Lighting in school kitchens and dining halls
The fact that there is a huge variety of rooms in schools can make working on lighting projects in these buildings rather complicated. Two important areas in schools are kitchens and dining halls and the lighting in both needs to be designed such that users and workers can see well. The robustness of the devices we use and their energy efficiency levels are additional key considerations.
In this article we will talk about...
- The importance of lighting in school kitchens and dining halls
- The advantages of good lighting
- The lighting in school kitchens
- School dining hall lighting
- Specialist SECOM lights and the company’s Project Development Department
The importance of lighting in school kitchens and dining halls
There are many reasons why it is important to ensure that the lighting in school kitchens and dining halls is the best on the market. In the first instance, these spaces are used by many people on an almost daily basis. Therefore, safety is a key consideration when we draw up our plans. Lighting has an impact on students, teachers and administration or support staff. Good installations can help foster a relaxed atmosphere and healthy levels of communication. Another benefit is that the right lighting can turn these spaces into pleasant places in which to spend time, particularly over lunch.
It is essential that we create comfortable spaces where users do not have to deal with issues seeing properly. Eating and cooking are just some of the activities that they need to be able to do without impediment. Light should be uniform with the luminance falling within the correct range and there must not be any glare. It is also important to foster workplace ergonomics that are beneficial for the staff working in dining halls and kitchens.
Nowadays, we increasingly account for energy efficiency and management, installation operation, maintenance tasks and control criteria in our lighting projects. It is the reason why we tend to use technological resources such as motion sensors, remote controls and devices that allow us to programme our lights to suit the time of day.
Projects must also address ambient and emergency lights. The latter can be key to our safety if we are faced with an emergency or if there is a power cut.
The advantages of good lighting
There are many advantages to ensuring that the lighting in schools is just right, including enhanced performance among students, health and safety and general well-being.
We need to make sure that there is some degree of coordination and coherence across all areas and consider the impact of sunlight and artificial light. Where possible, we must prioritise natural light to respect our circadian rhythm. This has a positive impact on performance and overall well-being. To achieve this, we can factor in windows and skylights and make the most of any natural light.
Furthermore, the light must be suitably cold in areas where students and staff need to concentrate. For example, in areas around cooking facilities. However, it is better to use warmer lights in spaces such as above dining hall tables where we relax and socialise.
The lighting in school kitchens
On the whole, the lights in school kitchens should be 300 lux for general lighting and 500-600 lux in spaces where food preparation tasks are carried out.
Resistance to high temperatures is another important consideration.
There are many solutions to choose from and they range from surface lighting to suspended and recessed lights that come in many different designs. Ideally, their technical features should make them easy to clean.
Recessed lights are fitted into ceilings which can be made of plaster, drywall panels or other materials.
Natural light alone is not enough so we have to install good artificial lights that create the ideal conditions for performing tasks.
We generally use lights that are fitted with special features that make them suitable for the job. In other words, lights that are incredibly watertight or have plastic coverings.
We also need to have emergency lights with a 15-lux rating. This is the recommended level for work surfaces, around switches and in transition areas. Before we install devices, we need to carry out a risk analysis.
School dining hall lighting
When we think about school dining halls, we invariably think of large crowds, particularly at lunchtime. Some dining halls are also used for breaks and other purposes both before and after lunch.
Dining halls are the places where students tend to spend time off from classes and during breaks after lunch. We need to adapt our lighting projects to match their needs. The aim is to create an environment in which we can relax but in which it is also easy to see the food on our plates and enjoy the activities going on around us.
The best option is to install lights with optimum colour rendering index properties (CRI ≥ 90). This can encourage users to eat and helps to make the light seem as natural as possible.
The light over tables should be 200 Lux and there should not be any glare. Combining direct and indirect light can help us see the expression on people’s faces. It also helps avoid creating shadows on the dishes in front of us.
Since dining halls are often multi-purpose rooms, we can turn to technology to help us adapt to the circumstances.
Specialist SECOM lights and the company’s Project Development Department
When it comes to specialist lighting systems in schools, Secom has all the answers. It even has a Project Development Department that can customise our project to achieve optimum results.
The Secom range of products includes several devices that are commonly used in schools, such as:
- Infinit M. Idóneo for large spaces such as dining halls;
- Berna, an indoor luminaire with diffuser, works well in kitchens and dining halls;
- Cubic is a panel with great features and it is very energy efficient;
- Eslme eonlight system is a panel light with excellent features and a microprismatic seal;
- Famialia Aircom is an indoor downlight.
If we want excellent service, efficiency and durability, we really must use top-quality products in our school dining hall and kitchen lighting projects.More in our blog