The Air Quality in Classrooms is Being Overlooked?

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The Air Quality in Classrooms is Being Overlooked?

The IAQ in commercial buildings has received press attention lately, especially after the death of the former Minister of Communications Sergio Motta and the subsequent publication of Ordinance 3523 by the Ministry of Health on 28 August 1998. Several laws and technical standards have been published in Brazil since then, as well as inspections and monitoring by health workers, labor and professional bodies advice on air conditioning systems.

The “World Green Building Council” issued a major report in September last year, “Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The next chapter is green building” (health, well-being and productivity in offices: The next chapter for building green), which has generated more interest in the real estate and construction industry. However, it can be argued that they are schools, along with health care, which have major implications when it comes to the difference between good and bad performance IAQ.

Students spend about 4-5 hours per day, five days a week, 40 weeks a year for about 13 years in classrooms. The performance of these spaces is very important for the development of students. VENTILAÇÃO and CO2 Resolution 09 of January 16, 2003 ANVISA – National Agency of Sanitary Vigilance, as well as other international bodies, recommends a maximum of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 for indoor environments. Inadequate ventilation causes CO2 and indoor air contaminants accumulate in occupied spaces. In a large number of schools, carbon dioxide levels (an indicator of ventilation efficiency) are 3,000 ppm.

This is usually in occupied rooms, often in the summer season when the classrooms are closed with air conditioning and obviamente are without adequate ventilation. These levels suitable for commercial offices are taken into consideration to help in concentration, strategy, performance and employee productivity. In fact, the 2012 study called “CO2 is a pollutant inside? direct effects of low to moderate concentrations of CO2 in the human performance of decision making, “Satish et al found that when levels increased from 600 ppm to 1,000 ppm and 2,500 ppm, there were statistically significant reductions in performance in office; in some cases job performance came to be classified as “dysfunctional” when in 2,500 ppm levels.  

Although addition, students are exposed to carbon dioxide levels exceeding 3,000 ppm and then tell them they need to improve the focus, attention and notes so that they can compete with other international students in literacy and other standards . Data compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, OSHA, NIOSH and ACGIH, US authorities indicated that a level of 1,000 ppm “indicates improper ventilation, complaints such as headache, fatigue and irritation of the eyes and throat become more generalized; the level of 1,000 ppm should be used as a threshold in the internal levels “and levels between 2,000 and 5,000 ppm are” … associated with headaches, drowsiness and stuffy air, heavy static. Lack of concentration, loss of attention , increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.

” The authors of the study “CO2 is a pollutant inside? direct effects of low to moderate concentrations of CO2 in the human performance of decision-making “also argue that the effect of 2500 ppm carbon dioxide equivalent approximately to a concentration of 0.08 blood alcohol – above the 0.05 limit for vehicle driving. So what are the characteristic levels of CO2 in the classrooms? A 2002 study of 120 classrooms in Texas showed that 88% of classrooms had up to 1,000 ppm levels and, alarmingly, 21% of classrooms were with above 3,000 ppm levels. Another study of the Technical University of Denmark, shows student performance gains at 14.5% in environments with good air quality. This is what a student is able to learn in 06 years what he would learn in 07. Not to be good at math to see financial gain for a country with investments that subject. 

A reality shows increasingly classrooms with more students and less space and reduced windows, cause this saturated environment. Compostos Volatile Organic An additional consequence of inadequate ventilation is the accumulation of other contaminants from indoor air and volatile organic compounds – VOCs, including formaldehyde. VOCs can be found in various construction and maintenance products used in classrooms, including carpets, vinyl, paints, sealants, plastics, wood products, furniture, electronics, cleaning agents and many others. The toxicity of VOCs varies. Many are known to those para significant health effects: it is known that some are irritating and others cause cancer (carcinogenic), mutations, and other undesirable effects. Outdoors, VOCs can be dispersed easily before they cause damage to health, but indoors with poor ventilation, such as a classroom, VOCs can accumulate and create health hazard. In addition to significant health effects, a team from the University of California, Berkeley, led by Bill Fisk found cognitive decline (impaired reasoning) related to exposure to VOCs at levels typical of an office that had been renovated last year.

Many schools in Australia who had problems before and after reduced problems associated with VOCs, through a stronger focus on the material selection and management of IAQ. CONTAMINANTS microbial Another major problem is the indoor air ability to spread bacterial e viral infections, and mold to grow a special contributing factor. There is an increasing incidence of chronic health conditions such as asthma, viruses. allergies and other sensitivities. Asthma is the leading cause of absences in schools among children in the United States. Um study in 2003 showed that the effects on schools contaminated by mold in the United States include significant immediate allergic reactions in students and teachers. In addition, more than two years after exposure, many of these students and teachers continued to have reactions that were not present before exposure.

