the press release. Still, the protection of the lighting sources is paramount in this case, as lamps often get hit by balls, for example. In addition, the flooring of gyms must also be taken into account, as certain floor types may reflect light in a rather distracting way when not lit properly.

While installing LED lighting might seem costly, the increase in efficiency and the subsequent decrease in energy costs may very well compensate for the initial financial burden, Tungsram claims.