Indoor Air Quality in Schools

What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a term used to describe the quality of health and comfort of the air inside buildings. Factors affecting Indoor Air Quality include temperature, relative humidity levels, airborne and surface contaminant concentrations, lighting, and noise. Perceptions of IAQ for a building can vary per individual, due to preferences in humidity and temperature levels, along with sensitivities to biological and/or chemical contaminants.

What Affects IAQ in School Buildings?

IAQ is a product of several factors, including ventilation system operation, the presence of contaminant sources, and building occupant activities.

Ventilation-Most of the Public Schools of Robeson County’s offices and classrooms are served by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. HVAC systems control indoor temperatures by supply in heated or cooled air. These systems are designed to remove airborne contaminants by providing a continuous supply of filtered outdoor air.

Contaminant Sources-Indoor air contaminants can adversely affect the health and/or comfort of the building occupant. A few common indoor contaminants include dust, pollen, fungal particles, bacteria and viruses, emissions from cleaning and maintenance products, animal-derived substances (insect and rodent feces and carcasses), and emissions from educational chemical products (paints, adhesives, photographic chemicals, ceramic materials).

Occupant Activities-Indoor air contaminants can be generated by various types of occupant activities, such as maintenance and repair work, construction, painting, housekeeping, art and science activities, and office work (copying, printing).

Why is IAQ important for the Public Schools of Robeson County?

"Good IAQ contributes to a favorable environment for students, performance of teachers and staff, and a sense of comfort, health, and well-being. These elements combine to assist a school in its core mission -- educating children." --EPA

What has the Public Schools of Robeson County done to improve IAQ in its buildings?

Environmental Management Supervisor-Mr. Jackie Locklear

The Environmental Management Supervisor investigates, documents, tracks and follows-up on all work order-reported indoor air quality concerns and issues. The Environmental Manager maintains records of all investigated issues.

Preventive Maintenance

Routine Filter Replacement - All air filters are on a regular schedule for replacement.

EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools

To help combat indoor air quality problems, EPA has created the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools Kit.


Images of dirty air environment.