Indoor air quality is of critical importance in schools, where it’s not uncommon to have upwards of thirty or so students per classroom. While combustion engines and other industrial processes are responsible for a rise in man-made carbon dioxide (CO2), the most common source of indoor CO2 is people. Here, we’ll look at the effect that excess CO2 exposure can have on students and why a robust monitoring system and proper ventilation are essential to helping the next generation of thinkers and learners thrive.
Healthy Air Improves Learning Outcomes
Numerous reports have linked overexposure to CO2 with drowsiness, possible headaches, and an overall dip in productivity and focus. The greater the number of occupants in a space, the higher the concentration and the larger the potential risk. Excess CO2 can cause students to underachieve and progress through the curriculum at a far slower rate. By monitoring exposure in schools, and not allowing levels to rise beyond safe thresholds, governments and educational institutions can provide tomorrow’s leaders with a safer learning environment and a better platform for achievement. Making this a reality starts with real-time monitoring, measuring air quality throughout the school to assess risk and lobby for improvements.
Ensuring Proper Ventilation in the Age of COVID
Monitoring carbon dioxide is only the first step to improving classroom air quality. Ideally, monitors will help identify airflow “hot spots” where more ventilation is needed. You could place portable monitors in areas where airflow appears weakest to determine where problems lie. Improved ventilation will do more than lower CO2 levels. Ventilation is also a key factor for creating COVID-safe classrooms and protecting against other airborne pollutants. Well-ventilated environments ensure students can breathe good quality air that improves their well-being and concentration. This goes beyond simply “opening a window,” which can be impractical in some seasons and tends to address the symptom without tackling the real issue. Moving forward, a push is needed towards modifying and building “greener” classrooms, with healthy ventilation and air quality monitoring embedded in the overall design.
Designing Schools for Greater Health and Well-Being
Improving access to affordable real-time monitoring systems will help ensure schools can keep tabs on air quality. This could happen through government subsidies or green initiatives at the local government level. With a focus on ventilation and regular testing, students can receive an education without the disruptions caused by poor indoor air. Air quality data can also be used to determine whether buildings are performing as intended, creating a powerful tool for change. By analyzing trends and deepening our understanding of air quality in schools, city planners, architects and ventilation designers will be able to craft solutions and environments that maximize well-being and performance.
Want to find out more?
To monitor and therefore improve indoor air quality in schools, Aeroqual offers a range of portable and fixed monitors, equipped with a CO2 sensor backed by our industry-leading sensor technology. If you have any questions about our products or air quality in general, please get in touch!
St. John is responsible for supporting Aeroqual’s diverse international customers and representatives to provide each with tools to help them understand the air they breathe. With experience across a range of industries and an industrial design background, he regularly adds a bit of “colour” to the marketing and strategic direction for his range of products.