Indoor Air Quality in Schools

Florida Elementary School #1

At the Florida Elementary School #1, the conditions audit testing and monitoring found that the buildings were significantly leaky, to a large extent due to vented soffits that were connected to the ceiling space above the T-bar ceiling. High humidity levels and low air temperatures were also found in a number of the classrooms. It was decided that retrofit work would concentrate on one of the two main classroom buildings. Based on the findings, main retrofit and improvement recommendations included:

  • Tightening the building at the eave vents
  • Reducing air handler flow rates
  • Adjusting outdoor air intakes to 15cfm per person based on average occupancy
  • Operating the A/C systems in the fan "auto" mode during hot and humid periods.

After discussions with school personnel, it was decided to begin retrofit work by sealing soffit vents around the perimeter of the building. Although outside soffit sealing was specified, the contractor was planning on attempting to seal off an opening inside the space above the eave. The contractor plan would have left significant areas unsealed at a cost of approximately $3,000 more than what was specified. After school personnel reported that the soffit sealing was completed, FSEC staff returned to the school to retest the airtightness of the building.

The building is now significantly tighter, but monitored post retrofit CO2 and RH levels indicated that positive action on the additional recommendations for retrofits would have further improved the building conditions.