The Indoor Air Program (IAP) at TU is internationally recognized for its work dedicated to improving the indoor air quality in homes, schools and workplace environments. Richard Shaughnessy, director of research and manager of the Indoor Air Program, has led IAP since 1987.
Current projects include:
Study of Flooring Products and Associated Impact on Indoor Air Quality
Working with a major U.S. flooring manufacturer, this three year study will further examine the differences between varied flooring types (hard surface (VAT and VCT) v. textile (flow-through carpet and non flow-through VCTT) and their ultimate impact on occupied school classroom environments. This study serves to validate the results of previous studies the Indoor Air Program has conducted and will focus on settled dust data collection, cleaning methodology, and resuspension rates of particulate matter with an emphasis on creating a healthier breathing environment for our nation’s schools.
Indoor Air Quality in Schools and Academic Performance
The Indoor Air Program has a continuing study to assess the relationship between the academic performance of school children and indoor air quality (IAQ) in elementary schools. This study uses high quality, objective measures in the assessment and includes statewide tests to evaluate the academic performance and standard measurements of IAQ. Poor indoor air quality in schools can cause illness that requires absence from school and negative health symptoms that can decrease the students’ performance while at school. In addition, it has been suggested that poor IAQ may directly reduce the ability to perform specific mental tasks requiring concentration, calculation or memory. Although many studies have been conducted on office building environments and performance, there is limited data linking poor IAQ in classrooms to student performance. This study serves to provide the documentation of adverse effects of classroom environments on student performance to aid in the development of environmental guidelines for our nation’s schools.
U.S. EPA Tools for Schools
The Indoor Air Program maintains several projects designed to help our nation’s schools achieve a healthier indoor environment utilizing the EPA’s “Tools for Schools” kit. To date, we have worked with 38 Public School Districts across the U.S., impacting over 1.25 million students and staff. Through a combination of on-site training sessions for General IAQ, Maintenance, HVAC/ Ventilation, and Walk Through Validations, we identify low-cost or no-cost improvements a school district can make to reduce illness and asthma triggers, increase ventilation and minimize exposures to indoor air pollutants. Our efforts can be tailored to fit the individual needs of any district, large or small, and are accomplished at absolutely no cost to the school district.