Key points:

  1. ERVs enhance IAQ in K-12 schools effectively and efficiently, thus improving the health of students and staff.
  2. Integrating ERVs into K-12 schools not only leads to fewer sick days, but also fosters greater academic success.
  3. By reducing energy consumption, ERVs contribute to the environmental sustainability of schools and support the planet.

Post COVID-19, the recognition of the essential need to provide and maintain clean, healthy indoor air quality in schools has become more scrutinized than ever. As educational institutions strive to create safer spaces for students and staff, innovative solutions such as energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) have emerged as key players for school health. In this blog post, we delve into the significant benefits ERVs offer to K-12 schools and explore how they contribute to healthier classrooms and minds, as well as a healthier planet.

Deficient Indoor Air Quality Threatens School Buildings
With buildings becoming increasingly air-sealed to improve energy efficiency, a consequence is a rise in deficient indoor air quality (IAQ). This is a serious threat to occupant health, cognitive function, productivity and general wellbeing. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that about 50% of school buildings have problems linked to poor IAQ.

One of the main reasons for this is the high occupant density of schools. This means that greater levels of carbon dioxide (CO2)—which is considered an indoor air contaminant—are exhaled into the air. Additionally, having more people indoors leads to a greater spread of airborne viruses, such as SARS-COV-2 or measles.

Reduce Viral Spread in School Classrooms via ERVs
One of the most prominent advantages of implementing ERVs in K-12 schools is their ability to mitigate the spread of airborne viruses and pathogens. Conventional ventilation systems often recirculate indoor air, leading to the accumulation of contaminants and pollutants. However, ERVs provide increased and balanced sustainable ventilation by exchanging equal parts of stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air while simultaneously recovering energy from the exhaust air. This process not only improves IAQ and energy efficiency but also reduces the concentration of viruses and bacteria, thus minimizing the risk of airborne transmission.

Healthier Classrooms. Healthier Minds. Healthier Planet.
Healthier classrooms, healthier minds, healthier planet” encapsulates the multifaceted benefits of integrating ERVs into K-12 school environments. By providing cleaner and healthier indoor air energy-efficently, sustainably and cost-effectively, ERVs create learning environments that foster academic success and overall student development.

In fact, the EPA found that students in classrooms with higher outdoor-air ventilation rates scored 14-15% better on standardized tests than children in classrooms with lower rates. Likewise, a Harvard study noted that cognitive scores were 101% higher in a simulated green-building environment coupled with doubling the outdoor-air ventilation rate from 20 CFM to 40 CFM per person.

In addition, improved IAQ can lead to fewer sick days among both students and staff, resulting in higher attendance rates and increased productivity. The EPA determined that raising classroom outdoor-air ventilation rates can reduce absenteeism by approximately five to 10 absences per 1,000 students. This corresponds with a 1,000 ppm decrease in the difference between indoor and outdoor CO2 levels.

Furthermore, ERVs contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. By recovering and reusing energy that would otherwise be lost during conventional ventilation processes, RenewAire ERVs optimize energy efficiency and help schools to decarbonize, thus supporting the planet. This reduction in energy use enables schools to move toward more eco-friendly practices while cutting energy costs by up to 65%.

As a result of all of these benefits, the EPA states that “ERVs provide excellent opportunities for saving energy, controlling humidity and providing sufficient outside air to promote IAQ.”

RenewAire: A Leader in School Health Solutions
RenewAire stands at the forefront of providing cutting-edge ERV solutions tailored to the unique needs of K-12 schools. With a commitment to innovation and excellence, RenewAire offers state-of-the-art ERVs designed to maximize IAQ, energy efficiency and sustainability in educational settings.

RenewAire’s comprehensive approach to school health encompasses not only the installation of ERVs but also ongoing support and maintenance to ensure long-term performance and reliability. By utilizing RenewAire ERVs, K-12 schools can enhance IAQ and safeguard the health of students and teachers, while also supporting the planet and the bottom line. 

In Summary
In conclusion, ERVs offer a holistic solution to the challenges of maintaining healthy and sustainable K-12 school environments. By improving IAQ, reducing viral spread and fostering environmental stewardship, ERVs contribute to the health and wellbeing of students, staff and the planet alike. With RenewAire leading the way in innovative school health solutions, educators can confidently embrace energy recovery ventilation technology to create safer, healthier and more resilient learning spaces for generations to come. Contact RenewAire today to learn how to implement ERVs in your school.

Resources for Further Exploration
For those interested in the benefits of commercial ERVs for K-12 schools, RenewAire provides valuable resources. These include our dedicated webpage focused on IAQ in schools and a white paper on this topic, “Deficient Indoor Air Quality: A Serious Threat to Schools.” These materials offer useful insights into the role of ERVs in promoting healthier learning environments. They also provide practical guidance for schools looking to enhance their IAQ and sustainability efforts.