Students may be at risk of short-term health problems such as fatigue and nausea, as well as long-term problems. Educators, administrators and planners improve IAQ with SSIPS.
People often think of air pollution as something in the outdoor skies but pollution poses an even greater hazard indoors. The EPA recently compared air quality and found, on frequent occasion air pollution levels were five times greater indoors. The EPA found on occasion, the pollution levels were more than 100 times greater indoors. Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors and children are no exception. The average child spends between 1200 and 1400 hours per year at school. Educators and parents are becoming increasingly aware of the effects of indoor air quality (IAQ).
Children are much more vulnerable to airborne pollutants. Since children have much smaller airways, even slight irritations can narrow a child’s airway to a dangerous condition. Children also have higher metabolisms requiring more oxygen relative to their size and weight, this means children breathe more rapidly and inhale more pollutants per pound than the adults.
Poor indoor air quality can impact the comfort and health of students which in turn can affect concentration, attendance, and student performance. If a school fails to respond promptly to poor IAQ, students become at an increased risk of short-term health problems, such as fatigue and nausea, as well as long-term problems like asthma.
Mold is often the culprit in indoor air quality issues. Mold produces allergy symptoms and in some cases weakens the body’s natural defenses. Exposure to mold can result in developing other allergies and hyper-sensitivity to allergens. Mold is on the radar of most K-12 schools concerned with the health and safety. According to the EPA, mold can be found almost anywhere moisture and oxygen are present, including wood, paper, and insulation. Mold remediation can be costly. A small mold remediation project in the average elementary school typically runs around $200,000. Environmental standards provide a key to help ensure new construction and renovations maintain some standard of environmental compliance. In building construction, surfaces like wood and the paper backing on sheetrock are a perfect substance for mold to feed on. With mold, the best defense is a strong offense. High performance materials such as ThermaSteel structural insulated panels (SIPS) provide an excellent alternative. ThermaSteel SIPS are waterproof and eliminate the use of mold attracting materials. The LEED certification program, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council can help school administrators and board members choose design and construction options which are environmentally sound, reducing potential problems later on. ThermaSteel and other high performance building options are the key elements of any LEED certified building project.
• Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects 24.6 million Americans, including 7.1 million children.
• One of every 10 school-age children has asthma.
• Asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism, each year 10.5 million school days are missed due to asthma.
• Asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers
ThermaSteel – The First Step to Healthy Schools Hi-Tech Building Systems assists planners, architects, builders, and administrators; in the integration of ThermaSteel steel SIPS into the design of educational new construction and renovation projects.
A controlled indoor environment is both healthy and comfortable. The structure of a steel SIP building envelope prevents air from gaining access to the interior of the building except in controlled amounts. Humidity can be controlled more easily in a SSIP structure resulting in a building that is more comfortable for students and staff and less prone to mold growth and dust mites. Because steel does not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), it inherently promotes a healthy Indoor Air Quality. Unlike OSB SIPS and traditional wood construction, steel SIPS are resistant to rot, mold, termite and insect infestation, leading to fewer respiratory and health problems.