Ventilation has always been important in all buildings, especially in schools. There are several studies linking proper ventilation to better awareness, attentiveness, and student performance. As the pandemic continues, ventilation remains an important topic as we enter winter in the Midwest.
So, what is it? Ventilation is the process of supply or removing air from a space to control contaminant levels. In a typical HVAC system, outdoor air and return air are mixed, which effectively dilutes indoor particles and contaminants. It is then filtered and conditioned before being supplied to the space.
Andrew Huelsman, GMAE’s director of engineering, provided a few practical steps K-12 officials and their maintenance staff can take to improve ventilation without causing a large spike in energy costs.
- Step 1: Review your building’s equipment and understand how the different areas and spaces get their outside air.
- Step 2: Verify the equipment is operating correctly. Take a closer look at the pieces and parts.
- Step 3: Review the control system and verify what is telling the dampers when to open and close.
- Step 4: Increase outside air. You can do this through the control system while regularly monitoring temperature in the equipment and space temperatures.
- Finally: What if you can’t see what the equipment is doing because of its location or the equipment is too complicated? Try measuring carbon dioxide (CO2). Higher levels will require more outside air to keep it at a healthy level.
For more details on these steps, don’t hesitate to contact our team. You can also check out Garmann/Miller’s latest K-12 roundtable to hear Andrew discuss this topic.