22 June 2017
In a systematic review of over 200 scientific studies, the German research institute, Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP, have found that many European schools are unable to provide pupils with a proper indoor environment for learning. Too many schools fail to provide a sufficient outdoor air supply rate and are too warm in the summer months.
The research concludes that a large number of the 95 million school children in Europe are working in classrooms with excessive levels of CO2 and an inadequate supply of daylight. Although some schools have CO2 levels between the recommended rates of 1,000 to 2,000 ppm to achieve a hygienically unobtrusive indoor air quality, this study reveals that most schools have levels that exceed the maximum of 2,000 ppm. And in some tests, scientists have recorded readings of up to 6,000 ppm.
The study also shows that a good indoor environment has a direct impact on the learning capabilities of students. The researchers found that improving ventilation rates, reducing the CO2 concentration and increasing access to daylight in classrooms improves school children’s performance in the sense of working speed, higher levels of attention and concentration and lower rates of absenteeism.
The researchers came to the conclusion that the speed at which pupils work can be increased by up to 15% by simply increasing the amount of fresh air into the room.
The report suggests several methods with which the indoor climate in schools can be improved. One of the proposals is to set more time aside for airing during lessons with e.g. motorized windows or other openings for ventilation, which can be controlled automatically by sensing of outdoor and indoor parameters (such as relative humidity, CO2 concentration and temperature). Also hybrid ventilation systems, such as fan assisted natural ventilation, are discussed as viable solutions to improving the indoor class room environment.
Learning capabilities of school children affected by indoor climate
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