Study Investigates Ventilation Rates in California Classrooms

An article published in the January 2020 volume of Building and Environment investigates recent retrofits of HVAC equipment for proper ventilation rates in California schools. Researchers measured CO2 concentration, room and supply air temperature, relative humidity, and door opening in 104 classrooms that had been retrofitted with new HVAC units. They found that 51% of the classrooms had problems with the equipment, fan control, or other maintenance issues. “Improperly selected equipment, lack of commissioning, incorrect fan control settings, and maintenance issues… were all associated with under-ventilation in classrooms.” In addition, “many classrooms in this sample were frequently too warm to support learning.” Researchers concluded “Periodic testing of ventilation systems and/or continuous real-time CO2 monitoring… is recommended to detect and correct ventilation problems.”

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