How to Create an Indoor Air Quality Policy for Your School
If you’re in charge of operations and building maintenance in your school, indoor air quality is likely on your mind. The safety and comfort of both students and teachers hinges upon reducing the spread of germs and maintaining indoor air quality, including ideal indoor humidity.
A documented and detailed policy for indoor air quality should include standards for ideal indoor humidity in both summer and winter to help keep students and staff safe and healthy. Other elements to consider when you create your indoor air quality policy include:
- Air circulation standards (especially for high-traffic areas)
- Temperature recommendations
- Pollutant testing
- Real-time tracking and monitoring of these factors
Why Indoor Air Quality Is So Important
Indoor air quality — ranging from the ideal indoor humidity to pollutants — affects the quality of life for students and teachers year-round.
Many of us think outside air generates the most dangerous pollutants, often leading to allergic reactions and respiratory symptoms. But the Environmental Protection Agency found that exposure to air pollutants indoors may be two to five times (and sometimes as high as 100 times) higher than exposure outdoors. Poor indoor air quality can lead to coughing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, headaches, respiratory illnesses, and allergic reactions. These symptoms may lower our immunity, making us more susceptible to colds, the flu, and other infectious diseases.
Temperature and humidity play a huge role in the quality of indoor air. Warm areas with either exceptionally high or low humidity can increase contaminant levels, encourage the spread of germs, and hinder the natural effectiveness of occupants’ immune systems. Maintaining indoor air quality standards in your school can:
- Reduce staff and student sick days
- Prevent the spread of infectious diseases
- Keep students and staff healthier, overall, so they are better able to fight disease
- Minimize negative perceptions of your organization
Components of Your Indoor Air Quality Policy to Consider
It’s important that your indoor air quality policy outlines:
- A timeframe for testing for contaminants and pollutants
- Processes and timelines for mold remediation, if needed
- Minimum standards for indoor air quality
- The use of a controlled ventilation system to monitor and manage air circulation
- Standards for ideal indoor humidity in summer and winter
- Emergency processes in the event of an air quality emergency
With standards set in place, you can consider the tools and technology that will help you maintain indoor air quality and ideal indoor humidity year-round so building occupants can thrive.
Establish Ideal Indoor Humidity to Reduce Mold and Contaminants
If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your school, it’s a good idea to test for mold and create a mold remediation and cleanup plan if unsafe conditions exist. Then, carefully monitor indoor air quality and humidity to ensure mold will not develop in the future.
You may not be able to completely revamp your school’s infrastructure to add vapor barriers to your insulation if it’s not already to code, but you can adjust indoor humidity levels using your school’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems, as well as humidification systems. The EPA recommends an ideal indoor humidity below 60%, and preferably between 30% and 50% to maintain comfort and prevent mold growth.
Manage Temperature Control to Reduce the Spread of Germs
Humidity and temperature go hand in hand when it comes to creating a comfortable, productive, and healthy learning environment. You can use a cloud-based, automated monitoring and management system for temperature regulation within your school. You can set the temperature based on the outside temperature or the time of day to ensure an ideal indoor temperature at all times.
Consider offering manual overrides, permitting teachers to set the most comfortable temperature for their classroom. Teachers should take into account any students with special needs or 504 plans mandating specific classroom temperatures. A Wi-Fi-based system with LCD displays allows you to monitor temperatures so you can make adjustments as needed.
Automate Air Circulation Monitoring
Setting air circulation standards, specifically in high-traffic areas such as hallways, cafeterias, and gyms, can also help keep students and staff safe from indoor contaminants. Develop policies for monitoring air circulation through automation, if possible.
Carbon Dioxide and Pollutant Sensors Help Keep Students and Staff Safe
As we focus on maintaining ideal indoor humidity and temperatures, it’s also important to monitor carbon dioxide levels in the air for student and staff safety. Likewise, monitoring for pollutants plays a crucial role in helping to keep your staff and student body healthy and able to fight off germs. (Please note that Primex products do not monitor indoor air pollutants or carbon dioxide levels at this time.)
Choosing the right tools for these jobs is just as important as choosing a cloud-based, comprehensive system for room pressure monitoring to gauge airflow, as well as temperature and humidity control to reduce the spread of disease.
Primex OneVue Helps Uphold Your Indoor Air Quality Policy for a Safe, Successful School Year
It’s easier than you may have imagined to install localized sensors to monitor humidity, temperature, room pressure for airflow, and overall indoor air quality. OneVue Sense uses the Primex OneVue system to capture and record data to ensure you comply with your school’s policies, as well as any regulations set by your district, municipality, or state.
With bank-grade security, customized alerts, and on-demand reports, OneVue Monitor puts all the data you need at your fingertips. In the event of an indoor air quality emergency, OneVue Notify InfoBoard displays can provide visual notifications for your staff and students.
From ensuring ideal indoor humidity levels to proper temperatures that minimize the risk of germ spreading, Primex is your secure solution for maintaining compliance with your air quality policy. Contact us today to learn more.