Back to all Project Ideas / Assess Indoor Air
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people spend 90% of their time indoors, where pollutant levels can be from 2-100 times higher than outdoors. The American Lung Association reports that asthma, which can be triggered by these pollutants, affects the lives of over 7 million children under 18 in the United States. In 2008, this accounted for 14.4 million lost school days. Poor indoor air quality negatively affects the health and performance of students and faculty in schools, so assessing indoor air quality (IAQ) is a vital step to jump-starting or maintaining a healthy green school.
- Raise awareness in your school community about the environmental factors that can trigger asthma attacks.
- Learn about asthma triggers, make signs to post in your school, and spread the word throughout your school community that we can ease the burden of asthma in our schools.
- Download EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit for walk-through checklists, guides, problem-solving tools, and information about IAQ in schools.
- On a smaller scale, use the American Lung Association’s Healthy Air Classroom Checklist to identify any signs of indoor air pollution sources in a single classroom.
- Make the case and get permission from a school or campus administrator to do an indoor air quality walk-through of the building.
- Get their help in assembling your indoor air quality team, including faculty, staff, maintenance and facility personnel, health officers, and students.
- Perform your walk-through inside and outside, share your findings from your walk-through with school officials, and advocate for healthy indoor air quality solutions and programs in the school.
- Record decreased levels of CO2 and decreased absences due to respiratory illness.
- You can track your school's indoor air quality throughout the school year using Arc.
- Find out about the sources that can trigger asthma symptoms through the American Lung Association.
- Take a look at the resources from Mom’s Clean Air Force about asthma triggers that could impact students and staff.
- Learn about healthy indoor air quality for schools:
- American Lung Association’s Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit
- Environmental Protection Agency’s Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools
- Read about federal efforts and find additional resources from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program.
- Watch the Northwest Clean Air Agency video, “School Walk-through: Identifying and Solving Common Indoor Air Quality Problems,” to see what a school walkthrough may include.
Middleburg Montessori in Marshall, VA
“We analyzed the air quality of our school and worked to improve it through implementing a green wall. We engineered a hydroponics system using plants to filter our air. We hope to be a point of inspiration and learning for Middleburg Montessori School and the larger community.”