Keeping Your Cool in the Classroom

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school air conditioning


The Alice Cooper classic  “Schools are out for summer!” is ringing out across the country! And it is not a moment too soon!

Any classrooms without adequate cooling have been literally sizzling in the heatwave. And unfortunate students have been sweltering in the heat, baffled perhaps at met office advice to find a cool spot indoors! If only the school had allowed them such opportunity…

Why keeping cool in class is smart thinking…

It’s not the same at some forward thinking schools. A recent study suggested that private schools that could afford air conditioning would increase the relative exam success of their pupils during summer heat.

This will come as no surprise to any over heated teachers currently mopping their fervoured brows. They will know just how important it is to maintain a comfortable working environment on campus.

Only today it is reported that The Environmental Audit Committee are advising schools and head teachers about safe classroom temperatures and suggesting they should relax school uniform policy during hot weather. 

Recent research shows just how important effective heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are to providing a decent learning environment. A constant flow of fresh air improves not just the comfort of teachers and children, but also performance. Studies from the University of Tulsa found that student scores improved against the state average when fresh outdoor air was introduced into the building and a number of air changes took place in the classroom. The probable correlation seems clear – rooms with proper ventilation mean higher marks. 

Poor ventilation and air quality in a building can also affect the health of it’s occupants contributing to higher rates of illness and absenteeism. It can also exasperate hay fever and asthma. 

Some learned research – why it pays to invest…

So having the correct ventilation is important. But, as critical, is to maintain a consistently comfortable temperature. Ask any unfortunate student who has been studying for  – or sitting – end of year exams without the benefit of air conditioning or evaporative cooling in the current heatwave.

Thing is, a person’s brain automatically switches from concentrating on the learning process to urging the body to act to cool down when it’s too hot. A NASA study found that at an effective temperature of 85 degrees there was an 18% loss in work output and a 40% loss in accuracy. High temperatures in the classroom are also thought to potentially lead to more aggressive behavior being displayed by students – affecting not only their academic performance but also disrupting the teacher and the class. 

A comfortable environment  means heating as well as cooling…

Maintaining a comfortable environment is not just about keeping it cool. When winter freezes set in the challenge instead will be to keep outside chills at bay.  Cornell University discovered that in an office environment, when temperatures dropped to 68 degrees or less, on-the job error increased by 44%. 

This is why Clean Air always consider the full picture when undertaking site surveys and recommending an appropriate HVAC solution. It is all about ensuring the integration of both cooling and heating system capabilities to provide optimal climate control all year around. 

Stand-alone or dedicated heating or cooling systems are sometimes a necessity, but as an easy and flexible answer air conditioning takes some beating. It is a 2 in 1 solution that will deliver both powerful cooling and heating. It is easily capable of maintaining a comfortable environment through out the extremes of our erratic climate of late. The latest air conditioning systems are also incredibly energy efficient. This translates as good for the environment and good for the bursar (saves the school money!). 

So teachers – as you prepare for the new academic year over the summer holidays – perhaps now is also a good time to review your schools heating, cooling and ventilation.  After all a comfortable environment in the classroom is perhaps as vital as the spend on any of the equipment in it. The potential dividends are high – be it improved staff and student performance, or the financial and environmental savings.