This has significant implications for schools with climate warming and the increase in infiltration rate, associated with floods and water leaks. The risk of problems with mold in classrooms tends to increase and will bring consequences for the health of children in schools. Este is a global problem. A new World Health Organization report showed that domestic environments of low quality in schools is a major problem in many countries in the European region, with problems including airless and stuffy environment, moisture and mold, uncomfortable temperatures and toilets malfunction . Although the report states that the high-income countries have policies to improve indoor air quality in schools, including standards for ventilation, poor quality ventilation and stuffy air in classrooms, especially during the colder seasons, still to be a problem common to all.

This has had negative effects on respiratory health, absenteeism, academic performance and student welfare. Exposure to mold and moisture is also common in some countries, while improving sanitation and hygiene in schools remains a challenge in developing countries. Poor infrastructure and inadequate maintenance of the facilities are the reasons behind the low student satisfaction with health and hygiene facilities and the limited use they make deles. There are important environmental problems in schools, which are essentially neglected. The persons responsible for decision-making should analisar the evidence and make sure that the existing standards and regulations are implemented. Recently, the city of Santos / SP, bid the purchase of 3,000 Split type air conditioners for local schools. Despite being an action in order to bring comfort to students and teachers, it is a catastrophe in relation to indoor air quality. This air conditioner, Split, is only for use in residential environments.

For use in non-residential environments, adaptations must be made as an efficient filter system and air exchange, which permitam the environment does not have saturated air. Conventional Split unit does not have proper filtration and even air renewal. Unfortunately me our country this type of equipment has been used in non-residential applications in large scale and represents more than 90% of air conditioner sales in Brazil. This results in different environments with irregular facilities outside of technical standards and Brazilian legislation. An Air Quality Program in Schools should be in the country’s development agenda, especially when the government wants to be an EDUCATOR HOMELAND.

Prepared by: Eng Leonardo Cozac – Civil Engineer and Safety, certified specialist in Internal Air Quality.. Director of Conforlab @leonardo_cozac 


Air Quality – Health and student academic performance

Every child deserves a healthy learning environment Children are naturally more vulnerable to environmental hazards because their bodies are still developing. poor environmental conditions in schools, as poor cleaning or insufficient ventilation can cause serious health problems for children. There is increasing evidence that indoor air quality (IAQ) directly affects the health and academic performance estudante.1,2 The IAQ refers to air features indoor as pollutant levels, moisture, temperature , etc., that affect the health, comfort and performance capabilities of the occupants.

Measures to improve the Q A I schools are key to improving the health and academic performance of the student. Developing the subject based on evidence Scientific evidence has long shown a link between poor IAQ and respiratory health effects, including asthma. It was shown that maintenance problems in schools, such as mold and humidity or excessive use of cleaning products trigger asthma and allergies. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma is a leading cause of faults escola.3 Several studies have shown that the overall performance of children decreases with diseases or faults in escolas.4,5 Evidence scientific increases quantitative and qualitative evidence shows that the relationship between IAQ and performance and productivity are more solid. Studies show that the best IAQ increases productivity and improves the performance of intellectual tasks, such as concentration and memory, both adults and children.6 With this, it reinforces the need for schools to create IAQ management plans, including measures maintaining critical, as an essential part of an education development strategy.

Evidence from the scientific literature Scientific evidence shows that there are significant areas in which schools can act to improve IAQ in order to improve the health and performance of students and school staff. In fact, a structured maintenance program is a cornerstone in the academic performance and IAQ. Managing your school environment despite the low operating budget The school boards and administrators usually consider the maintenance budget as “special budget” that can be cut without affecting the essential needs of the academic program; However, the scientific literature shows the opposite: • Health, attendance and academic performance can improve with the improvement of manutenção.7, 8 • Schools in better physical conditions show better academic performance, while schools with fewer staff of general services and more accumulations maintenance show academic performance inferior.9 the Effects of air ventilation in Health and performance ventilation rates in most schools are below levels recomendados.10 However, ensure adequate air ventilation rates in all rooms classes can: • Reduce the faults and the transmission of diseases infecciosas.11 • Improve overall health and productivity of teachers. • Improve test scores and performance on the completion of intellectual tasks. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 In one study, students in classes with higher rates of outdoor air ventilation had results 14 to 15% better on standardized tests than children in classrooms with lower rates of air vent exterior.18 Also, ensure cleaning of the drain trays and other components of air conditioning and heating system reduces the occurrence of disease in occupants. Control mold and moisture to reduce asthma symptoms humidity and mold in homes, offices and schools cause significant increase in various health outcomes related to respiratory problems and asma.19 20 • Asthma is the leading cause of absences in schools, which hinders academic performance. 21 • Symptoms identified among occupants of buildings exposed to moisture or mold include: cough, sore throat, fatigue, headache and wheezing.

