5 reasons to invest in Air Quality in SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES

September 2022

With the arrival of September, schools and universities are preparing to face a new school year. After years of pandemics and learning, more and more schools are looking to implement measures to protect students, faculty and staff. This includes making improvements to indoor air quality.

The benefits of ensuring adequate air quality in schools go far beyond controlling Covid-19. Taking steps to improve it has been shown to have a positive impact on student health , but also on key aspects of performance such as concentration and cognitive skills. Improvements range from fewer asthma attacks and allergy symptoms to higher test and exam scores.

But maintaining air quality in classrooms will not only benefit students. The benefits derived from these investments are direct, both in terms of health and from an economic point of view:


1. To reduce the risk of virus transmission:

Like Covid-19, most respiratory viruses, such as influenza or cold viruses, are airborne through aerosols, which can accumulate in poorly ventilated indoor spaces and remain there for hours.

Schools and universities provide the ideal conditions for the spread of these viruses. Usually, several students are concentrated in a closed classroom where they interact and participate throughout the class. To reduce this risk, it is best to invest inCO2 and air quality meters to ensure proper ventilation. If it is possible to ventilate in time and renew the stale air with clean air, the risk of contagion decreases drastically.

This will have a direct impact on the school, avoiding teacher and student absences.

2. Prevent respiratory and allergic diseases:

Having good indoor air quality is also related to a wide variety of health metrics that have nothing to do with Covid-19.

Poor air quality can increase short- and long-term health effects on students and staff, such as coughing, eye irritation, headaches, allergic reactions, aggravation of asthma and/or other respiratory diseases.

Nearly 1 in 10 school-aged children has asthma, which is the leading cause of school absenteeism due to chronic illness. There is substantial evidence that indoor environmental exposure to allergens (such as dust mites, pests, and molds) plays a role in triggering asthma symptoms. These allergens are common in schools.

Ensuring adequate air quality in classrooms will help mitigate the effect of these diseases, reducing absenteeism and promoting the well-being and comfort of students and teachers.

3. Improve student performance:

Students' overall performance decreases if they are sick and absent from school, and may also be affected by teacher absences or sick leave.

But, in addition to the consequences arising from health conditions, the connection between improvements in indoor air quality, either by increasing outdoor air ventilation rates or by eliminating sources of pollution, and improved performance of children and adults has been demonstrated.

Children in classrooms with higher rates of outdoor air ventilation tend to achieve higher scores on standardized math and reading tests than children in poorly ventilated classrooms. A study published by ScienceDirect concluded that reducing CO₂ concentration from 2,100 ppm to 900 ppm would improve performance on psychological tests and school assignments by 12% with respect to the speed at which tasks are performed and by 2% with respect to errors made.

It is therefore in the best interest of schools to maintain proper ventilation, ensuring goodCO2 levels and air quality, to ensure optimal conditions for study, maximize productivity and promote better school results.

4. Energy saving:

Heating, lighting and air conditioning account for around 70% of all energy consumed in schools. Real-time monitoring of air quality and CO₂ allows these systems to be optimized according to occupancy and environmental conditions, providing significant energy and cost savings.

It is the basis of demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) which, thanks to the incorporation of air quality monitors, allows air renewal to be regulated automatically according to actual needs. Our MICA devices reliably and continuously measure the main parameters conditioning indoor air quality and can be easily integrated into HVAC systems.

This type of ventilation is the most effective way to help schools achieve a double objective: improving people's health and increasing energy efficiency.

However, most schools in Spain currently have only natural ventilation. In such cases, measuring air quality will allow them to know when it is necessary to open windows and when it is not, with the consequent energy savings in heating or cooling.

5. Increase in the prestige of the center:

Every school and university is measured by the performance of its students, as well as by the students' opinion of the school. A school that is committed to air quality, ensuring student safety and helping to improve student performance will be more highly regarded by students and their families, and this will lead to higher enrollment in future years.

On the other hand, these measures will also help to improve the satisfaction of academic staff. In a survey of Chicago school faculty, 80% of teachers reported that the condition of school facilities was an important factor in the quality of teaching. Nearly half of those who rated their facilities with a "C" or lower would consider leaving. The most frequently cited problem was poor indoor air quality.

For all these reasons, it is worth investing in measures to control and improve air quality in classrooms, as well as sharing them publicly. In this way, schools can show their commitment to the health, well-being and performance of their students. In this sense, our devices offer multiple options for data visualization and communication.

Fortunately, more and more universities and colleges are applying these good practices. This is the case of the University of Navarra, one of the most renowned universities in Spain, which has MICA Lite devices for air quality control in the classrooms and seminars of its Graduate School in Madrid.

Contact us to learn more about our solutions for monitoring and improving air quality in universities and educational centers.

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