KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Research to determine whether indoor air quality (IAQ) conditions in classrooms are negatively impacting children’s health and their performance in school is being conducted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE has approved funding totaling $986,953 for eight research projects in the areas of indoor air quality, comfort and health, energy conservation, operating and maintenance tools, environmentally safe materials, and design tools.

Among the projects is 1257-TRP, Indoor Environment Effects on the Performance of School Work by Children. The principal investigators are David Wyon, Ph.D., and Pawel Wargocki, Ph.D., from the Technical University of Denmark. The project is expected to take two years with ASHRAE contributing $195,000, and is sponsored by ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.1, Physiology and Human Environment.

“The current concern is that outside air ventilation rates per person are known to be low in classrooms, mainly due to an overemphasis on reducing installation and operation costs,” said Wyon. “The resulting low air quality may be negatively affecting school performance.”

The research will be carried out in occupied classrooms during school hours. Each experiment will simulate the environmental impact of a classroom HVAC upgrade by producing one or more of the conditions that affect indoor environmental quality.

This includes reduced indoor air temperature and humidity in warm weather, better control of indoor air temperature, and increased outdoor air supply rate, leading to reduced levels of airborne pollutants.

For more information, visit www.ashrae.org.

Publication date: 09/29/2003