ACR Journal

June | July 2023 We pledged to support local schools in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, where our head o ce is based and o ered five schools a fully funded, zero cost air quality monitoring programme supported by our local team of engineers, with the aim of helping teachers and pupils to see what's in the air they are breathing and to help them find ways to improve it. Teaming up with our product partners, Airthings and Airly, we installed state- of-the-art air quality monitoring sensors throughout our five #CleanAirSchools during the 2021 summer holidays, and have provided them with educational materials, including interactive white boards, to help young people understand more about air pollution and involve them in monitoring the air in their own classrooms. Naturally ventilated schools sited near polluted roads cause added concerns Four out of the five schools we are supporting are in old buildings sited near busy main roads. Older buildings tend to be poorly ventilated leading to the build-up of stale air, and the opening of windows and doors can cause the ingress of pollutants such as PM2.5 and NO2, further adding to the air quality conundrum schools have. Almost 60% of English state schools were built before the 1980s and by design have limited energy and thermal e ciency. Most classrooms also have high occupancy INDOOR AIR QUALITY 18 Air quality is now one of the most important issues of our time, affecting not only the wellbeing and productivity of building occupants but also significantly contributing to the risk of virus transmission. In June 2021, on Clean Air Day, Evotech Air Quality launched its #CleanAirSchools campaign during the pandemic, to support local schools to monitor and improve their air quality. Here, Evotech Director John Lumb outlines the project and the results of a year-long study into classroom CO 2 levels. Year-long study on CO 2 levels in classrooms highlights need for better ventilation in schools levels which can cause CO 2 levels to rise rapidly, resulting in stale air and high virus transmission risks. And, according to the DfE’s Condition of School Buildings Survey 2021, the estimated cost of remedial repairs to the 22,031 state schools, in England alone, is £11.4 billion. The effects CO 2 can have on children Research shows that children are more sensitive to atmospheric pollution as their lungs are still developing, and they breathe higher volumes of air relative to their body weights than adults do. High CO 2 levels can cause headaches, restlessness, drowsiness, increased heart rate and blood pressure and is also directly correlated to low productivity and increased absenteeism. Improving ventilation can therefore reduce the risk of illness and respiratory symptoms, and studies have shown that it can also improve pupils’ concentration, cognitive performance, and productivity, with schools with better ventilated classrooms having higher test scores. Results of the year-long study During the first year we focussed on classroom CO 2 levels as this also provides a John Lumb Volume 9 No.4

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