Experts Bring a Fresh Perspective on Fresh Air in Classrooms

In the wake of COVID-19, the need for classrooms to be equipped with proper ventilation systems has become more urgent than ever. While children between the ages of 12-15 are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, it is still imperative to ensure the safety of the students, the faculty, and the staff by establishing more effective ventilation setups in schools.

The Australian Infection Control Expert Group (AICEG) has updated the federal government regarding the high risk of contracting COVID-19 in ‘poorly ventilated indoor crowded environments’. Recently, a concerned group of health, ventilation and architecture experts known as OzSAGE called on the government to also focus on mandates to improve ventilation in indoor facilities.

Labor’s NDIS spokesman Bill Shorten has expressed his concern on this vital issue, ‘There needs to be a national plan for better ventilation in special schools – actually all schools – but particularly special needs schools for kids, people with reduced immunity.’

Governments in other countries have already applied initiatives to ensure proper indoor ventilation. Belgium has made it mandatory for business establishments such as restaurants, hotels, and fitness centres to have carbon dioxide (CO₂) monitors. England’s Department of Education has pledged to provide around 300,000 CO₂ monitors to schools next term to help reduce the potential outbreak of COVID cases.

The impact of poor ventilation

When people are gathered in enclosed spaces with closed windows and doors – such as a classroom — the amount of carbon dioxide in the air increases. If an unmasked person with COVID-19 is in that area, there is a high risk of contracting the disease as the viral particles are concentrated in the indoor aerosols within the breathing space as well.

An increase in CO₂ levels can also affect a person’s wellbeing and performance. Based on his research findings, Professor Mat Santamouris of UNSW discovered alarming levels of CO₂ in classrooms — up to 4,000ppm. That’s more than four times the threshold limit.

Professor Santamouris noted, ‘Under these conditions, both the teacher and the students are sleepy and tired, and their learning capacity is reduced tremendously.’

Associate Lecturer Dr Shamila Haddad of UNSW Sydney’s School of Built Environment concurred, ‘High concentration of CO₂ released by the occupants of the classroom can lead to fatigue, concentration loss, and poor learning performance.’

She also added, ‘A good ventilation system inside classrooms, on the other hand, can ensure good air quality and thermal comfort, which can enhance learning capacity and also protect students against the transmission of airborne diseases, like COVID-19.’

Setting up CO₂ monitors can keep track of carbon dioxide levels as an accurate indication for good ventilation. Outdoor air contains around 400-415 parts per million (ppm) of CO₂. Scientists gauge that between 400 to 800ppm of CO₂ is considered acceptable parameters in a well-ventilated indoor area, or 600ppm on average.

Given the structural state of most schools, however, the air quality has suffered tremendously.

RMIT University recently investigated five schools in Victoria for having ‘very poor ventilation’ as recorded CO₂ levels inside classrooms have reached up to 5,000ppm.

Installing high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration can help improve ventilation in classrooms and reduce the risk of aerosol exposure to airborne viruses. But its effectivity will depend on several factors: proper installation, location coverage, placement, and even the behaviour of students in the room.

Ultimately, having optimum ventilation boils down to allowing ample airflow from the outside to significantly reduce indoor CO₂ and harmful aerosol levels as well.

Opening windows of opportunity

Even before the pandemic, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has conducted studies on indoor ventilation. Their 2018 research observed the window opening behaviour in classrooms with different ventilation retrofits. The research revealed the following comparative findings:

  • Despite a visual CO₂ display, there was no significant drop in CO₂ levels in the classroom with windows that opened manually. Even in moderate climate temperatures, it was found that the occupants rarely opened the windows and barely noticed the CO₂ feedback with the windows in this scenario open only 17% of the time
  • Substantially lower CO₂ levels were recorded in a classroom featuring an automatic window opening. The windows in this scenario were open 71% of the occupied time

Researchers concluded that CO₂ concentrations were at their lowest in classrooms that featured an automatic window opening. Simply providing visual feedback on the current carbon dioxide concentration — as a motivation for window opening – was not enough to encourage this.

Safetyline Jalousie: innovative solutions for better ventilation

The challenge of having properly ventilated schools during this pandemic can be quite daunting. Yet, Safetyline Jalousie can provide high performance louvre window designs with 86% free air that can ensure safe and healthy ventilation.

In conjunction with Blue Squared Window Automation, Safetyline Jalousie has recently developed the SmartAir system – a pre-programmable, fully automated turnkey ventilation system to control airflow for natural ventilation. CO₂, humidity and temperature monitors will trigger Safetyline Jalousie’s motorised louvre windows to automatically open and close, removing the reliance of human input and resulting in improved indoor air quality.

We understand the need to improve ventilation systems and cost could be a major concern. Through the Free Motors Initiative, Safetyline Jalousie offers the opportunity to add SmartAir louvre motors to any windows quote, completely free of charge. This includes all retrofitting existing projects along with both present and future builds.

Contact us today for our complete SmartAir proposal and more information on how you can benefit from our COVID-safe ventilation solutions.

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Ali Asmar

Business Manager - VIC & SA

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As the most recent addition to the Safetyline Jalousie family, Ali is still coming to terms with the fact that a typical telephone conversation will often be answered with “You’re calling from Safety what”? followed by having to sound out and spell the name “ja-lou-sie” (it happens to us all). Born in Lebanon, Ali has moved around a lot over the years, living in Cyprus, Sydney for most of his Schooling, as well as China and Hong Kong. He currently resides in Melbourne where he spends a lot of time in his garden or doing some sort of work around the house. (Not too dissimilar to many other Melburnians following the onset of Covid). With a very obvious cultured background, Ali is warm and talkative and he’ll get you talking too.

