According to a recent study by the Government Accountability Office, 40% of the nation’s school systems need to replace at least half of their HVAC systems.
You can join many other school, district, and higher education leaders, who are working to improve indoor air quality for their facilities by retrofitting classrooms, gymnasiums, cafeterias, buses and more with the latest air purification technologies.
Even better, the government has offered funding to supplement those costs.
The Department of Education introduced the American Rescue Plan (ARP), allocating funds which can be used specifically to improve indoor air quality in schools- specifically including system upgrades, filtering and purification, as well as inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrading of projects in school facilities.
The ARP provides $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. The ESSER funds and Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds provided under earlier appropriations can also support this work.
The deadline is approaching though- the original ESSER and GEER funds are available until 9/30/2022 while a second round of funding is available until 9/30/2023.
But there remains a lot of confusion about expectations of these devices; what they truly are — and aren’t — capable of.
Here’s what you want to consider before installing these devices in your facility:
· How long will the installation take? If you need to retrofit your entire school, this is going to be much more than a one day process. Consider trying to schedule this during summer break or a period where the school will be unoccupied for a few days in order to cause as little disruption to students and teachers as possible.
· How much space are you trying to clean? One of the most common mistakes is choosing a purifier that’s not powerful enough for the space it’s cleaning. Make sure you install a device that’s designed for the size of the room or space you are trying to purify.
· What is the annual maintenance plan? Once you’ve installed your air purification devices, be sure to ask and understand the necessary maintenance to keep your purification systems operating at optimal performance. Most systems require changing some of the internal parts and filters annually or even more frequently if used in highly occupied spaces.
Remember, lab test results are important in the decision-making process but the effectiveness of air purifiers in real-world situations will vary significantly from the controlled conditions in a laboratory. The air we breathe is constantly changing due to the conditions (including temperature and humidity) of the room we’re in, plus the materials and the people in the room.
Installing an air purification system is absolutely a great step to improve the space where your students and staff work, learn and play.