Back to School - Proper ventilation ensures the best learning environment

Back to School - Indoor Air Quality
28th August 2020

We spend almost 90% of our time indoors - in school, at home, at work, or in transit. As such, it does not come as a surprise that the indoor environment – the IAQ – has a significant impact on our wellbeing and efficiency.

We all know that feeling on a Wednesday afternoon on a hot summer’s day when the air at the office or in the classroom is so stuffy and even the sixth cup of coffee just doesn’t do the trick. There’s nothing to do but give up, go outside and refresh the brain.

Well, except if you have proper ventilation in your office or classroom of course.

Indoor Air Quality is, luckily, becoming a focus area for many building owners and facility managers and the gains in terms of efficiency, concentration, health, and wellbeing are massive.

A large Danish experiment, conducted in 2011, proved that with proper IAQ in a classroom the students’ concentration levels would rise significantly. In fact, with the resulting improvements in learning capacity, the report concluded that on average the kids could save a year’s worth of school if the indoor environment was optimized. That is significant!

The scientific foundation for this report was a study conducted by the Danish Technological University (DTU) and encompassed 743 classrooms in 320 Danish schools, which is the equivalent of 13% of all school in the country. Similar studies in Norway and Sweden showed similar results.

The report compares schools with natural ventilation and those with mechanical ventilation and concludes that the latter creates the better learning environment. The IAQ and temperature was significantly better in schools with mechanical ventilation.

Air dispersion is only one of many factors, impacting the learning environment, but it does have a significant impact on many of the other factors, such as air quality, thermal conditions and noise levels.

Using fabric ducting ensures the possibility of a high air change at low velocity and creates the most comfortable environment compared to other air dispersion technologies.

At FabricAir, our precision air engineering guarantees that the classroom or office achieves the best possible indoor environment. The fabric-based technology offers a low temperature gradient and proper thermal mixing without creating uncomfortable and unhealthy drafts or adding a lot of noise.

This in turn has an immensely positive impact on student and worker productivity and concentration. The study mentions that the short-term sick leave rate among office workers would decrease by 35% if the ventilation rate doubled in buildings with poor ventilation.

The classroom temperature also has a vast impact on both student and teacher productivity. The study showed that for every 1°C [33.9°F] the temperature would fall below 25°C [77°F] the performance of the students would increase by 2% to 4%.

Temperature also has behavioral impacts on the children, as they typically do not adjust their clothing according to the temperature of the environment. The study observed that the girls would become uneasy but continue working; whereas the boys would lose their concentration and become undisciplined.

The report concluded that IAQ issues are typically the result of improper ventilation.

Based on those findings the incentive to improve the air dispersion in our schools should be high. Retrofitting fabric ducts in existing buildings is a relatively simple task with no significant strain on the building structure and with a lead time of only two to three weeks you could likely have your air dispersion system up and running before the kiddos return to the classrooms.

Welcome back to school!

To download the report [only available in Danish], please go to: