International Day of Clean Air emphasises the importance of improving air quality to protect human health. This year, under the theme of ‘The Air We Share’, we want to focus on how indoor air quality can affect students in classrooms and how we can help tackle this issue at Safetyline Jalousie.
Ventilation often isn’t a primary focus when building learning spaces. Air conditioning (AC) is the go-to solution to keep classrooms cool in Australia, but without ventilation, children are exposed to many health risks.
When fresh air is unable to circulate in and out of classrooms, AC tends to recirculate the same air that contains dust, biological contaminants, particulates, and most of all, the carbon dioxide (CO2) that we breathe out.
In a full classroom, levels of CO2 spike up to four times the optimal amount (from 1,000 ppm to 4,000 ppm). And when there is more CO2 present in classrooms, students can suffer from a lack of oxygen, leaving them unable to concentrate.
Students can also get headaches, nauseated, and constantly feel tired and sleepy from lack of oxygen. Some of the less common but serious effects also include eye irritations, allergies, breathing difficulty, developing asthma, and chronic lung conditions.
Safetyline Jalousie understands the direct correlation between student academic performance and health and indoor air quality in learning spaces. To address this increasing issue, we have developed an air quality solution with the SmartAir System.
The SmartAir system is a complete turnkey natural ventilation solution that allows buildings to breathe for themselves. It couples Safetyline Jalousie’s high performance and high free air louvre windows, with sensor and control equipment specifically developed for window automation.
Using a visual LED traffic light system, SmartAir measures and monitors C02, temperature and humidity, and before reaching hazardous levels, will inform and operate a classroom’s louvre windows to open to provide fresh air and flush out polluted air – all without the need for human input.
When the louvres are open, the system will also lock out AC to reduce unnecessary power consumption, electricity costs and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions – providing ongoing benefits over a school building’s entire lifecycle.
Not only is this air quality solution relevant to student health and performance, but it is also vital in Australia’s recovery from COVID-19. According to a New York Times collaboration with leading engineers, specialists in building systems and experts from Harvard University, the lack of sufficient ventilation creates an ideal environment for airborne viruses to spread around and transmit.
Labor’s NDIS spokesman Bill Shorten 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.’
With the SmartAir System, Safetyline Jalousie contributes to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of kids and adults alike across Australia, particularly those that are considered to be more vulnerable during and post COVID.
For more information, watch our video.