LED-light or fluorescent lamps in classrooms?

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One of our MountEE pilots is right now discussing implementation of lightsource. Some of our experts and leading manufacturers say that by today long-life fluorescent light is more economic in classrooms than LED-light. And I just wonder if you have the same opinion.

Long-life fluorescent lamps have a warranty of 48,000 hours  compared to LED luminaires that have a similar life span (usually given to 50,000 hours) but with higher replacement costs, higher initial costs and very good optics and glare the fluorescent lamps outcompete LED.

Fagerhults, one of Swedens leading companies in terms of lighting, have developed a model for classrooms with only LED uplighting  but say that they cannot see any better solution for classroom than fluorescent lamps considering the higher costs för LED-lamps. The only occasion the LED-lamps can be a better choice is in hallways or other areas where spot lights can be used.

We do have examples of LED-lights in schools giving a very pleasant light quality , however we do not have LCC-calculations on these implementations. Asking lightening manufacturers for advice is not the proper way if we want to have innovations,that is why I wonder if you can help me with your experience:

What are your exeriences with LED-lights in schools? Do you know more about the light quality of LED-lights? Some say fluorescent lamps have a really bad spectrum of light for reading och LED is outstanding. Others say LED is emitting harmful radiation due to transformation of electricity.


Thanks for your response!

One Comment

  1. Dear Jakob,
    I’m Philippe COLAS, and I’m finishing a four-month training with Laurent Chanussot, precisely studying a wide project of renovation of lighting of classrooms in the Rhône-Alpes Region.
    In so short a time, I’ve just prepared the first phase of the operation, and we have decided with Laurent to make our own opinion and experience with pilot projects, which will be realized next year, during summer holidays 2015.

    So, as you, we hesitate between the two technologies, and we expect the results from pilot project case studies. Actually, the LED luminaires are still more expensive than ”T5” fluorescent ones and they seem to consume a bit less and to have a similar life duration, so that it seems difficult to imagine a clear difference in overall cost … But the prices could lower with their development.

    Therefore, in passageways, LED lamps have a real plus, due to their better durability in spite of numerous on/off cycles.

    During my project, I realized that there were very few feedbacks which would enable us to compare technologies. The most significant one is the renovation of all the public school classrooms (250 ones) in the town of PAU (south-west France), where old T8 fluorescent tubes with ferromagnetic ballasts were replaced with T5 ones, electronic ballasts, performing luminaires, presence and brightness detection and management. This won 77 % of electric energy ! You might wonder why not LED : the reason is that it took place in 2007, and so this technology was not yet operational. Now the person in charge of this operation, with whom I talk, would consider the LED option.

    About health, there’s also argument in France about certain kinds of LED, especially blue color ones ; but according to what I know, the danger for some people is receiving directly the light beam in the eyes, especially young children whose retina is not yet completely formed. I’ve been told about toys which would be provided with such lights and which babies hold very close to their bodies … But with a good luminaire, the light beam is not supposed to enter the view directly!
    Of course, some classrooms are provided with LEDs, but as far as I’m concerned, I don’t know any example witch could permit to us to make a right comparison. But I am sure we’ll soon be able to !

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