20 July 2019
5 Reasons why Mechanical Ventilation is Ideal for Schools
By Alan Macklin
20 July 2019
Air quality and temperature inside classrooms is closely linked with the academic performance, concentration, and comfort of students . With an increased focus on the quality of air inside our buildings, here are five reasons why mechanical ventilation is the ideal solution for schools:
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been shown to have a negative effect on the attention span of school children, leading to a noticeable drop in concentration when CO2 levels are high. There are also longer-term impacts on health, which can include headaches, coughs, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin.
Mechanical ventilation is the most effective way to provide fresh, filtered air into classrooms. CO2 sensors detect changes in pollution levels, automatically adjusting fan speed to ensure that air quality is reliably controlled, and drowsiness doesn’t set in.
Managing the comfort levels within a school can be challenging, and many opt for natural ventilation as a way to improve the IAQ. However, this can become an issue in colder months, when cool air flows from outside, into the building, placing a huge amount of strain on a school’s heating system. It is also reliant on the quality of the surrounding outdoor air with very little control over the flow of air coming in to the building. This is where mechanical ventilation comes in, which avoids these issues by providing schools with much greater control over the temperature and quality of air flowing into classrooms, thus increasing the comfort and wellbeing of occupants.
Schools are tasked with balancing occupancy and comfort levels, all while considering the potential financial burden of providing good indoor air quality. Heating bills – especially in a climate as temperamental as the UK’s – can become very large, very quickly. The prospect of having to decide between thermal comfort and clean air for schoolchildren is a chilling one, which is what makes mechanical ventilation such a good option.
Combining thermal energy recovery with added thermal treatment for when it’s needed can help to reduce energy expenditure. Thermal energy recovery units are able to recover heat from warm air inside the school, and use it to raise the temperature of incoming air. Adopting an intelligent ventilation strategy that uses indoor air quality and energy recovery management devices, such as the KINAIRTICO controller, helps to maximise energy savings.
Recent updates to the Building Bulletin 101 (BB101) bring stricter guidelines to air management in schools, especially when it comes to overheating in summer months and CO2 levels in teaching spaces.
Between the 1st May and 30th September, there should be no more than 40 hours when the temperature is 10C above the allowable maximum. For CO2, the daily concentration in an occupied space must be less than 1500ppm for natural ventilation, and for mechanical ventilation it should be under 1000ppm.
Having a ventilation system which can adapt to fluctuating requirements is absolutely crucial for schools, and mechanical ventilation is the most reliable way of achieving this.
- Clear and easy set-up
For the sake of minimal disruption, schools often conduct building and refurbishment works outside of term-time. Therefore, any mechanical ventilation must be installed quickly and easily, in order to be ready in time for students returning.
Elta Fans’ PREMA range of energy recovery units are amongst the lightest on the market, which makes them easier to install than many other mechanical ventilation units. With quick set-up times, and intuitive controls once up and running, mechanical ventilation units are an important asset for schools in the provision of clean air and thermal comfort to their students.