Ventilation strategies provide healthy classrooms

In spring last year a study from RIBA found that 1 in 5 teachers have considered quitting because of the condition of the school buildings they have to teach in, whilst over 90% of teachers believe well-built and designed schools improve educational outcomes and pupil behaviour.

Can natural ventilation in schools really have an impact on the health and well-being of our pupils?

The BB101 guide for schools in relation to natural ventilation requires the below approach:

  • Significant need highlighted for natural ventilation and where appropriate simple, responsive mechanical ventilation to maintain air. It should be simple to operate and quickly responsive to allow air quality to be easily maintained.
  • Thermal comfort and control over temperature. Thermal controls should be easy to use and quick to adapt to changing uses of space.
  • Good acoustics. For effective learning, pupil engagement, and wellbeing.

One of the most serious indoor air quality risks identified is one over which building designers and occupants have limited control. Particles - predominantly products of combustion - increase the risk, and the severity, of heart disease and respiratory illnesses, and are blamed for many premature deaths.

The main source of particulate pollution is traffic, especially in UK cities. In addition to polluted air being brought inside, poor indoor air quality can also be attributed to many problems inside a building. Excess humidity causes dampness, rot and mould, whilst pollutants are known to be a major cause of health issues such as asthma and eczema. Stale air is also believed to lead to a loss in productivity and low morale.

One way to counteract outdoor air-pollution in schools near busy roads is to use a fully ducted ventilation system such as MVHR with extra fine filters fitted.

The researchers found that improving ventilation rates, reducing CO2 concentration and increasing access to daylight in classrooms, improves pupils’ performance in terms of higher levels of attention and concentration and lower rates of absenteeism. Better buildings not only lead to brighter students, they are also good for the economy in terms of increased productivity.

Monodraught’s MVHR systems are designed to simultaneously supply tempered fresh air to any built space ensuring the correct oxygen levels are maintained whilst expelling stale air. By increasing oxygen levels and reducing CO2 levels, it is believed that this approach can allow students and teachers to:

  • Have more energy and a sharper mind, leading to better concentration
  • Improve mental wellbeing
  • Healthier blood pressure and heart rate
  • Strengthen immune system and cleans lungs

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