Each April the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) focuses on the importance of the educational indoor air quality(IAQ) with National Healthy Schools Day.
National Healthy Schools Day was founded in 2002 by the Healthy Schools Network. Its main purpose is to raise awareness about the important roles IAQ and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) play in successful educational outcomes. The EPA supports the event along with many other agencies and organizations. This year National Healthy Schools Day was on April 2. But generally, the entire month of April is a launchpad to put healthy school environments in the spotlight.
Showcasing IAQ in schools is important because many education facilities face challenges when it comes to ensuring healthy school environments. Schools often face budget shortfalls and are forced to defer regular maintenance. So, buildings fall into a state of disrepair. When not addressed promptly IAQ issues can quickly escalate with a negative impact on students and staff.
What the EPA Says
The EPA cites, “Evidence from schools and office building studies demonstrate that various environmental conditions are closely associated with the incidence of measurable adverse health effects, and that indoor air quality problems can result in increased absences because of respiratory infections, allergic diseases from biological contaminants, or adverse reactions to chemicals used in the building.”
For example, the U.S. has over 10 million asthma related absences a year! Asthma (and allergen) triggers can easily build up in dirty HVAC systems. Every time the system blows air through the school it circulates these contaminants causing asthma and allergy attacks.
“Optimized IAQ is the key to healthy school environments” says Alan Wozniak, President, Pure Air Control Services, Inc., “We have partnered with many schools across the country to provide IAQ testing, analysis, and HVAC cleaning services. Every day should be National Healthy School Day, as far as we’re concerned!”
Pure Air Control Services supports the creation of healthy school environments with three specialized divisions.
Building Sciences regularly tests the indoor environment for contaminants that can lead to poor IAQ. They use a variety of methods during building investigation. Airborne, surface, and water samples can be taken for laboratory analysis. Other assessments evaluate the performance of a building. Factors such as humidity, temperature and ventilation all contribute to the well-being of a facility and its occupants.
Environmental Laboratory Analysis
Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) provides comprehensive microbial and other analyses to identify and quantify contaminants. They are a CDC Elite Program Lab and New York State Department of Health ELAP certified for Legionella Testing. Reports from both EDLab and Building Sciences guide remedial solutions for corrective actions to restore optimal IAQ.
Building Remediation Sciences (BRS) creates healthy school environments with proprietary services for improved IAQ. They primarily focus on the HVAC system of a facility but can also provide room/building decontamination. The HVAC system is responsible for the exchange of air in a building. It also regulates the temperature and humidity. As mentioned earlier, when the HVAC system, including the ducts, is dirty it can affect the entire building. BRS has three main engineered solutions for the HVAC System.
PURE-Duct is a thorough duct cleaning service that is 100% IAQ driven. Special procedures prevent cross contamination when cleaning. Sometimes if the cleaning is a result of reported issue particle counts before, during and after the cleaning are monitored.
PURE-Steam is an eco-friendly, deep cleaning of the air handing unit (AHU) and evaporator coils. AHUs become fouled and harbor microbes when not regularly cleaned. Overtime this buildup can create unpleasant odors, affect humidity and cause mold. Not to mention, the energy efficiency of the AHUs become marginalized. PURE-Steam uses high temperature and low pressure steam to blast debris out of coils while sanitizing them at the same time.
HVAC New Life goes one step further by not only utilizing PURE-Steam, but also by refinishing the entire AHU with anti-microbial and anti-oxidative coatings. This is a real budget saver when considering it’s about 1/10 the cost of new AHU.
Pure Air Control Services also support healthy school environments by making it easier to procure these IAQ services. Cooperative Purchasing contracts are fully compliant and competitively awarded. They allow schools to piggyback to quickly and economically procure services. They can be especially helpful in an environmental crisis.
Schools Can’t Afford to Wait!
Deferred maintenance compounds IAQ issues making them cost more in the long run. Many of the aforementioned solutions are quite economical. Especially when applied as regularly scheduled preventative maintenance. There have been a few recent studies that demonstrate the improved cognitive functions of occupants associated with better IAQ. It all adds up! Better IAQ equals better attendance, better grades, and overall, healthy school environments.
For more information on how we can help your school improve IAQ and Energy Efficicency please call 1-800-422-7873 ext. 802 or contact us via this page.