What Prevents Good Ventilation in Schools?
Good ventilation is gaining relevance as the pandemic continues to unfold around the world. But ventilation has always been important for our health. Every day, more people are beginning to truly recognise the consequences of poor air circulation in indoor spaces – not least for school-age children, who spend many hours each day sharing classroom space.
And yet, in many cases, ventilation is not prioritised in schools, academies and other educational institutions. There are many reasons for this, with some easier to fix than others. In this post, we will examine why classroom ventilation is so important, what prevents schools from prioritising good ventilation, and how fabric ducting systems can be the answer to these obstacles.
Why should schools prioritise ventilation?
According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, a lack of good ventilation in schools has “demonstrably negative effects on student learning.” Research shows that ventilation and temperature have a direct effect on student performance. A 2015 study found that the maths test performance of a group of over 3,000 students increased by 0.5% for each additional litre per person of airflow rate. Their performance also improved as the temperature decreased within a 20-25°C range. These improvements were due to lower CO₂ concentrations and keeping the classroom at a comfortable, not too hot, temperature.
Improved focus and attention
Poor ventilation leads to reduced attention span, which affects learning and makes pupils more prone to making errors. This can lead, in turn, to lower academic performance. The inability to focus is a recognised problem for both students and teachers. In surveys conducted in the US, poor indoor air quality was the most common facilities problem reported by teachers. Facilities, including ventilation, have been cited as a critical factor in teaching quality.
Helps prevent the spread of colds and other bugs
Bugs doing the rounds in schools are often considered an unavoidable part of school life, but they can be minimised. Increasing and improving ventilation can lower the concentration of air pollutants such as allergens and pathogens. For example, at a school in Germany, an engineer created a DIY extract ventilation system, which was shown to remove over 90% of aerosols in a classroom by operating in a similar way to a commercial displacement ventilation system.
What are the main obstacles to achieving good ventilation in classrooms?
For many schools and academies, cost is the main deterrent to upgrading building services such as ventilation equipment. It’s no secret that schools often operate on tight budgets that must cover a wide range of priorities. With that being the case, the focus is usually on fixing things as needed rather than upgrading existing equipment.
Fabric ducting is generally cheaper than other alternatives, both in terms of material costs and installation costs, without compromising on quality.
Any technical project requires a certain level of expertise and experience. While it is usually a case of hiring the right contractor for the job, it can sometimes be difficult to know just who to contact for a specific project, especially when it comes to a multi-faceted field such as heating, air conditioning and ventilation.
School staff is often very busy juggling teaching, exam grading, admin, and many other daily activities. With little time to spare, non-urgent tasks such as maintenance work and equipment upgrades are easily neglected, especially if they might entail downtime. Luckily, fabric duct installation is very quick compared to standard duct installation, and we can even provide our own installation service.
Fabric ducting for classroom ventilation
At Prihoda, we are very familiar with the typical ventilation requirements of schools and academies, as we have over two decades of experience designing and manufacturing fabric ducting for educational institutions. We offer a ventilation solution that is more affordable, quicker to install and easier to maintain. Our fabric ducting is designed to be aesthetic as well as practical, so you don’t have to choose between style and excellent ventilation. All with a 10-year warranty on our most popular material.
If you’d like to discuss your project, please get in touch by using the form below.