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Light and Learning: How Fire-Rated Glass Can Improve Student Performance

fire rated glass in University of Michigan Law School Academic Building

Walking through an open and light-filled indoor space creates visual stimulation, as the rich color and texture of materials in the room stand out. According to Oliver Heath, sustainable architecture and interior design expert, “When we have natural light, it connects us to the time of day, the season, the landscape geography, topography, the flora, and fauna outside. The introduction and maximization of natural light are essential to overall health and wellbeing.”

Because of the health and sustainability benefits natural light provides, urban buildings try to incorporate as much natural light in their structures nowadays. If skyscrapers and office spaces are hopping on this architectural trend, educational facilities should, too.

Having fire rated glass walls and proper site planning throughout the school will increase natural light in the space, boost visibility for staff and students, and improve learning. Most importantly, with the right materials, these glass products serve as protection against the spread of smoke and flames during a fire emergency.

Indeed, a space filled with natural light can improve learning. But how does light affect a student’s performance? This article will discuss the importance of light in learning and the benefits of fire rated glass to schools.


The Importance of Light in Learning

High Tech Middle School

Multiple studies confirm the benefits of outdoor levels of illumination for children. Bright light boosts a child’s mood and concentration and engages cognitive performance and sleep-wake cycles.

Neuroscientist Melina Uncapher shared a study on, stating how in over 21,000 U.S. elementary students, the kids exposed to sunlight during their school day had 26% higher reading outcomes and 20% higher math outcomes than those who were in less sunny classrooms.

While you may think that all kinds of light have the same effect on students, that’s not the case. Working under blue light is the best. Blue light is a kind of visible light with a short wavelength and high energy.

Compared to other types of visible light, being exposed to blue light makes people less sleepy and more alert. Aside from digital screens and full-spectrum LEDs, sunlight is the best source of blue light – not to mention it’s mostly natural.

As such, schools and educational institutions should improve classroom lighting conditions to maximize their benefits for children. Kids spend a significant amount of their days in school, so officials and administrators must ensure these young ones get the best out of their learning experience.

Architects should design the building to accommodate as much natural light as possible to improve classroom conditions. One way to step towards well-lit educational facilities is to install fire rated glass.


How Fire Rated Glass Improves Student Performance

Fire rated glass allows spaces to be bright and open. It can bring natural light in learning areas – influencing the improvement of students’ learning performance – while serving as a defense against the spread of fire and resisting impact from rowdy students since fire rated glass is made of several layers of toughened glass. Here are more ways fire rated glass can enhance your school:


1. Transparent walls

SuperLite II-XL 60 in GPX ArchitecturaL Series Walls and GPX Builders Series Temperature Rise Doors

Having limited windows to the outside world is one challenge architects face when bringing natural light to interior spaces. A solution to this problem is to have transparent fire rated glass walls.

With more ground covered in better lighting, students can have an improved learning environment. By having wall-to-wall or floor-to-ceiling glass partitions, light can pass through from room to room. It also helps blend natural and artificial lighting in spaces deep inside the building, like stairwells and corridors.


2. Energy-efficient glazing and reduced carbon footprint

stairwell with glass wall and door at the University of Utah

Fire rated glass can also cut energy costs by helping buildings and structures conserve energy with the different glazing choices available. There’s insulated glass, tinted glass, low-e coatings, and reflective glass. These types of glazing reduce the heat that enters the school facility. A more advanced option is photovoltaic glazing, an innovative technology that enables the glass to convert sunlight to electricity. This can assist in providing sustainable power to the building.


3. Minimize artificial lighting

Central Michigan University Biosciences Building

Artificial lighting contributes to the school’s energy costs. If an educational facility isn’t built to welcome natural light, designers may be constrained to install as much artificial light as possible to make the spaces well-lit.

However, if there are fire rated glass walls, windows, and skylights, there will be little need for artificial lighting. If the educational institution’s interior design is properly planned, the school may not even need to turn the lights on during the mornings. Imagine the energy that will be saved.


4. Aesthetically pleasing learning spaces

Fire Resistive Butt-Glazed Stairwell with SuperLite II-XLM with GPX Architectural Series Perimeter Framing (Walls) and GPX Architectural Series Doors with SuperLite II-XL

One doesn’t have to compromise aesthetics for security and safety with fire rated glass. Gone are the days when fire rated materials look unattractive and made for code compliance.

Nowadays, fire rated glass seamlessly blends well with the non-rated building materials on campus, as they come in modern designs. Fire rated materials have aesthetic flexibility that allows designers to customize them to match the school’s theme.


Create a Better Educational Space

Students come to school to learn and thrive. If the educational institution doesn’t provide the optimal environment for them to do so, that defeats the purpose of attending school. One way to create a better educational space for students is to use natural light.

Numerous studies have proven the positive effects of natural light on children. When natural light is maximized in school, students can work more effectively and reach their full potential. To start bringing the light in on-campus, incorporate fire-rated glass in different areas of your facility.

SAFTI FIRST is a trusted manufacturer of USA-made fire-rated glazing solutions that meet minimum requirements specified in the IBC and other building codes. From classrooms to stairwells, SAFTI FIRST has the fire rated materials you need. Get in touch with us to learn more about how you can use fire-rated glass to improve your school’s energy efficiency, aesthetics, safety, and lighting.

Do you have a current or upcoming project that needs fire rated glass and framing? Contact us today!