EPA advises schools to protect indoor air quality

Smart summer shutdown is essential for maintaining healthy indoor environments in schools. During these warmer months, school or district staff can take preventative and proactive actions to protect indoor air quality and save energy costs. The Maine DOE School Facilities team is sharing the following tips from the U.S. EPA on summer shutdown of buildings.

While it’s easy to see significant energy savings from shutting down buildings completely during the summer months, the impact of not monitoring and adjusting for indoor temperature and humidity can be costly. Fluctuations in the indoor environment can have a negative effect on the building itself in the form of mold and dust mites, and on the building contents (such as books, files, sensitive musical instruments or pieces of artwork).

Mold and moisture problems during summer months can be caused by several factors including: higher humidity in the outdoor air; lack of cooling system operation because school is out; and extra indoor moisture due to special activities, such as deep cleaning of carpets and painting. Checking for moisture and mold growth in your school buildings and taking preventive measures, such as cycling the cooling system to keep relative humidity below 60 percent, can help keep your buildings mold-free this summer.

Use the summer break to establish or re-evaluate your IAQ management practices to ensure a healthy indoor learning environment at your school come fall.

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