Hot Tips: Indoor Air Quality

Why DOAS Are Right for School Buildings

An estimated 70 percent of all school buildings have indoor air quality (IAQ) problems, leading to an unhealthy environment. Many common IAQ problems are associated with improperly operated and maintained HVAC systems, overcrowding, moisture incursion and dampness, and presence of outside air pollutants. IAQ problems have a greater impact on children than adults, as children breathe a greater volume of air relative to their body weight. This increases their sensitivity to indoor air pollution, resulting in greater susceptibility to airborne illnesses such as asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Additionally, occupants of school buildings are close together, with approximately four times the occupant density in schools compared to office buildings. Mounting evidence indicates that the quality of a school’s physical environment affects educational achievement and more attention is now being paid to addressing IAQ issues.

With this in mind, the instillation of a DOAS system can dramatically improve a school’s indoor air quality, creating a happier, healthier and more productive environment for students, teachers and staff, and some systems earn valuable LEED points. DOAS systems condition up to 100 percent of outdoor air — improving air quality and reducing the load on other HVAC equipment in a building. This reduction in HVAC equipment load can result in significant savings in energy consumption over the lifetime of a system.

Humidity control is another great benefit of these systems. Human occupants and certain equipment in a school will generate moisture, but most moisture comes from the ambient conditions. If an uncontrolled amount of moisture is continually added to a building, a mold-friendly environment will result. Even if mold is not a concern, the moisture content in the air will affect the comfort level for students, teachers and staff. These and other benefits make DOAS systems the perfect choice for school buildings.

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.

About the Author

Kevin Miskewicz is the director of Commercial Marketing with Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. He can be reached at kmiskewicz@hvac.mea.com or 888/979-9686.

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