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For anyone who has completed an education course or been a mature student, it is hard for us grown adults – let alone schoolchildren - to concentrate in stuffy, humid environments. So when teachers are constantly battling with the sometimes short attention spans of their students anyway, lack of ventilation and poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is another problem that they really don’t need.

Studies have proven that a build-up of CO2 can result in poor concentration, lethargy, headaches, nausea, and has a significantly detrimental effect on attentiveness too. This means that the need for good IAQ is particularly crucial in order to keep students performing to the best of their ability.

In addition, high humidity caused by poor air circulation can lead to excessive condensation – causing black mold and dust mites. Obviously, these can seriously impact our health, so ventilation is also crucial in any indoor environment where the vulnerable – like young children – are present.

The importance of effective ventilation in classrooms is equalled by the need for efficient space heating, but for cash-strapped education authorities, buying heating and ventilation systems separately is just not an option. The answer? A combination of both - specifically, a Demand Controlled Ventilation (DCV) system with balanced supply and extraction, plus an integrated low-water content heating system.

With a DCV system, the controlled supply of fresh air at low level and extraction of stale air at high level on opposite side of the classroom promises optimal IAQ for pupils. The other benefit is that it is energy-efficient too with its low-mass, low-water content heat emitter that by nature of its rapid response times, as well as being highly suited to low water flow temperature heat pump applications, means using less energy.  

In saying that, a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring good IAQ is not enough – there are too many variables in play, and ventilation needs to be managed on a room-by-room basis. With CO2 sensors, IAQ can be constantly monitored; and with a centralised controller, refresh units can be directed to increase or decrease the amount of fresh air being delivered.

In recent years, schools across the nation have made substantial efforts to improve their indoor air quality (IAQ). Delivering a controlled supply of filtered, fresh air by ventilation only when and where it is needed – and in the exact quantity required – throughout the nation’s classroom environments, will not only improve our children’s health, but ensure their learning abilities are not hindered by something as simple as the lack of fresh, clean air.

 

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