Indoor Air Quality Impacts School and Work Performance

Posted on June 27, 2014 in Blog

Highlights of research studies collected by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Indoor Air QualityIf you’re not concerned about your indoor air quality, you should be. The EPA considers inferior indoor air quality to be the 4th most significant environmental problem in America. In addition to contributing to increasing rates of allergies and asthma, scientific research has shown that poor indoor air quality also affects school and work performance.

Poor indoor air quality can be defined as air that is:

  • Too hot or too cold
  • Too dry or too humid
  • Polluted with allergens like mold spores, dust, dander, pollen, and smoke
  • Contaminated with gases like VOCs, carbon monoxide, and radon

Here are some highlights from studies that show how indoor environmental conditions affect our daily lives, as presented by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Temperature in School

A study that tested speed and accuracy in simulated school work tasks found that as temperatures increased, the speed of work decreased, but accuracy remained unchanged. Specifically, speed decreased by 1.1 percent for each degree that the temperature rose, from 68 to 77° F.

Temperature in the Office

Numerous studies have been done on the relationship between temperatures and productivity in office environments. The general consensus seems to be that the ideal temperature is 71 to 72°F. For every degree the temperature deviates from this range, productivity declines by 0.4 percent.

Ventilation in School

Adequate ventilation is essential for flushing indoor air contaminants out of the building. Unfortunately, many buildings lack adequate ventilation. In schools, improving ventilation has been linked with improved student performance, specifically higher proportions of students passing standardized reading tests.

Ventilation in the Office

Improving ventilation in the office has also proven to help promote speedy and accurate work. Specifically studies have found that performance can increase 0.8 percent for every 10 additional cfm of ventilation per person.

Indoor Air Pollution in the Office

More dramatic gains in performance and productivity can be reaped in the office by removing indoor pollutants. For example, one study found that test subjects performed 4 percent better on typing, proofreading, and arithmetic when a VOC-emitting carpet was removed from the test environment.

Another study found that subjects increased their typing speed slightly and reduced errors by 16 percent when VOC-emitting items were removed from the test environment.

Addressing Poor Indoor Air Quality

If you are interested in learning more about the quality of the air in your home or business, H2 Environmental can help. We have special expertise in this area and we can provide extensive air testing to determine if worrisome levels of contamination are present on your property. Then, we can present various options for improving indoor air quality and help you choose and implement the solution that best meets your needs.