Romile John

National Business Manager

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One of the Safetyine Jalousie originals, Rom (often mistaken for John) holds a great passion for the product. He says its “its innovative, a market leader and ever-evolving, very much like the company itself”. When you meet Rom, it is apparent that he is well-educated and well-travelled. Coming from a family of medical professionals, they moved around extensively and often. Last count was 125 countries. So nearly all of them! It’s really no surprise that Rom has mastered packing a weeks-worth of clothes and necessities into a carry-on bag. And when we say clothes we actually mean meticulously prepared outfits and accessories. When Rom enters a room, you’re sure to know it!

Adam Racomelara

National Manager – Partnerships & Strategy

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Adam is our strategist and big ideas generator whose somewhat reserved nature could have some mistake him as a bit of an introvert. But that’s only until this quiet thinker is given a whiteboard and a marker – and then there’s no stopping the dialogue! 7 Years in at Safetyline Jalousie, Adam is continually expanding on his knowledge of the construction industry and is incredibly driven in his pursuit to help create better buildings via the use of better products. When Adam’s not on his quest to improve Australia’s built environment he’s spending most weekends escorting one of his 4 young kids to birthday parties, sometimes multiple parties. He has some stealth survival tips for other parents currently in the same predicament.

Michael Cocks

Factory Manager

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Michael has become recognised at Safetyline Jalousie for his continually changing hairstyles (facial hair included). Buzz cut, undercut, dreadlocks, even a mullet. We’ve see it all. His current man bun could even be gone before we finish this sentence. Always up for a laugh, friends and colleagues love a chat with Michael, and his easy-going and approachable nature has earned him the respect of all staff. In fact, he even has a cohort of followers on the factory floor sporting his same hairstyles. Outside of work Michael has recently turned his attention to mountain bike riding. His very first ride ended with a pretty serious accident resulting in a deep puncture wound to his leg– it’s been a sore topic for his leg and his ego.

Jonathan Gueudinot

National Logistics & Production Manager

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Our South American Native, Jonathan is more simply and better known as “Chilli” (no need to try and guess his country of origin). After 16 years of military service, Chilli joined the Safetyline Jalousie team for what he describes as “a change of pace”. Although his average work day might look very different these days, there’s no doubt that Chilli’s previous experience has contributed in shaping a culture of commitment, community and comradery within the production team – the very important engine room of our company. Driven by a sense of accomplishment, in addition to running Safetyline Jalousie’s production line with military precision, Chilli has recently been studying hard to complete his Master’s Degree in Business and Logistics.

Mandy Saliba

Marketing Manager

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Mandy has been with Safetyline jalousie since day one so would technically be considered a geriatric in “Jalousie years”. Whilst her role has changed and evolved over her time with the business, one thing that hasn’t is the happy and fun, team culture that she says “continues to make each day at work a joy”. As a mum of two little ones, Mandy thrives on new challenges and a little bit of chaos. Although, as a self-proclaimed clean freak, she ensures that all forms of chaos are kept in a very neat and tidy manner. We’ve also observed that Mandy appears to have an inherent fear of colour and will almost only ever be seen in black or white (or sometimes grey if she is being really out there).

Lisa Spinks

Office Administration Manager

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As a busy mother of 4, Lisa is highly skilled in organising, delegating, and troubleshooting – the proficiencies which she also demonstrates in her daily management of the Safetyline Jalousie office. Lisa tells us that she lives by the saying “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger”. (No doubt she’s had to use this little piece or personal encouragement from time to time to deal with our infinite requests)! Always on the go, Lisa has a very active lifestyle and starts every day with a walk to the beach with her husband and two dogs. Of an evening she still has the energy to spare for star jumps and squats in her makeshift gym/ (our office) before heading home to her other full-time job as “mum”.

 

 

 

Nathan Rust

Founder & National Operations Director

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The younger brother of the co-founding sibling duo, “Nath” is the go-to for just about every technical, install, and manufacturing enquiry that comes via the business. Very early on, Nath’s product knowledge and problem-solving ability saw him organically take on the role of Operations, overseeing the design and management of Safetyline Jalousie’s behind-the-scenes work. When he’s off duty (and not answering a million questions), Nath enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 young kids. You’ll find him cheering on his son at weekend sports, enjoying the water somewhere along the Northern beaches and this lover of food is generally always planning his next big meal. Preferably a Lebanese banquet if anyone can suggest a restaurant he doesn’t frequent already.

Leigh Rust

Founder & Director

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Leigh aka “Wolfpack” is one-half of the driving force behind Safetyline Jalousie and comes with two decades of experience within the Australian manufacturing and construction industry. The multi-award-winning entrepreneur and father of three youngsters is a passionate advocate for supporting Australian-made goods and improving the built environment for future generations to come. Always up for a challenge, Leigh never sits still and is constantly pushing himself to test his physical and mental endurance. He’s given just about everything a go. From amateur MMA fights, triathlons, or personal development endeavours, Leigh stands by the motto, ‘I never lose, either I win or I learn’.

Sign up to receive access to our complete Design Manual & more

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Safetyline Jalousie Design Manual Version 3

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Safetyline Jalousie Design Manual Version 3