Even when California schools install new heating and ventilation systems, the contractors aren’t properly adjusting or programming the units to provide enough ventilation to protect the health and welfare of students or their teachers, according to a study released this week by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
“Even in … classrooms with new HVAC equipment, 85 percent of them were under-ventilated. We went to 104 classrooms across 11 schools,” said Theresa Pistochini, engineering manager at the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center. “There is very little awareness about this problem. The issue is you don’t know what you don’t measure.”
If classrooms lack proper ventilation, students and teachers are exposed to unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide and air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde. While the volatile organic compounds are given off as gas from building materials, finishes and furniture, the ratio of CO2 rises as the students and teachers exhale it.
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