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School Air Quality and Student Learning

With students spending over 1,100 hours in school each year, it is vital that school buildings maintain proper indoor air temperature, be void of air pollutants, and maintain their HVAC systems. In addition, typical school buildings have approximately four times as many occupants as an office building with the same amount of floor space 1, which further compounds the need to cultivate healthy indoor air quality (IAQ).

72°F is Perfect

It has been proven that 72°F is the optimal temperature for learning and comprehending. As temperature conditions in classrooms fluctuate, test scores, memory ability, energy levels, and the ability to focus all decrease. 4 HVAC systems in school buildings should constantly be set to, and able to maintain, 72°F to engage students and keep their attention.

Indoor Air Pollutants in Schools 2

The EPA has consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. 3 Poor IAQ can not only decrease students’ ability to perform specific mental tasks such as concentration, calculation, and memory 5 but there is also evidence that it can irritate eyes, nose, and throat in addition to causing dizziness, fatigue, and headaches. 6 Some common indoor air pollutants that affect school facilities include:

● Biological pollutants from sources including:

○ Plant pollens

○ Mold and mildew

○ Viruses and bacteria

● Carbon Monoxide from sources including:

○ Vehicle or bus exhaust from nearby roads or parking areas

○ Gas Stoves

○ Generators or other gasoline-powered equipment

○ Back-drafting or leaking from furnaces or gas water heaters

● Pesticides used to kill or control pests including bacteria, fungi, insects, and rodents

● Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from sources including:

○ Paints, paint strippers, and other solvents

○ Wood preservatives

○ Aerosol sprays

○ Cleansers and disinfectants

○ Air fresheners

○ Hobby supplies

Take Action 7

1. Have your school adopt IAQ programs

2. Know the signs and symptoms of unhealthy air 8 including sewage or hazard material spills and widespread breathing difficulties, nausea, dizziness, or drowsiness

3. Make school property’s tobacco-free

4. Adopt school bus anti-idling programs

Campbell, Inc. Solutions

Health, performance, and comfort of students and faculty are paramount to our communities and nation. Campbell, Inc. offers a variety of mechanical solutions that can optimize your school building and budget. Implementing a high efficient solution can immediately save your school system anywhere between 10-50% by saving on maintenance and operational costs. In addition, a healthy environment reduces student and faculty absences, thereby maintaining productivity.

Our preventative maintenance programs also ensure equipment reliability, extend equipment life, and minimize downtime. Contact us today and we’ll implement the latest technology for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning for your school so your students can perform their very best!

1. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/schools.html

2. https://www.screenflex.com/classroom-temperatures-affect-students/

3. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/indoor-pollutants-and-sources

4. https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/why-indoor-air-quality-important-schools

5. https://www.iqair.com/blog/new-parents/indoor-air-quality-schools-serious-issue

6. https://teachnkidslearn.com/indoor-air-quality-affect-childrens-ability-learn/

7. https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/in-schools/5-ways-protect-air-qualit y-school.html

8. https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/in-schools/how-to-know-if-a-problem.html

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