IAQ Tools for Schools
Health and Achievement
Find out how school districts can learn the fundamentals about how asthma management plans can complement IAQ management plans.
Other EPA Schools Programs
Learn what other programs EPA has that help create healthy school environments.
Why is indoor air quality an important component of a healthy school environment?
Good indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools is a critical component of a healthy and comfortable learning environment. IAQ affects the health, productivity, performance, and comfort of students, teachers and staff.
When there is poor IAQ in a school building, students and staff may suffer from common symptoms of respiratory infections and allergic or other adverse health reactions. Leaky roofs; problems with heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; insufficient cleaning or excessive use of toxic cleaning chemicals; and other environmental issues can lead to poor IAQ and trigger health problems like asthma and allergies. Therefore, addressing environmental health risks comprehensively in schools includes managing asthma, which affects 7 million children nationwide.
Student performance and teacher and staff productivity can be improved by managing the environmental quality of school facilities. The IAQ Tools for Schools Framework for Effective School IAQ Management and Action Kit offer comprehensive guidance for districts just beginning to address IAQ or those already working on IAQ management.
Good IAQ improves a student's:
Good IAQ helps schools create an environment in which they can meet their core mission — educating children.
- Ability to Perform:
Research shows that a school's physical environment can affect academic performance. Studies demonstrate a connection between IAQ improvements, such as increasing fresh air ventilation and removing the source pollutants, and improved academic performance. Controlled studies show that students perform school work faster as ventilation rates increase. The performance of teachers and staff also improves with higher ventilation rates.
- Test Scores: Students in classrooms with higher fresh air ventilation rates tend to achieve higher scores on standardized tests in math and reading than students in poorly ventilated classrooms.
- IAQ and Student Performance Key Findings (PDF) (2 pp., 196 K): Learn about the scientific evidence that supports the link between poor IAQ and respiratory health illnesses, including asthma.
- Examples of Successful IAQ Management in Schools: Learn how schools have developed and implemented effective IAQ management programs to impact student achievement.
- Environmental Contaminants in Schools: Find information on asbestos, chemicals, lead, mercury, pests, radon and other indoor contaminants.
The following technical guidance documents and software are designed for facilities engineers and building managers to organize, create and maintain healthy school environments.
- Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers: Developed by the EPA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, this tool provides practical suggestions on preventing, identifying and resolving IAQ problems in public and commercial buildings.
- Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (HealthySEAT): HealthySEAT is a fully customizable and easy to use software program designed to help school districts evaluate and manage ALL of their environmental, safety and health issues.
- IAQ Building Education and Assessment Model (I-BEAM): I-BEAM is a guidance tool designed for use by building professionals and others interested in indoor air quality in commercial buildings that contains text, animation/visual and interactive/calculation components that can be used to perform a number of diverse air quality tasks.
- School Advanced Ventilation Engineering Software (SAVES): SAVES is a tool to help school designers assess the potential financial payback and indoor humidity control benefits of Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) systems for school applications.