Factors influencing the state of blinds and lights in primary schools: Behavioural models and opportunities to improve children's visual environment
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The state of blinds and lights affects children's visual environment and comfort, however, there is a significant gap in research on the factors leading to the operation of blinds and lights in primary school classrooms. This study identifies and categorises the main drivers of operations on blinds and lights and investigates optimal light levels for children in primary schools. The study collected measurements of environmental variables, observations of operations on blinds and lights using forms and time-lapse cameras and visual sensation questionnaires in 31 naturally ventilated classrooms in the UK for one year. Results suggest that operations on blinds and lights are influenced by a range of contextual, occupant-related and building-related factors. Behavioural models of blind and light operation in primary schools are developed using the data collected. With regards to children's visual comfort, in the current study, at 730 lux, 80% of the children were satisfied with the light level in their classroom. The findings and models presented in this study could be used by designers of schools to achieve more visually comfortable classrooms. For example, the results suggest that vertical blinds rather than roller blinds may be a better design choice for classrooms as their slats can be adjusted to control direct sunlight but also allow ventilation. The research concludes with a range of strategies for managing the visual environment through operations on blinds to both reduce lighting energy consumption, as well as increase the quality of the visual environment thereby improving school children's health and productivity.
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