Sustainability is a dominant and important topic across the world. When looking at industries that can be designed to be greener – schools are a prevalent area of focus. Not only do green schools play a key role when it comes to climate control and lowering energy usage, but also in enhancing children’s performance. The quality of educational facilities is often overlooked when it comes to pupils’ academic performance. However, green school buildings form an environment where students and teachers are more comfortable, more focused on teaching and learning, and less susceptible to illness.
Education is a key sector that MSL cater for. Therefore, in this article, we’ll discuss sustainable ideas for schools which simultaneously optimise children’s performance, and how this goes hand in hand with facilities management services.
- Contaminant Exposure in Schools
Contaminants being exposed in a setting like a school where young children are, can result in serious consequences. Water pollution is a major environmental concern that can be triggered by a range of contaminants. Therefore, it’s imperative for schools and educational facilities to be vigilant when it comes to water safety. UK regulations require schools to test their drinking water sources with the HSE ACoP L8 The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems and prosecution can ensue if organisations fail to comply. At MSL, our team of experts will ensure your water systems operate in a manner which guarantees the safety for both pupils and staff but also the environment. We’re also able to offer both risk assessment reviews, and where required, a written scheme policy guidance delivering the essential control strategies. Alternatively, utilising our compliance maintenance program will ensure all water responsibilities in your educational facility are taken care of.
Pests can also be a huge cause for concern for schools as they can lead to disease. Cockroaches, ants, wasps, head lice and rodents are the key pests found in many schools. In particular, the German cockroach, can survive and breed by the thousands in classroom and canteen settings. However, pesticides used to get rid of these nuisances have toxic effects on living species, and they also pollute the planet. However, with MSL’s help, our planned maintenance program will use an integrated pest management process to prevent pests in school buildings in an environmentally friendly way. As well as this, our reactive maintenance program means you can utilise our 24hour callout service if your school runs into a pest problem unexpectedly.
- Indoor Air Quality in Schools
Global trends such as climate change impact indoor air quality, and as a result, poor indoor air quality can also lead to health issues. Each year, more than one in five children are absent from school due to asthma-like illnesses, and children with severe asthma may even miss several weeks of crucial education. With this in mind, according to the Global Action Plan, millions of British children go to schools where air pollution is worse than the World Health Organisation threshold. In mind of this, studies have found that poor indoor air quality results in decreased academic performance amongst children.
By improving indoor air quality in schools, this will impact positively on students’ health by reducing sick days, increase their performance levels and help combat rising pollution levels. If filters in HVAC systems are clogged, they become ineffective, preventing airflow and the contaminants can then recirculate and build up within indoor spaces. Utilise our hygiene services and we’ll purge indoor air pollutants to provide fresh air within schools to keep pupils productivity levels elevated and rid the environment of harmful pollutants. Our team of professionals will clean your HVAC system’s filters and coils to remove bacteria of any kind and check that the air conditioning unit functions properly.
- Sound Conditions in Schools
Optimising noise levels in classrooms so that children are able to hear properly is essential for their learning. Many studies corroborate the importance of low background noise and enhanced speech fluency in establishing suitable acoustic environments for student learning. To further support this, research has also highlighted the negative relationship between environmental noise exposure and children’s learning outcomes and cognitive performance. Schools which take steps to be greener and more sustainable, establish a setting for children, where that are reduced distractions, and instead encouraging participation by implementing the following:
- High-quality acoustical ceiling tiles
- Lined ductwork
- HVAC systems designed to reduce background noise
Utilising MSL for regular maintenance is an effective way to maintain your school’s air conditioning system, ensuring background noise is reduced as much as possible. Plus, general planned maintenance will maintain your energy use for a more sustainable future by limiting consumption in unoccupied parts of your school’s building and reducing usage during times of peak demand. In some cases, this may also mean more money is saved.
- Lighting in Schools
Lighting on its own can account for as much as 35% of the average business’s electricity consumption. In particular, steering away from the use of halogen would save more than 15m tonnes of carbon emissions per year. In comparison to traditional incandescent bulbs, switching to LEDs would mean around 90% less electricity would be consumed, and 70% less than with halogen lamps. In line with this, productivity and concentration are also linked to good illumination in the classroom. In fact, studies highlight the fact that traditional lighting can be a source of reduced performance, whereas LED lighting has been directly linked to increased performance.
At MSL, our lighting partner, Lumilow Lighting, is one of the UK’s most innovative lighting technology businesses. Therefore, we can accommodate new, energy saving lighting systems or upgrade your existing lighting configuration to be more energy efficient. In fact, one of our lighting focuses accommodates school settings, where we ensure that every pupil is taught in an environment that’s well illuminated and optimised for learning – using specially designed school lighting solutions.
Sustainable ideas for schools go hand in hand with elevated performance levels in pupils. Facilities management companies like MSL can support this, with a range of greener measures such as lighting, ventilation and pest management, to not only reduce schools’ carbon footprint but better optimise children’s productivity. From air quality in schools to sound conditions – educational facilities can expect maintenance services to enhance their design in a way that benefits not only children but the planet too.
If you are interested in finding out more about how our services can help your school optimise children’s performance whilst reducing carbon footprint, get in touch with us on 0333 1234 450.