School Business Affairs November 2020

32 NOVEMBER 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS FOCUS ON WELLNESS contribute to poor indoor environ- mental quality and that the concen- tration of indoor pollutants can be up to five times higher than outdoor concentrations. Ventilation reduces indoor pollutants and leads to a healthy indoor environment The level of “freshness” of indoor air is difficult to perceive—it’s not something that you can see or smell, necessarily. The consequences of inadequate ventilation usually are not readily apparent, and when they are noticed, either by damage to the building or an increase in ill- ness, they are quickly elevated to an unexpected expense. However, this does not have to be the case if the ventilation is accurately monitored and controlled. Minimum ventilation rates are directed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air- Conditioning Engineers; enhanced ventilation rates are promoted by building certification systems such as WELL TM and LEED TM . The fail- ure of an HVAC system to provide the proper amount of outdoor air can be caused by, but not limited to, changes in fan speed to meet heating or cooling requirements, direction and speed of wind and associated wind gusts, temperature changes from summer to winter, dirty filters, damper and actuator failures, and improper control sequences. An imbalance of ventilation and exhaust can lead to pressurization problems. When the indoors is not adequately pressurized, more air is M aintaining air quality can be challenge for facil- ity managers, whether a building is newly built or 50 years old. Maintenance is deferred, equipment operates past its planned life expectancy, and then there is an unexpected event such as a pandemic—a disruption unlike any we’ve seen in recent times. Yet dis- tricts must continue to provide the most productive and healthiest envi- ronment for the students and staff. Regardless whether district schools are open or closed to stu- dents this year due to the pandemic, indoor air quality is important to maintain a healthy environment, and ventilation is a critical fac- tor—especially as many educators in 100% virtual districts are opting to teach from their school building classrooms. The EPA estimates that approxi- mately 46% of U.S. public schools have environmental conditions that FORFUNLIFE/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM The Importance of Controlled Ventilation in Schools Now more than ever, schools need to ensure healthy indoor air quality. By Darryl DeAngelis, LEED, AP