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How to Get the Best Grade on Your School’s Air Quality

Checklist return school Achieving better air quality in schools requires adequate ventilation, coupled with air purification, sufficient disinfection protocols and dehumidification. Since learning more about reducing transmission of diseases like COVID-19, there has been more awareness around how to sanitize air. Studies are showing that poor indoor air quality is linked with absenteeism in students, so improving air quality standards in schools should be considered a top priority.

As schools start to resume regular in-person learning, administrators need to assess the effectiveness of their indoor air quality, and how to improve it. To help with that, we’ve developed a grading criteria to rate the effectiveness of common air purification systems. Our ratings take into account the importance of pathogen (virus) destruction, chemical and odor removal, safety in proximity to people and energy efficiency.

Grade Requirements
  • Reduces pathogens(viruses) in the air inside the device
  • Reduces pathogens in the air outside the device
  • Volatile organic compound (VOC) & odor removal capabilities
  • Safe for occupied spaces
  • Does not increase energy costs
  • Reduces pathogens(viruses) in the air inside the device
  • Somewhat effective reducing pathogens in the air outside the device
  • VOC & odor removal capabilities
  • Safe for occupied spaces
  • Does not increase energy costs
  • Reduces pathogens(viruses) in the air inside the device
  • VOC & odor removal capabilities
  • Safe for occupied spaces
  • Reduces pathogens(viruses) in the air inside the device
  • Safe for occupied spaces
  • Dilutes pollutants and discourages mold and bacteria growth
  • Safe for occupied spaces

Grading Common Air Filtration Systems

Mechanical ventilation: F

This practice uses ducts and fans to circulate fresh air throughout a space. It requires maintenance to change filters regularly and drives up energy consumption and costs.

Natural ventilation: F

Relying exclusively on increased circulation and outdoor airflow simply is not enough to protect students from harmful viruses and bacteria. Opening doors and windows can save money and reduce levels of carbon dioxide, but it requires having two openings opposite each other to create adequate air circulation in classrooms. Another risk here is that it can bring polluted or contaminated air into the room from outside or other areas of the building.

Hydrogen Peroxide: F

Chemical cleaners, such as hydrogen peroxide, are incredibly reliable in killing surface pathogens as they clean, disinfect and deodorize. Hydrogen Peroxide must also be handled with caution because it can cause damage to eyes and burn skin at high concentrations. However, it should be used strictly for cleaning surfaces as it has no impact on airborne pathogens.

Dehumidifiers: F

Bacteria, mold and germs love humid environments, so dehumidifiers are sometimes thought of as a solution to prevent these issues in schools. While higher humidity affects vulnerability to be infected, dry air is shown to promote higher rates of infectious diseases. This is not an ideal environment for immune systems to fight any illness, especially during a global pandemic. Dehumidifiers also require hefty maintenance since the water storage tanks must be regularly emptied and cleaned; they also increase energy costs. Dehumidifiers make it harder for pathogens to thrive, but they don’t necessarily kill viruses and bacteria living in the air.

HEPA & MERV 13 Filters: D

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) and MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) filters are commonly used but they only effectively remove allergens and bacteria; once captured, the particles are trapped and never released back into the air. These filters do not remove odors or chemical fumes, have a limited capability to reduce pathogens in air outside of the device and are not successful in killing surface pathogens. Systems that use HEPA filters require regular maintenance to replace them every few months, which is an unnecessary expense. Adding a 4-6” MERV 13 filter can add 25% static pressure, requiring BHP from a motor, potentially reducing equipment life, and increasing energy costs by 15% or more.

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Light: D

Technology like Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Light systems are common strategies for disinfection. Upper-room UVGI and in-duct UVGI are common applications, but these strategies still rely on air circulation to effectively kill viruses. Their efficacy also depends on the radiation dosage and the amount of time the emitted light is in contact with the virus. This solution is challenging to implement in schools because UV-C light exposure is harmful to humans, so it cannot be used while children are in the classroom.

Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO): B

PCO devices emit UV light to destroy pollutants, converting them into regular environmental compounds like carbon dioxide and water. Cleaners that utilize PCO may reduce pathogens in the device itself, but have a limited ability to sanitize all of the air in a classroom or kill viruses on surfaces. The active treatment is limited to the surface area of the catalyst used inside the device. As contaminants poison the catalyst, this surface degrades, reducing the efficacy of treatment over time.

Ionizers: B

Ionizers attract allergy and bacteria-carrying ions by releasing negative ions that weigh down the contaminants into the air. They are then either trapped in the device’s plates or weighted to the ground. This method reduces pathogens in the air inside the device, but it has a limited capability to reduce pathogens throughout the classroom.

PYURE Hydroxyl Generators: A+

Replicating the way sunlight sanitizes the outdoor environment, PYURE generates and diffuses hydroxyls and organic oxidants indoors. These natural sanitizing agents are produced in the same concentrations typically found outdoors on a sunny day. Unlike conventional air purifiers, PYURE is not limited to the air that is pulled through the device, and much more...

How to reduce airborne contamination

While there are many strategies that schools are implementing to promote better air quality, only one solution withstands the test of reliability, effectiveness and safety – while protecting against all types of airborne contaminants. Odorox, powered by PYURE Technology, has a dynamic mode of action proven to protect against COVID-19 that can be used around the clock. Not only does Odorox purify and sanitize the air by killing airborne viruses, bacteria and mold, it sanitizes surfaces and porous materials while eliminating odor and decomposing chemicals.

If you’re needing assistance investing in solutions to improve your school’s indoor air quality, The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSA), can help facilitate that. This provides assistance to elementary and secondary schools that want to invest in air purification and ventilation systems. Click here to learn more and take a look at where the CARES and CRRSA Act can help support a safe return to in-person learning at your school.

Read more about how to keep your school clean and green using Odorox, powered by PYURE, and how to purchase a device from a local distributor.

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our address190 Summerhill Road
Spotswood NJ 08884
call us (732) 251-9506 Ext.211
email us Dave@OdoroxAir.com