Who wouldn't enjoy a constant supply of fresh air? Especially in schools where you're likely cooped up in classrooms and musty indoor auditoriums or gyms.
Polluted air lowers indoor air quality (IAQ), increasing the risk of allergies, respiratory distress, and asthma in schools. However, ensuring healthy IAQ in schools presents its fair share of challenges because schools depend on a relatively tight budget and need practical and cost-effective safety measures.
Fortunately, you can use the latest sensor-based technology at Senseware to maintain proper indoor air quality standards for schools. Here are a few tips you can follow for healthy air quality indoors.
Tips To Ensure Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools
Measuring the number of harmful particles and gases inside a building will reveal your indoor air quality. A few key IAQ parameters that you need to monitor in schools include:
- Relative humidity
- Carbon dioxide
- Particulate matter
Indoor air accumulates up to five times more pollutants during the average school day than the air outside. A few factors that encourage poor IAQ are:
- Poor airflow
- Reduced air filtration
- Poor room pressurization
- High or low humidity
- High or low temperature
How can you, as a school administrator, improve your indoor air quality?
Be Aware of Harmful Indoor Air Pollutants
These common indoor pollutants attach to surfaces all over the school premises and can alter your IAQ.
Carbon Monoxide, Radon, and Other Harmful Gases
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas infamous for being a "silent killer" since you can't smell, see, or taste it. It is a byproduct of incomplete combustion in unvented heaters, leaky coal stoves, and poorly maintained combustion devices.
Once you inhale carbon monoxide, the gas displaces oxygen from your red blood cells, forming carboxyhemoglobin. This reaction also lowers your blood's capacity to carry oxygen.
Like carbon monoxide, radon is a naturally occurring odorless radioactive gas released from soil, water, and rocks. The gas can seep through drain openings and cracks in crawl spaces and can cause lung cancer if inhaled over a long period.
The accumulation of other harmful gases in schools, such as nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, also poses a health risk.
Organic Compounds, Particulate Matter, and Bacteria
Airborne biological contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and fungi can enter schools by hopping onto people, plants, pets, and insects. Curtains and carpeting also allow particulate matter to accumulate. Exposure to these substances heralds the start of flu season with the spread of infectious diseases like influenza, tuberculosis, and Legionnaires' disease.
Affected children may have symptoms like:
- Shortness of breath
- Watery eyes
Volatile organic compounds are another common indoor air pollutant. These substances include formaldehyde, alcohols, and acetones that vaporize at room temperature. They are often a byproduct of normal human metabolism or can come from cleaning products, combustion processes, and wood preservatives. Exposure to high concentrations may lead to cancer.
Dust and Debris
Dust and debris are infamous indoor air pollutants. Your body's natural defense mechanisms can easily and quickly eliminate large particles that settle on surfaces. However, small dust particles are airborne and easily pass through the body's defense systems, irritating the lungs.
They can cause allergic reactions in vulnerable children, such as asthma attacks and difficulty breathing. Long-term exposure to some construction materials like silicone dioxide and asbestos can result in cancer of the esophagus, colon, stomach, and lungs.
Invest in Ample Ventilation Systems
Setting up and maintaining an adequate ventilation system is an effective school IAQ management solution. Ventilation helps improve indoor air quality by diluting and replacing contaminated air in the room with outside air. Opening doors and windows is a simple, cost-saving way of providing additional ventilation throughout the school day.
Proper heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can regulate humidity, temperature, and air purity. An effective HVAC system removes isolated odors and contaminants through exhaust fans and pressure control, but it must be regularly evaluated, adjusted, and maintained to ensure continuous ventilation.
Install a Monitoring System To Identify and Track Indoor Air Quality Problems
Measuring your school's IAQ can help you identify problems, establish a baseline, and develop strategies to maintain optimal air standards. You can quickly assess and track indoor air quality in schools using sensor-based monitoring devices. The advanced IAQ sensors from Senseware allow you to detect pollutants, measure relative humidity, and monitor temperature changes accurately.
We strive to provide the latest indoor air quality tools for your school's action kit, including an IoT technology stack that offers real-time updates on IAQ readings.
Enact Consistent and Effective Cleaning Procedures
Regular and thorough cleaning practices are crucial to maintaining a healthy and aesthetically appealing school environment. Poor air quality commonly results from dust, debris, and other particles in the air accumulating on surfaces and permeating the air.
To reduce dust and debris, you can try a portable air cleaner, vacuuming, and various commercial cleaning products. However, some cleaning products contain hazardous chemicals that pose potential storage, handling, and disposal concerns. You can try green cleaning products instead, easily identifiable through eco-labels. Consistent cleaning with eco-friendly cleaning practices can reduce allergens and infectious agents and achieve healthy indoor air quality on school premises.
Put Indoor Environment at the Forefront of School Health
The indoor environment is critical to a school's overall environmental health. Maintaining optimal IAQ can improve the comfort, health, and performance of school staff and students.
Senseware can provide school administrators looking for a comprehensive suite of sensors with the latest customizable solutions for maintaining proper IAQ. With a partner that understands your needs, you can make necessary upgrades and adjustments depending on your evolving demands and building design. Contact us today to get a free quote on indoor air quality solutions.