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Which School Air Quality Solutions Make the Grade?

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In numerous studies, poor air quality in schools is linked to health issues and absenteeism for both students and staff. Most schools have ventilation systems in place, but the recent pandemic has shown that ventilation is not enough. Plus, adding better filters costs money and more energy, while most aerosols are too small to capture. For the indoor quality needed to maintain in-person learning, schools need an air purifier for classrooms that continuously protects students and staff.
An air quality solution must not only reduce the spread of COVID-19, but must also protect against other viruses, bacteria, mold and odors.
To help school administrators judge their school’s indoor air quality and evaluate solutions for improving it, we’ve put together this Air Purification Solution Grading Scale:

 

Grade Requirements
A
  • Reduces pathogens in the air inside the device
  • Reduces pathogens in the air outside the device
  • Volatile organic compound (VOC) and odor removal capabilities
  • Safe for occupied spaces (people, plants and the class pet)
  • Keeps operating costs low while running 24/7 in the background
  • Allows buildings to operate at ASHRAE ventilation standards while keeping heating and cooling outdoor air costs to a minimum.
  • Keeps energy costs in check while eliminating hard-to-capture pathogens without pushing air through tighter filters
B
  • Reduces pathogens in the air inside the device
  • Somewhat effective at reducing pathogens in the air outside the device
  • VOC and odor removal capabilities
  • Safe for occupied spaces
C
  • Reduces pathogens in the air inside the device
  • VOC and odor removal capabilities
  • Safe for occupied spaces
D
  • Reduces pathogens in the air inside the device
  • May not be safe for occupied spaces
F
  • Dilutes pollutants and discourages mold and bacteria growth
  • May not be safe for occupied spaces

Pyure Earns An A

You’re thinking, “Well, of course Pyure earns an A. It’s their blog.” You’re absolutely right, but the science backs it up. Only Pyure Dynamic Protection® delivers the highest level of safety for both indoor air and surface sanitization. It kills the COVID-19 and other viruses, destroys mold and bacteria, and eliminates odors. Pyure solutions can also be used to treat specific areas or the entire facility, and it protects 24/7. For improved school indoor air quality, Pyure technology is at the head of the class by far.

Grade B Solutions

There are three school indoor air quality options that have limits but perform well in certain categories:

  • Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) devices use UV light to destroy pollutants by converting them into carbon dioxide and water. They can be effective for pathogens that enter the device itself but do little to sanitize the remaining air or kill viruses on surfaces.
  • Electrostatic sprayers add a positive ion charge to disinfectant to effectively reach, spread, and stick to surfaces. The drawback is that they can only be used in unoccupied spaces and require the allocation of time and resources for daily reapplication.
  • Ionizers attract allergy and bacteria-carrying ions by releasing negative ions that weigh down the contaminants in the air so they can be trapped. Again, this is effective inside the device but is very limited as far as reducing pathogens throughout the classroom.

Barely Passing

While there aren’t any solutions that earn a C, there are two that skate in just above failing. You’ve no doubt heard of HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which are common in household room air cleaners and vacuums. What they do well is trap allergens and bacteria that flow through the filter. However, they don’t kill viruses or remove odors, and they do little for surface pathogens. Plus, they require maintenance time and money for regular filter replacement, and the air has to actually pass through the filter to capture aerosols.

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Light systems can effectively kill viruses that pass by them and have the advantage of not requiring replacement filters. But they have a big disadvantage in that UV-C light exposure is harmful to humans, so you can’t operate the system while students and staff are in the classroom or building — which is the primary time germs get spread.

Failing Grades

Even if you used all of the options below together, they would still be inadequate for protecting students and staff.

  • Natural ventilation — Opening doors and windows is cheap and can reduce carbon dioxide levels, but the airflow isn’t enough to protect against viruses and bacteria. It does nothing to sanitize the air or surfaces, and it can also allow outside odors and pollutants to come in.
  • Mechanical ventilation — Merely circulating fresh air through ducts and fans does little to improve air quality but requires maintenance time to replace filters and drives up energy costs.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide — While chemical cleaners like hydrogen peroxide are effective for killing surface pathogens, they have no impact on airborne pathogens. In addition, they require additional labor costs and careful handling by trained staff because they can damage eyes and burn skin at high concentrations.
  • Dehumidifiers — Removing moisture does slow the growth of bacteria, mold and germs, but it doesn’t kill viruses. In fact, dry air can promote higher rates of infectious diseases. Dehumidifiers also raise energy costs and require significant time and money for maintenance.

Give Your School A+ Air Quality

For the highest level of safety for both indoor air and surface sanitization, choose Pyure technology. It’s affordable, efficient and effective, and it lets you maintain in-school activities with confidence. It also qualifies for ESSER funding, so be sure to review the options available in your state. Get a quote from a Pyure distributor today.

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