Is it possible that Johnny can't read because Johnny can't breathe?

Research to determine whether indoor air quality conditions in classrooms are negatively impacting children's health and their performance in school is being conducted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE has approved funding totaling $986,953 for eight research projects in the areas of indoor air quality, comfort and health, energy conservation, operating and maintenance tools, environmentally safe materials and design tools

Among the research projects is 1257-TRP, “Indoor Environmental Effects on the Performance of School Work by Children.” It is sponsored by ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.1, Physiology and Human Environment.

"The current concern is that outside air ventilation rates per person are known to be low in classrooms, mainly due to an overemphasis on reducing installation and operation costs. The resulting low air quality may be negatively affecting school performance," says principal investigator David Wyon, Ph.D, from the Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark.

The research, which is expected to take two years to complete, will be carried out in occupied classrooms during school hours. Each experiment will simulate the environmental impact of a classroom HVAC upgrade by producing one or more of the following effects on the indoor environmental quality: reduced indoor air temperature and humidity in warm weather; better control of indoor air temperature; increased outdoor air supply rate leading to reduced levels of airborne pollutants; improved supply air quality; and fewer respirable particles.

For more information, visit www.ashrae.org.