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Indoor Air Quality: Answer Book for Schools

Did you know that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors? The average adult breathes around 3,000 gallons of air a day. This is why the quality of air you breath is critical for your health. Indoor air quality (IAQ) should be one of the main priorities to ensure the health of their students and staff. Poor indoor air quality in schools can lead to respiratory issues, allergies, and even cognitive function. Thankfully, Tremco/WTI Roofing has the answers to your questions about indoor air quality so you can identify issues and remediate problems. Tremco/WTI Roofing has a cooperative contract through OMNIA Partners that can save you time and money when ensuring good indoor air quality.2024.06  Tremco  Blog Image

What Does the EPA Say About Indoor Air Quality?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stresses the importance of indoor air quality to enhance student and staff productivity. EPA recommends regular maintenance of HVAC systems, proper ventilation, use of purifiers, and monitoring of indoor pollutant levels. Good indoor air quality can lead to reduced absenteeism and improved test scores. 

How Do You Evaluate Indoor Air Quality in School Facilities?

Look to the following professionals who can work with you to provide a complete site assessment using state of the art protocols and technology:

  • Certified Indoor Air Quality Professionals (CIAQP)
  • Certified Indoor Environmental Consultants (CIEC)
  • Certified Mold Assessors/Remediators
  • Certified Air-Conditioning Contractors
  • Industrial Hygienists and Engineers
How Concerned Should I Be About Mold?

Mold is a major concern that can negatively impact the air quality and the overall learning environment. Mold poses a potential health risk, especially to those with allergies, asthma, or compromised immune systems. According to the EPA, exposure to mold indoors can lead to respiratory issues, eye irritation and skin rashes, and exacerbate existing conditions. For students, prolonged exposure to moldy environments could hinder concentration, cause absenteeism, and affect academic performance. The areas that are most prone to mold due to high humidity levels and poor ventilation are basements, bathrooms, locker rooms, and spaces with inadequate air circulation. 

What is the Best Way to Continuously Monitor Indoor Air Quality? 
  • Air quality monitors can provide real-time data that sometimes come with accompanying mobile apps or online platforms for data visualization and analysis. 
  • Data loggers are compact devices that record environmental data over time. 
  • Smart HVAC systems can help ot maintain optimal systems to automate responses based on predefined thresholds of triggers. Some modern HVAC systems are equipped with sensors to monitor indoor air quality. 
  • Internet of Things (loT) devices can be integrated into building automation systems to monitor indoor air quality continuously. 
  • Occupancy sensors can detect the presence of occupants in indoor spaces and adjust ventilation accordingly. 
What Role Does HVAC Play in Indoor Air Quality?

HVAC systems provide a pivotal role in maintaining good indoor air quality. Regular maintenance, such as filter replacements and system cleaning, is essential to ensure that the HVAC system functions efficiently. HVAC Conditions Assessments let you know precisely how your HVAC system can become dirty which can degrade your schools indoor air quality. 

What Best Practices Should Schools Implement for Indoor Air Quality? 
  • Improve ventilation! By improving ventilation in classrooms and common areas, you will improve indoor air quality. 
    • Consider installing air purifiers with HEPA filters to remove airborne pollutants and allergens
    • Promote natural ventilation by opening windows when outdoor air quality is good
    • Implement an HVAC schedule that allows for increased fresh air intake during non-peak hours 
  • Regularly clean all surfaces, storage rooms and frequently used areas 
  • Inspect for mold and help prevent it by addressing any water leaks and ensuring proper ventilation
  • Consider incorporating indoor plants to naturally improve indoor air quality 
  • Educate staff and students about the importance of indoor air quality 
  • IAQ testing and monitoring 

Prioritizing indoor air quality in schools is not just a matter of compliance, it’s an investment in the health and academic performance of students and staff. By following the EPA’s recommendations and focusing on the role of HVAC systems, schools can create a learning environment that nurtures both physical well-being and educational success.

About OMNIA Partners and Tremco/WTI Roofing

As your ally in the purchasing process, OMNIA Partners is dedicated to optimizing procurement for your organization. Your free membership provides full access to our portfolio of value-driven contracts, spend visibility, analytics, and subject matter experts. As you consider your indoor air quality needs, consider procuring solutions through a cooperative contract awarded to Tremco Roofing/WTI.

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