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CASE STUDIES


drowsier as their core temperature starts growing warmer. Both factors therefore need to be managed effectively by a well-planned and appropriately designed ventilation system.


The consequences


Failure to respond punctually to indoor air quality problems can lead to severe consequences. There may also be long and short-term health implications for students and staff, including coughs, headaches and allergic reactions, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin. More importantly in an educational setting, poor IAQ frequently leads to fatigue and lack of concentration, as outlined in study by the University of Reading in 2008 which


demonstrated that the attention span of school children is significantly shorter when the level of CO2


Natural ventilation


In existing buildings there is a trend towards using natural ventilation to improve indoor air quality, due to the perception that it costs little to run. In some baseline designs, which lay out the specifications that could be applied across a wide range of educational facilities, louvres have been placed on one side of the classroom as they allow air to naturally flow through the corridors and up through an atrium.


However, the main problem with natural ventilation is that it is very dependent on the weather. For example, a building using natural ventilation in the winter is purposely allowing cold air into it, putting extra pressure on the heating system, which is likely to result in inflated energy bills. Not only that, but with outdoor air quality often hampered by factors such as transportation and grounds maintenance, this can begin to affect the quality of the air within the building.


Best practice


When weather conditions are not conducive to natural ventilation, mechanical ventilation becomes a much more reliable option. One benefit of mechanical ventilation is that it will contain CO2


sensors that will control the fan


speeds depending on the ventilation required, helping to make the comfort levels within the building much easier to manage. For those keen to go the extra mile in enhancing energy efficiency, there is a growing trend to install a heat recovery unit for each individual classroom.


Put simply, a Single Room Heat Recovery Ventilator acts as both an extractor fan and a supply fan, blowing air into the room and


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www.acr-news.com  November 2017 63


in classrooms is high.


sucking air out of it simultaneously, passing the extracted air over a heat exchanger which then transfers this energy to warm the incoming air. This ventilation method saves a lot of the heating energy, especially in the winter, and therefore helps to reduce bills.


Although mechanical ventilation is not mandatory, the importance of having good indoor air quality in educational buildings speaks volumes, both in terms of health benefits and academic performance.


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