Your building designs have an effect on student performance. This is a key concern for the schools that may want to use your services. Here’s how windows and ventilation play key roles in the classroom.
Educators go to great lengths to improve the educational outcomes of their students. They’re always learning so they can improve the quality of teaching they provide. Educators also adopt new technologies to help their students learn.
Teachers dedicate themselves to preparing their students for adult life.
This personal effort is very important, of course. But some of it can be undone due to issues that are beyond the teacher’s control. A poorly-designed building can play a huge role in students’ performance. There’s plenty of evidence to show that ventilation and lighting have an effect.
This article digs deeper into these effects. In doing so, it highlights why classroom design is so important. Understanding these issues will help you to provide better services to educators. This results in improved educational outcomes for students.
We’ll break this article down into sections that cover ventilation and windows. Within those sections, we’re going to look at the potential issues. Then, we’ll cover some solutions for you to consider.
Ventilation – The Key Issues
Ventilation is a key concern in all areas of modern building design.
When it comes to schools, poor air quality causes two key issues.
Issue #1 – The Spread of Disease
Poor ventilation can lead to disease spreading. This is due to a lack of fresh air circulating in the room. Viruses can stay in a room longer if there’s no ventilation in place.
This is a particular issue in developing countries. A study conducted in South Africa in 2014 looked at these concerns in more detail. It examined air quality in schools in Cape Town. That city has a tuberculosis issue (TB), with 0.4% of students testing positive for the disease.
Researchers used special air monitors to check the air that 64 students breathed. The study looked at the results over the course of 91 days. It found that 60% of students breathe air that contains at least 1000 parts per million of carbon dioxide. That’s more than double the carbon dioxide they breathe in when outside.
The study suggests that poor ventilation leads to the spread of TB in Cape Town schools. As such, it highlights how this issue leads to the spread of disease in schools.
Issue #2 – Effects on Learning Outcomes
It also appears that poor air quality has an effect on concentration levels. This leads to an inability to focus. Students can’t take in the full lesson because of distractions beyond their control.
America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out the major issue. It says that students in poorly-ventilated classrooms achieve worse results in standardised testing. In particular, they struggle more with maths and reading.
It also highlights the effects that changes in room temperature can have on students. Poor ventilation can lead to classrooms becoming too hot. The EPA says that this affects students’ ability to perform tasks. Anything that requires concentration becomes a particular issue.
Ventilation – The Solutions
There are several potential solutions to these air quality issues.
Here are some things that all builders should keep in mind.
Solution #1 – Use Louvre Windows
The flow of natural air into classrooms is a key concern. Traditional windows allow for fresh air to circulate. But they also present some problems. For example, they present safety risks, especially when used on higher floors. The increasing popularity of vertical schools makes them less viable as a solution.
Louvre windows solve this problem. Their design allows for steady air flow. That comes without leaving wide open spaces that increase the risk of falls. The use of appropriate materials also lowers the risk of shattering.
This makes louvre windows effective for achieving natural ventilation without compromising safety. You can use them to combat the disease issue mentioned above. Plus, they allow you to maintain some control over the classroom’s temperature.
Solution #2 – Use Appropriate Materials
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are another key issue for schools. VOCs are chemicals that have a high vapour pressure. This causes them to evaporate at room temperature, which means students breathe them in. Too many VOCs leads to poorer air quality, which affects learning outcomes. They can also contribute to the spread of illness.
Proper ventilation allows you to cycle these VOCs out of a building faster. But you must also take steps to limit their presence as much as possible. That means selecting appropriate materials during the design and development stage.
Every material you use has the potential to release VOCs. This includes your paints and sealants. Even many of the electronics used in the building can produce them.
Focus only on materials and products that have low VOC emissions. This improves the air quality in the building. It also makes your ventilation more effective.
Windows – The Key Issues
We’ve already highlighted how window choice can help with ventilation.
But there are several other window-related issues for you to keep in mind.
Issue #1 – Lack of Natural Light
Classrooms that don’t offer access to natural light do a disservice to students. This leads to students struggling with their work. A study by the Heschong Mahone Group shows how large this effect is.
They looked at how the presence of natural light affects student outcomes. According to the study, students progress 20% faster when natural light is present in the room.
Unfortunately, many classrooms aren’t built with natural light in mind. Instead, they make use of artificial lighting. Florescent bulbs are among the most popular choices due to the low cost. These bulbs emit a low-level light that doesn’t help students. Furthermore, their constant buzzing can prove distracting for students.
Issue #2 – Lack of Green Views
You may not think that the lack of a green view could affect student outcomes. After all, students have to pay attention to their teachers. That means they shouldn’t spend much time looking out of the windows.
But a study conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says otherwise.
Researchers examined 94 students in five high schools. They discovered that having a green view helps students. It improves their ability to pay attention by 13%.
It appears that the lack of a suitable view appears to affect concentration levels. This has obvious effects on learning outcomes.
Issue #3 – Water-Related Issues
The rise of vertical schools has placed leakage into the spotlight again. Your window choices could contribute to water seeping into the classroom environment.
This is a particular problem at high elevations. Windows face more extreme weather conditions when they’re higher up.
Water seepage can lead to the development of damp patches and mould in the classroom. Moulds create allergens and other toxins that can have negative effects on students.
Your windows need to offer appropriate protection from the elements. This ensures a healthy classroom environment.
Windows – The Solutions
Some of the issues highlighted above call on you to think beyond your window selection. The green views issue is only solvable through proper window placement. You may also need to manipulate the environment surrounding the school. This is a big issue for urban schools.
But your window selection does play a role in solving the natural lighting and water issues. In both cases, Safetyline Jalousie’s louvre windows may offer the right solution. Here are two reasons why.
Reason #1 – Control of Natural Light and Ventilation
Safetyline Jalousie louvre windows are available in a variety of different glass types from clear to Low E, tinted and even Vacuum glass. Having an array of options allows you to select the appropriate glass type to control light and heat transmittance based on both the climate and the window’s position in your building.
Furthermore, Safetyline Jalousie offers window spans of up to 1.4m. Again, this allows for greater natural light penetration and reduces the amount of framing.
Finally, you can adjust Safetyline’s windows to various opening levels allowing you to control the airflow into the room.
Reason #2 – Water Penetration Resistance
Safetyline’s windows use high-quality seals. This ensures they prevent water penetration. In fact, the windows offer a Water Penetration Resistance of 800pa. This means they can withstand high water pressure without allowing seepage.
The use of automated controls is also important. These also allow Safetyline’s louvre windows to adapt to their environment. Special sensors detect the weather outside and adjust the windows. For example, these sensors can close the windows for you if it starts raining. Again, this ensures as little water as possible penetrates into the classroom.
The Final Word
Classroom design is more important now than it’s ever been. We have a greater understanding of how ventilation and window choice affect students. The studies discussed above show how important this issue is.
Safetyline Jalousie’s louvre windows can help you to solve many of these issues. Their design encourages natural ventilation without compromising student safety. They’re also capable of withstanding high water pressures. This lowers the risk of dampness in the classroom. They also allow control over how much natural light enters the classroom.
Are you interested in using our louvre windows in your next construction project? Contact one of our Business Managers today to find out more about our windows.