Want to Improve Your School’s Health and Productivity? Focus on IAQ

Want to Improve Your School’s Health and Productivity? Focus on IAQ!

Optimal indoor air quality (IAQ) is important for any facility. But nowhere is it more important than in schools, which have four times as many people per area of floor space as other facilities and office buildings.

Indoor Air Quality Matters! Air pollution is classified as a Group 1 human carcinogen. Outdoor pollution and unfavorably low IAQ lead to health problems such as heart disease, cancer, serious respiratory conditions, as well as memory problems and trouble concentrating. Shockingly, harmful indoor particles, as well as outdoor pollutants that seep indoors, are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide (4.3 million deaths worldwide in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.)

Ensuring healthy indoor air quality in your school will not only help contribute to a productive learning environment, but will also benefit your school by:

  • Reducing school closings

  • Reducing the number of sick days for your teachers and students

  • Reducing liability

  • Improving your school’s energy efficiency

  • Maintaining good relationships and avoiding unwanted publicity

Want to make a difference at your school? The following guidelines will help you keep IAQ at healthy levels. Focus on Cleaning Focusing on cleaning and maintenance at your school will help you protect the building and its students, teachers and staff. Use green cleaning products to ensure that fewer unhealthy contaminates are released into the air. Also, follow best practices such as using vacuums with high-efficiency filters, placing floor mats at your school’s entrances to reduce dust, and maintaining your school’s cleaning supplies. Maintain Your HVAC System An efficient, well-maintained HVAC system is critical for providing optimal IAQ in schools. An optimally functioning HVAC system reduces the pollutants that cause substandard IAQ, while ensuring odor control and proper outdoor ventilation. Besides contributing to a healthy school environment, HVAC maintenance can also reduce a school’s costs by saving energy. Manage Mold and Moisture Molds produce toxins that drastically reduce the safety and conduciveness of any learning environment. It damages building materials, causes discoloration and odor, and can lead to asthma and allergic reactions. To manage and improve mold problems at your school, consider conducting routine moisture inspections. Keep your school’s humidity levels between 30% and 60%, and fix moisture problems immediately upon discovering them. Implement an Integrated Pest Management Program Schoolchildren are more sensitive to pesticides than adults, and an integrated pest management (IPM) program is important to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure. An IPM program entails implementing smart practices such as reducing the amounts of pesticides whenever possible, cleaning garbage cans and dumpsters frequently, as well as limiting food sources for pests.

As with any preventative measure, today’s effort and preparation will go a long way in improving the health and performance of your school. If you suspect that your IAQ may need improvement, now is the time to focus on addressing the issues.

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