|Of the over 115,000 schools in the U.S.,
the average age is 42 years. Yet, according to the Department of Education,
these same learning facilities must legally provide a "reasonable standard
of care" regarding facility environments, and will be deemed "negligent" if
they fail to meet minimum standards.
Before graduation, a typical child will have spent 14,000 hours breathing
"school" air, and today asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism,
accounting for 10 million missed school days each year. However, 50% of
these facilities have problems linked to poor indoor air quality, which has
an adverse effect on student health, performance, and test scores.
Indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, and in some cases
old school facilities can be 100 times more polluted. Children breathe a
greater volume of air relative to their body weight compared to adults.
Many children breathe through their mouths, bypassing the nasal passages'
natural defenses. Poor indoor air quality reduces average daily attendance,
which reduces operating budgets if based on daily attendance records. Staff
members also cite inferior indoor air quality as a major factor for teacher
low morale, poor performance, high absenteeism, and health problems.
Poorly designed traditional overhead air distribution systems can also
contribute to high humidity, poor air filtration and inadequate air
circulation, causing dizziness, dehydration, and mold and mildew formation.
Tate's underfloor air distribution system is the most clean and cost
efficient HVAC design available for any type of learning institution.
A growing body of evidence also links student performance with indoor
environmental conditions, including poor natural daylighting, which reduces
student learning by up to 20% on math tests and to 26% on reading tests.
In The National Educational Technology Plan, the U.S. Department of
Education defines imperatives to improve teaching and learning through
technology. Based on the knowledge that information technology is essential
in classrooms, the goals emphasize the need for continuing research and use
of digital content and networked applications to achieve the desired
transformations in education. The individual classroom must become a
multi-purpose, multi-media environment that reflects fundamental change in
education approaches and techniques, providing resources that enable both
individual and and group interaction.
Higher energy consumption and operating costs result when HVAC systems are
not designed to optimum efficiency. Underfloor modular power and voice/data
distribution allows more flexibility for unlimited zone connectivity, space
reconfiguration and multi-purpose use. Also, technology additions or
changes are disruptive or expensive when the service distribution system is
not designed to accommodate reconfiguration or change.