Back to School – Air Quality for Smarter and Healthier Students
Do you remember the last time you were uncomfortable in a classroom while taking an exam? Stuffy air, headaches, blurred vision, and just.. can’t.. focus! Reading a question several times over before you understand it. Indoor air quality (IAQ), a sneaky culprit that nobody thinks about, could be the cause of this decreased focus.
This article will talk about:
- How Harvard proved green-certified indoor air quality increases cognitive function and test scores.
- Why indoor air quality is critical for the respiratory health of students.
- The ever-growing importance of indoor air quality for preventing health hazards as schools re-open.
- How you can improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools.
Higher Test Scores
Harvard found higher test scores and increased cognitive performance related to green-certified indoor air quality. Harvard did a double-blind test, eliminating bias, by testing a range of subjects and not telling the participants about the air quality before giving them an exam. 109 participants from five different cities were tested in 10 high-performing buildings that exceed The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards for indoor air quality.
Harvard found 26.4% higher cognitive exam scores in high-performing, green-certified buildings.
The exam results found with better, green-certified, indoor air; participants had increased strategic decision-making performance. The participants improved in how they plan, prepare, and strategize for a crisis. These skills are critical for preparing students for higher education and evolving careers in an information-based economy.
Respiratory Health: Asthma and COVID Prevention
A common concern for school districts has always been preventing health hazards. Buildings without data on humidity and temperature are more likely to suffer from mold. Mold is a common cause of allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses. Children may be more sensitive to pollutants, especially if they suffer from asthma. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asthma causes children to miss millions of school days each year.
COVID-19 has presented new challenges for schools in preventing health hazards. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists air ventilation as a layer of COVID-19 prevention to keep children safe during the reopening of K-12 Schools during the upcoming Fall 2021 semester.
How to improve Air Quality in Schools
Having an updated HVAC System improves indoor air quality. According to a survey by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) 54% of school districts need to update their HVAC system.
Indoor air quality sensors. Sensors can be used to detect humidity and temperature in your school(s). According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), keeping indoor air clean and dry reduces asthma culprits such as mold. When sensors are integrated with your HVAC system, the air can automatically be ventilated as needed preventing respiratory sickness.
Increase building ventilation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, increasing fresh air reduces indoor pollutants. When possible, open a window. Alternatively, you could run the air conditioning with the vent control open or run exhaust fans.
Bipolar ionization technology. Contaminants, such as COVID-19, can be removed from indoor air with bipolar ionization technology. Other harmful substances, bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses can also be removed from the air.
Building management system analytics. Monitor the health of your building with real-time data on humidity, ventilation, temperature, pressure, and pollutant levels to protect students. A user-friendly dashboard can reduce confusion and the risk of poor indoor air quality.
Harvard found 26.4% higher cognitive exam scores in high-performing, green-certified buildings. The participants had increased strategic decision-making performance with improvements in how they plan, prepare, and strategize for a crisis. These skills are important for higher education and careers in information.
Schools can prevent health hazards such as allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses with mold reduction through healthy building data. Children are more likely to suffer from asthma. COVID-19 has presented new challenges for schools and the CDC lists air ventilation as a layer of COVID-19 prevention to keep children safe during the reopening of K-12 Schools.
At Unify Energy Solutions, we provide systems and solutions that help to improve and manage your indoor air quality and more. Contact us today and we can help you get started in turning your buildings into healthy environments!