Absence Of Classroom Ventilation At A Large Pre-k To 12 School District: Classroom Measurements, Equipment Configuration, Technical Challenges.

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Classroom ventilation is recognized as a fundamental environmental component associated with the education process and academic performance. This presentation discusses classroom ventilation challenges of a large K12 school district. The district has 179 schools serving greater than 140,000 students. Thirty-one of the district's schools are known to have an absence of mechanical ventilation to some or all educational space. Unventilated classrooms result from four primary causations. 1) Passive ventilation included in original design and construction of schools is rendered inoperable by retrofit air conditioning systems without ventilation components. 2) Economizer mode only outside air intake limits outdoor air to a few hours per year if system operates. 3) HVAC technicians called to remedy occupant temperature complaints, resulting in part from HVAC systems beyond their useful life cycle, close outside air intakes increasing HVAC heating/cooling capacity. 4) Sealing outdoor air intakes to avoid coil freezing and minimize outdoor air component maintenance requirements. District Maintenance has removed sheet metal covers over air intakes and Capital Program Services has updated a number of complete HVAC systems correcting the condition at a number of sites. Thirty-one remaining sites are subject of debate relating to ventilation necessity, definition of ventilation adequacy in terms of quantification, building configuration limitations, fiscal considerations and prioritization of competing physical plant resource need. Inadequate attention to HVAC systems often result from both competing fiscal interests and inadequate technical competencies. School occupants are generally not trained to ascertain the effects of inadequate ventilation; temperature is most often voiced concern relative to HVAC. School districts do not generally consider ventilation effects on academic performance when developing operations and capital budgets. This presentation includes discussion on internal school district considerations relative to improvement in ventilation promoting research potentials and practitioner understanding of the dynamics associated with problem resolution. [Author's abstract]
Kasher, Brian T.
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