All students and school employees have the right to a great public school that fosters a safe and healthy learning and work environment – and that includes indoor environmental quality (IEQ). Poor IEQ is caused by a variety of harmful factors, including: mold, poor ventilation, chemicals, extreme temperatures, asbestos, and other pollutants that negatively impact the health and achievement levels of all building occupants. Given that students and staff spend a good portion of the day and sometimes evening in a school building, this environment should be one of superior IEQ.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), twenty percent of the U.S. population — nearly 55 million people — spend their days in elementary and secondary schools. With many U.S. schools approaching or surpassing 50 years of age, it is not surprising that studies show that one in five of our nation’s 110,000 schools reported unsatisfactory indoor air quality (IAQ), and one in four schools reported ventilation — which impacts IAQ — as unsatisfactory.
Poor IEQ adversely affects the health of building occupants (particularly individuals with asthma, allergies and medically fragile students), results in increased absenteeism, and directly impacts staff performance and job satisfaction, and of course, student achievement.
Whether it is cleaning-up or retrofitting old schools or building new schools that meet LEED Standards, to provide the best learning and work environments for our students and school employees, IEQ must be addressed.
Take our FREE online course — What’s Your IEQ? A Roadmap to School Indoor Environmental Quality
EPA Webinar On-demand – Schools Chemical Cleanout
EPA – IAQ Design Tools for Schools
The Center for Green Schools