IAQ Design Tools for Schools
Mold and Moisture
Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. Read more about mold.
Excess moisture indoors can cause major damage to the building structure, as well as to furnishings and to finish materials like floors, walls, and ceilings. Excess moisture can trigger the growth of mold that can not only damage the school facility, but can also lead to health and performance problems for students and staff. Mold is usually not a problem indoors unless there is excess moisture. Read more about moisture control.
Selection of sites on which to build new schools is largely a local issue with no direct Federal role. It is also often controversial. Many factors related to the availability and cost of land, community values, and a host of other factors come into play. Unfortunately, in many cases and for a variety of reasons, schools are often being built on or close to existing sources of air, water, and/or soil contamination. This contamination can impact the indoor air quality of the school and in extreme cases, even force the closure and abandonment of multi-million dollar facilities. Read more about school siting.
Portable classrooms have been a feature of many school districts for years. From a district's perspective, the two advantages of portable classrooms are low initial cost and short time between specification and occupancy. They are intended to provide flexibility to school districts, enabling quick response to demographic changes and providing the ability to be moved from one school to another as demographics change. In reality, portable classrooms are seldom moved and become permanent fixtures of the school. Read more about portable classrooms.
When selecting materials for interior surfaces and furnishings for a high performance school, designers look for cost-effective, durable and materials-efficient products that provide the desired acoustical performance and aesthetic qualities, and protect indoor air quality and health. Read more about materials selection.