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Air Filtration for Schools – IAQ Affects Academic Performance

By May 11, 2015 17 Comments

Air Filtration for Schools – On any given day, one in five people in the United States occupies a school building either as a student, a teacher, or an employee. The main goal, when considering the air quality in these facilities, is the health of the building occupants. There are numerous factors to consider when considering how to provide proper indoor air quality. Some include:

  • Some classrooms have 25 or 30 students or more. Auditorium and gymnasiums typically have a lot of people in a confined area and hallways become contaminant soups as students change classes. People are our biggest pollution contributors often creating a particle pollution soup that can be additionally frustrating during infectious cold or flu seasons.
  • Locker rooms also present air quality problems based upon increased bio effluents produced when human metabolism is increased. Heavily used rest rooms, especially in primary schools, present air quality problems from a sensory or comfort perspective.Chemicals associated with science laboratories and school cleaning are air quality factors.
  • School buses and transportation vehicles create problems as they idle during student drop-off or pick-up.
  • Additionally, many schools are older and in need of renovation or repair. According to a 2000 U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics report, about 25 percent of U.S. schools need extensive repair or replacement of one or more buildings. Nearly 11 million students attend these schools. Improper building operations and deferred maintenance contribute to poor indoor environmental conditions. Some schools even have asbestos concerns.

Perhaps the most important factor is research that shows an improved environment positively affects academic performance. Air filters that were once considered a commodity primarily associated with protecting equipment, are now an item under performance scrutiny for the protection of students and employees and the associated benefits of improved air. In most school renovations, or new school construction, central HVAC systems are now the design of choice. Multiple stages of air filtration are easily installed to control particulate or even gaseous contaminants. Students and school employees can now have the same filter efficiency as used in most commercial office buildings — MERV 13. This minimum efficiency reporting value as prescribed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) provides particle removal down into the non-visible sub-micron range and removes virtually all visible airborne contaminants. Particles associated with the transport of flu virus or colds can be captured and rendered inactive. Even schools with older through-the-wall type units can apply a higher level of air filtration to improve indoor air quality. Although the equipment is limited by a smaller fan unit, a filter with a MERV of 8 to possibly a 10 can often be applied.

Camfil, the world’s largest air filter manufacturer, can offer assistance in school air filter application. Consult you air quality professional for way to improve you school’s air quality so we may all benefit from better student academic performance, reduced sickness and reduced absenteeism.
Resource: Camfil Air Filters for Schools http://www.camfil.us/industries/schools–universities/

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