IAQ Tools for Schools
Develop Your Program
Solutions to Common IAQ Issues
Provide Quality Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Quality HVAC system design, operation and maintenance are critical for providing clean and healthy IAQ in schools. Properly functioning HVAC systems provide adequate outdoor ventilation, controlling odors and reducing the pollutants that cause most IAQ problems inside school buildings. In addition to improving occupant health and performance, regular HVAC maintenance saves energy.
Common Solutions to HVAC Issues
I don't know if our school's HVAC system is operating properly or if our air is being contaminated by common pollutants.
- Check with your facilities and maintenance department to discuss the frequency of HVAC system inspection and to create an HVAC maintenance plan.
- For new construction or mechanical systems renovations, consider commissioning, testing and balancing by professionals to be sure the systems are operating as designed and at optimal performance levels.
I want to ensure adequate fresh air circulation at my school.
- Remind school staff and students to keep books, papers and other items off of HVAC units.
- Check with your building operator to ensure outdoor air ventilation is provided according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard or local code.
- Ensure that facilities and maintenance staff change filters on a regular basis.
I am concerned that good heating and ventilation practices are incompatible with energy efficiency.
- Implement behavioral and operational changes and develop a method to measure the school's HVAC operations compared to its energy costs.
- Work with your building operator to install efficient fan motors and sizing that match your school district's load.
- Work with your building operator to install an outdoor air measuring station that modulates the outdoor air damper and return damper.
- Consider implementing Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) and installing Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs), which can improve performance and reduce energy costs.
Our school buildings have experienced moisture and mold problems.
- Check with your facilities and maintenance staff to ensure HVAC condensate pans are draining.
- Instruct facilities and maintenance staff to clean all air supply diffusers, return registers and outside air intakes.
- Develop a solid building envelope plan that evaluates the condition of roofs, walls, doors and windows, and provides direction for necessary corrective actions.
School HVAC systems should be designed and operated to provide a minimum outdoor air ventilation rate consistent with current ASHRAE Standards . For classrooms, this standard is about 15 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of outdoor air per person.
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IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit: Ventilation Checklist
School Advanced Ventilation Engineering Software (SAVES)
The SAVES package 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.