Richard Lane, CEO at Mercia Primary Academy Trust, shares how his school is using CO2 monitors and Air Cleaning Units to manage ventilation for a healthier learning environment.
What has the impact of using CO2 monitors been on managing ventilation in your school?
Good ventilation helps children to concentrate and be more alert, as well as helping to lower the spread of illness. CO2 monitors help make us aware when ventilation is poor and when it is at a healthy level - this helps us identify when it is beneficial to have the windows open to let fresh air in, or close them to keep warm (and save energy). They're simple and easy to use, cost-effective and there has been no real maintenance.
How are you managing ventilation in your school?
The CO2 monitors were effective in helping us identify issues with our ventilation levels, this allowed us to apply for DfE-funded air cleaning units (ACUs). They've been a game changer - they help control the spread of infection, helping keep our learners and teachers well. These now sit in the older classrooms and a mobile classroom. They're placed out of the way and the floorspace they take is minimal with two per classroom.
Any tips on using Air Cleaning Units (ACUs) in a classroom?
- Measure the size of the classroom including the height - then work out its volume. Check the m³ of air the unit can process - then place the correct number of air cleaners per classroom.
- We use approx. two per classroom - the secret is to keep them in areas where they are near children - but not near well-ventilated air.
- See how the classroom is used - if a door is often open or has footfall keep the ACUs away from these areas.
- The ACUs have a clear cleaning programme - read through documentation and make diary entries to tell you when to clean them (mine were once a year).
- We leave them on throughout the school day - they clean the air for staff meetings etc. - power usage and running cost is very low.
- Inform parents that they are being used - in our experience they have really valued and responded positively to this information.
For more information about how you can get the most out of your CO2 monitors and ACUs, take a look at the DfE's ventilation gov.uk page here.