The Challenges of Ventilation Systems in Poorly Constructed Classrooms.
Budgets, codes, and technologies are constantly shifting and evolving. These days, even classrooms are often portable. Staying one step ahead will depend on your knowledge of current design options and how to integrate them into the space.
Ventilation Matters – There are studies that show that proper ventilation in classrooms does indeed make a difference in learning. In addition, there are studies indicating fewer absences when more ventilation air is provided to classrooms.
Back in the old days of the one-room country school house, before electricity was available for ventilation fans, the ventilation was “controlled” by operable windows that could be opened and closed for comfort control.
Now, engineers have more sophisticated technologies for control of ventilation air in school design. Engineers have the ability to measure ventilation air quantity and quality, too. Engineers also have a variety of technically enhanced systems for heating, cooling, and humidification to meet energy codes. All the while, there is a growing focus on comfort.
Codes and Standards – Meeting the code criteria is required. Meeting industry standards is generally optional, yet good prudent engineering embraces appropriate industry standards as well. The rationalization that a standard will only be used in a design if the budget allows is becoming more of a liability risk for professionals and school districts. More and more standards are being included in codes. The ASHRAE Standard 62 is the overriding standard for ventilation in occupied facilities. This standard has been used for HVAC design as of 1973. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62-1973, Standards for Natural and Mechanical Ventilation, presented minimum and recommended ventilation rates for 266 applications and became the basis for most state codes. This standard has been updated throughout the years and is currently published as ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.