• Schools, Colleges & Universities

Few would argue that schools, colleges and other learning environments are important buildings when it comes to maintaining a good balance of heating and ventilation.

After all, stale, stuffy, stagnant air can quickly lead to a 'sick building' and affect the concentration and comfort of both students and teachers.

Those in education already know that in reality, schoolrooms very often have high density of occupation.

And when young people enter a classroom it is often after a period of physical exertion (playing outdoors or rapid changing of location) when heavier breathing leads to even higher CO2 output.

Good ventilation keeps air moving and helps prevent pollution from building up.

There is definitely a correlation between learning environments and how well students and teachers function within them. Therefore, it makes good sense that everyone involved in specifying, operating and maintaining ventilation equipment understand the importance of proper ventilation and noise reduction.

School teachers and children, as well as other staff will typically spend a large majority of their time within the school buildings.

With the concern over recent years on the level of human exposure to the pollutants found within school buildings, and the potential adverse effects on the health, productivity, comfort and well-being of all occupants. Ventilation is becoming increasingly important.
Achieving good indoor air quality in schools, therefore, depends on minimising the impact of indoor sources, as well as reducing pollutant ingress by effective design and operation of the buildings ventilation system.

Purpose of Ventilation
It should be remembered that the primary purpose of ventilation is to provide good indoor air quality in both winter and summer. The supply of fresh external air at a level required to meet the need for odour control and adequate indoor air quality suggests that 10 litres per second per person (Us/p) are provided.

In the summer it may be desirable to provide more than this to remove unwanted heat gains that may lead to overheating. In winter lower ventilation rates are usual. This together with incidental heat gains limits the wintertime heat demand.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
There are many factors which influence lAQ in schools, such as damp conditions, allergens from dust mites in carpets, volatile organic compounds, dirt or mould in mechanical ventilation systems due to poor maintenance and external pollution. Increasing numbers of children are reported to be asthmatic and/or sensitive to some of these contaminants.

Much research has recently been done on lAQ in school classrooms, which usually have high occupancies.
It has been found that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air in a classroom is a good indicator of the lAQ. For this reason limiting carbon dioxide concentrations are increasingly being used in design.

Besides the requirements for teaching and learning spaces, the ventilation requirements of a number of other specialist areas in a school building require particular attention. These areas would include:

School kitchens
Those areas which are dedicated to the teaching and demonstration of food technology as opposed catering kitchens will also require mechanical ventilation, since most food preparation areas at least some of the time will deal with the heat gain and water vapour produced by cooking and other equipment and solar gains.

Practical spaces
The ventilation of all practical spaces should be designed to supply sufficient ventilation for the occupants according to the requirements. Equally, it should also prevent the increase of unwanted pollutants.

Local exhaust ventilation can be provided to deal with a specific process or pollutant source, such as dust or fumes, that create a risk to the health and safety of users or affect their comfort.

Local exhaust ventilation may be needed for the following applications:

  • Cooking appliances that give off steam, oil, grease, odour and heat and products of combustion
  • Equipment for heat treatment, including for brazing, forging, welding, and soldering
  • Woodworking machines, including for sawing, sanding, planing, and thicknessing
  • Chemical processes, plastics work, paint spraying, and engine exhaust emissions
  • Working with adhesives
  • Metalworking machines (grinding and polishing}
  • Work undertaken with plastics and glass reinforced plastics (GRP)

Science labs, prep rooms and chemical store rooms
Ventilation is also required for pollutant loads from chemical experiments, heat gains from bunsen burners and other equipment and solar gains. Carbon dioxide levels can also be elevated by the use of Bunsen burners. Fume cupboards may be needed in some laboratories and preparatory rooms. Other important points to consider are;

  • Combustible dusts (e.g. fine particles of wood, plastics and some metal dusts) should be separated from those produced in processes where sparks are generated.
  • The local exhaust inlet should be sited as close as possible to the source of contaminant and extracted to a place which will not cause harm.
  • It is essential that air is brought into the space to compensate for air exhausted to the outside.

Whichever ventilation system is selected it is important to note that IAQ is highly dependent on the cleanliness of the spaces and ductwork for a mechanical system. Therefore, cleaning of carpets and room surfaces to limit the contaminants is as important for good lAQ as adequate fresh air ventilation rates.

Elta Fans provide a wide range of ventilation products for schools, universities and other educational establishments, so for more information please look at examples of typical products that could be used for these applications, or alternatively, please contact us to discuss your specific application requirement.