Establish a management program IAQ Many effective school programs IAQ management are implemented in conjunction with other health programs such as physical education, nutrition and counseling services. Implementation of IAQ management strategies, including moisture management, integrated pest management and proper ventilation helps control environmental triggers and relates to asthma and other health initiatives. The literature suggests that the integration of health programs with a coordinated and comprehensive program can achieve better learning outcomes and health, allowing schools have better efficiency recursos.1,2 To learn more about IAQ management programs in schools, visit


How the Brazilian legislation, the market and customers are behaving regarding indoor environmental air quality

Since 1998 when he died the then Minister of Communications Sergio Mota, the quality issue of indoor air (IAQ) gained national recognition with new legislation, technical standards and media exposure. New products and services reached the Brazilian market to meet the concept of caring for the air of the place where we spend more than 85% of our time was an important issue.

After almost two decades the concept of QAI has expanded the overall market, customers, government and market professionals. Few administrators professional services, or facilities, that do not know the subject or already have in their budget envelope for analysis of air quality, air-conditioning maintenance, filter replacement, specialized carpet cleaning, product control chemicals used in the environment, among other actions needed for better IAQ. In the main capitals of the country already we see inspection body requiring companies actions to improve indoor air.

In São Paulo, the main shopping centers, hotels, call centers and other places of great concentration of people has been inspected routinely, being required to comply with legislation, insusceptible to penalties and fines. The Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Porto Alegre already have similar actions. It is still small compared to the number of indoor public use and collective in the country.

The IAQ market already has several specialized companies, products and services aligned with the latest world technologies considered friendly to a healthy environment. Highlight products and services such as: – remote monitoring system; – Analysis of air quality; – Cleaning and sanitizing of air conditioning systems; – Specialized cleaning carpets and surfaces; – Photocatalysis technology; – More efficient air filters; – Coating materials (eg special inks.) And cleaning with low emissions of VOCs .; Also not lacking technical standards and defined procedures that guide those responsible for indoors guidance on how to take care of the environmental air. NBR 16401 of ABNT it comes to air conditioning systems HVAC projects already exists a unique chapter on IAQ. The customer is still the great player that needs to evolve within that IAQ theme. There is much lack of awareness. As he has no awareness of the importance of having a good quality of indoor air environment, the client always wants to buy the cheaper (and who would not?). A simple example is the case of air conditioner split type that represents more than 90% of sales system in Brazil in 2014. T

he installation cost is low compared to a central system, for example. However, in the conventional split system there is no provision of two key items for good IAQ. Renewal and air filtration. In developed countries such as the United States, for example, households use central systems where there is a possibility of having a capture the outside air that will allowed exchange of air, diluting possible internal contaminants, and an efficient filtration system.

Air filters are sold in supermarkets in these countries (photo). You do not need laws or inspections in these homes, only awareness of the importance. filters Photo filters in the US supermarket shelf. Some small awareness campaigns in Brazil begin to appear in public places. Some malls in São Paulo already informed its customers that the air environment that is maintained within the federal legislation. carbonomonitorhigienopolis Information to users of indoor air quality in shopping centers in São Paulo.

The more customers understand that a good indoor air quality brings financial returns with increased productivity of its employees on the premises of its companies, more will be invested in this theme. Studies show that for every Real (R $) invested in a good IAQ, from R $ 3.00 to R $ 5.00 return the company in absenteeism reduction figure (faults), increased productivity and reduced medical costs. A central air conditioning system can have an initial cost of higher installation, but the return on this investment is fast.


Indoor Air Quality Tech Tips

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The water and the buildings – a solved problem?

The relationship between water and human being has always been a matter of life or death. Throughout human history water has always played a strategic role in the development. For the same reason human civilization arose in the Fertile Crescent, a small region along the rivers Tigers, Euphrates and Nile in ancient Mesopotamia. A constant for the survival of civilizations, the water in ancient times was essential as their availability. Thus we see the engineering innovations that have thousands of years to ensure their access, as did the Roman Empire with the construction of huge aqueducts bringing water to its urban centers or Indian baolis, monumental semi-artesian wells. The lack of water could be catastrophic and it is no wonder that today we Brazilians, so far, we have in our imagination the main European water sources (Thames-London-Paris Seine, Tagus, Lisbon, Vienna-Danube).



WH Engenharia e Manutenção Ltda.

Há 26 anos que a empresa Conforlab nos atende não só em São Paulo como também em todo o Brasil prestando serviços de forma eficiente e prestativa. Só temos a agradecer pela parceria e reconhecimento às boas práticas de transparência.

João Roberto Minozzo

WH Engenharia e Manutenção Ltda.


Legionella Risk Assessment

Are you worried about Legionella bacteria in your water system? Legionnaires’ Disease is a potentially fatal disease that can be caused by improperly maintained buildings. Have Conforlab put together a Legionella water plan to prevent a problem from ever happening in the first place.