In 1995, about three-quarters of the schools in the U.S. were built before 1970. When the U.S. General Accounting Office released this information in a report; it added that nearly 60 percent of school buildings had unsatisfactory environmental conditions. A growing number of studies throughout the decades have found that conditions within school buildings have a significant impact on teachers and students. Because facility quality is a predictor of student health and learning, as well as teacher retention, more schools are upgrading their comfort systems and looking to temporary climate control and building layup services to maintain the health of their buildings.
The Effects of Climate Control within Schools
Indoor Air Quality
Poor air quality is one of the leading contributors to student absenteeism. Schools with “sick building syndrome” notice that overall student performance declines and absenteeism increases. Even seemingly healthy schools may contain higher levels of indoor air pollution because of the chemicals and volatile organic compounds found in flooring, paint, office equipment, adhesives, cleaning products and pesticides.
Temporary climate control solutions provide the air quality improvements a school needs if its HVAC setup does not support air purification equipment. It is important to note that older schools with building materials that contain lead, asbestos, radon and other hazards may need renovations to improve the air quality in learning environments.
Classroom temperatures and relative humidity levels affect individuals of all ages in regards to productivity, engagement and student achievement. Temperatures that are too cool or warm are more than uncomfortable and distracting. They may also slow mental tasks and contribute to condensation formation and the growth of harmful pathogens, including mold, bacteria and viruses. In general, the best classroom temperatures are between 68°F and 74°F, depending on the season and geographic region. Relative humidity levels should range between 40 and 70 percent.
To promote temperatures and humidity levels that are conducive to learning, it is a good idea to provide teachers with thermostats in their classrooms. When this is not possible, seasonal temporary climate control solutions offer similar benefits. Temporary humidity control equipment may also be necessary to prevent mold growth if a school’s HVAC system does not sufficiently dehumidify the air. When school is out of session, building layup services provide the climate control benefits a building needs and prevent costly mold growth without the expense of leaving an HVAC system running.
It is common for classrooms to lack adequate ventilation, particularly in older portable classrooms. Ventilation in schools is crucial because it removes or dilutes contaminants introduced by hygiene products, cosmetics, building materials, office products, cleaning supplies, and by simply breathing.
Good airflow also prevents the hazardous buildup of gases, such as carbon dioxide. Because children breathe in a greater volume of air in proportion to their body weight than adults, proper ventilation in schools is crucial. When carbon dioxide levels reach 1,000 parts per million, individuals suffer from drowsiness, headaches and difficulty concentrating. Teachers may notice decreases in academic performance and increases in health problems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends ventilation rates of 15 cubic feet of fresh air per minute for each person in a classroom. When ventilation is inadequate, temporary climate control equipment can help improve air quality within classrooms until the placement of a permanent system.
Classroom environments directly affect student and teacher performance. Schools under construction look to Polygon’s construction drying solutions to ensure the health of the building materials installed. Our energy-efficient building layup services affordably maintain a building’s health and prevent mold growth during breaks. From analyzing the health of campus buildings to drying wet books, the comprehensive climate control and remediation services at Polygon will support your institution’s efforts to provide students with a clean environment that promotes learning.