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One method for improving the quality of indoor air in buildings is through better ventilation. Limiting the circulation of airborne pollutants indoors benefits the safety and health of building occupants. In fact, long before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, research proved the value of outdoor air ventilation and the related practice of air filtration. A recent review of state policy strategies to improve ventilation in schools highlights its importance. Several prescriptive services and methods help school administrators make the necessary changes to keep staff and students safe.
Ventilation in Schools
A recent article prepared by the Environmental Law Institute on ventilation in schools discusses important policy ideas for states to think about. It also explains how current laws and regulations deal with the need for increased ventilation during infectious disease emergencies. It details as well general school ventilation requirements. The paper also provides an overview of a few state initiatives that offer financial and technical support for school ventilation.
Better Ventilation Equals Healthier Buildings
If there is one silver lining to the recent pandemic it is the increase in the public’s awareness of how airborne viruses travel throughout the indoor environment. This allowed for the creation of new policies that specifically target school ventilation. Schools that improve ventilation indoors are healthier. Although many states already have laws or regulations that deal with the conditions of schools, most of these laws and regulations lack the fundamental components of a successful and all-encompassing strategy. These components include transparent ventilation and filtration requirements, oversight to ensure compliance, and equitable financial and technical assistance programs.
An Overview of Strategies for Improving Ventilation in Schools
The review of state policy strategies regarding ventilation in schools states that proven, cost-effective measures exist for reducing indoor exposure. These methods have been incorporated into national standards and guidance documents allowing states to develop policies for a range of IAQ issues. That includes addressing building design and construction as well as operation and maintenance. These efforts improve the health of students and staff and reduce absenteeism.
The review also finds that the majority of states have the authority to address school ventilation. This comes in the form of laws and regulations addressing school facility conditions. As well, most states have occupational safety and health rules for schools while some have public health policies addressing school sanitation and other environmental health issues. Even so, the report advises that better ventilation in schools would result from even stronger statewide policies.
Schools need not wait until new state policies go into effect before taking action to improve ventilation. Action, in this case, includes assessments and inspection of the ventilation system as well as regular maintenance. Also, the creation of a written ventilation maintenance plan helps schools meet statewide criteria as well as those set forth in the ASHRAE Standard 62.1.
For our part, WTI | Pure Air Control Services tests and cleans mechanical systems to improve ventilation in schools. We do this with HVAC Conditions Assessments as well as IAQ services that include the Pure-Steam and Pure-Duct methods.
HVAC Hygiene Assessments
The HVAC Hygiene Assessment gauges the impact of school ventilation systems on IAQ. It provides performance data and microbiological results as well as recommendations for improvements. With a thorough understanding of the HVAC system, facilities managers and building engineers can make improvements and lower operating costs.
PURE-Steam to Improve Ventilation in Schools
One method for improving ventilation in schools is HVAC coil cleaning. This process restores the evaporator coils as well as the interior of the air handling unit. Once the AHU is returned to its near-factory specifications, performance improves and a reduction in energy costs also occurs.
The PURE-Steam HVAC cleaning method is the only Green Clean Institute-certified process in North America. Operating at temperatures reaching 350° F, this method kills bacteria and fungi and removes allergens and odors. Using pressure up to 350 psi, PURE-Steam pushes dust and debris through the coil. The result is better airflow and improved ventilation in schools and other buildings.
In addition to steam cleaning, the PURE-Duct method goes deep inside HVAC ductwork to knock out built-up debris. After dislodging the debris, a high-powered vacuum system with a HEPA filter removes it thus preventing it from circulating throughout the school.
Contact us today for more information on how WTI | Pure Air Control Services improves ventilation in schools.