The Impact of HVAC Systems in Schools on Indoor Environmental Quality

As most people are aware, outdoor air pollution can have a significant impact on a human’s health. Not quite as common, but no less important as a result, is the understanding of the effects that poor indoor air quality can have on our health and well-being. 

Why Indoor Air Quality is important to schools

We spend 90% of our time indoors, where levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels.1  Especially children, who are most sensitive to the effects of bad air quality, spend a large part of their time inside a school building. In addition, teachers' ability to concentrate can also be severely affected by high levels of carbon dioxide (CO₂), or become fatigued by excessively high temperatures. On top of that they also can have an increased risk of transmitting cold and flu viruses due to low humidity.

Actions taken to improve air quality in schools have positive effects on children's overall learning performance, while helping to improve the well-being of teachers and other staff and minimize absenteeism.

Indoor Environmental Quality and HVAC systems

To maintain good indoor air quality in classrooms and school buildings, regular ventilation check-ups, and continuous monitoring of ventilation systems are essential. This allows fresh air to flow into the room and the carbon dioxide concentration to be reduced. However, with the constant opening and closing of windows, students' concentration is affected, which can be increased further by noise and that can enter from outside, in conjunction with inadequate temperature. 

In addition to air quality and temperature, noise is another aspect of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) that can have a major effect on building's occupants.

Since the role of a Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system is to both make it as comfortable as possible for people to be indoors and to minimize exposure to air pollutants, it’s essential that it’s working properly. This also leads to increasing building efficiency and reducing energy costs.
The effects of poor air quality on human health are well documented by medical professionals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released several studies showing that exposure to poor indoor air quality can lead to immediate symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue and nausea; as well as long-term problems such as asthma attacks or chronic coughing due to exposure to mold spores or other allergens present in the building's ventilation system or heating/cooling equipment.2 

Poor Indoor Air Quality – how do I know?

School administrators or facility managers should take immediate action if they notice any signs of poor air quality within their buildings. Better yet, know what the air quality and condition of the ventilation system is before serious problems arise.

Maintaining the health of a school building’s indoor environment is critical to maintaining the health and well-being of students, teachers or any other occupants. TSI provides a full spectrum of IEQ solutions for your school buildings – from continuous air monitoring to spot checking instruments to outdoor air monitoring solutions providing real-time alerts prior to the polluted air entering the building. 

With the TSI VelociCalc® 9600 Series Multi-Function Ventilation Meter, professionals can use a versatile and portable solution for measuring air velocity and determining a building’s ventilation effectiveness.

For evaluations of the air quality inside a school building the economical TSI AirAssure™ Continuous Indoor Air Quality Monitor provides a simple means of being alerted the moment an IAQ issue arises. The 6-gas IAQ Monitor measures SO2, O3, NO2, CO, tVOCs, CO2, particulate matter, barometric pressure, temperature and relative humidity. 

TSI Link™ Solution is the cloud-based software that connects with our indoor and outdoor air quality monitors allowing access to remotely track IAQ conditions and visualize data in real-time through a custom dashboard, along with multiple integration options.

The TSI Q-Trak XP™ Indoor Air Quality Monitor lets you dig deeper to find the root cause once alerted.
To monitor the outdoor air quality surrounding your building the TSI BlueSky™ Environmental Air Quality Monitors is the product of your choice.