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The challenge of a poor indoor climate must be proactively approached

Better indoor climate in schools with decentralized ventilation
Silkeborg Municipality takes the indoor climate problem seriously. Over the past eight years, the municipality has worked strategically to create a healthier indoor climate for the municipality's children and young people.

The debate over the consequences of a poor indoor climate in schools and institutions has been ongoing for years but improvements have not come. This can be seen, among other things, in the published Danish research project ”Mass Experiment 2021”, which was organized by the science center Astra, developed in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark DTU, and funded by the philanthropic association Realdania. The results speak for themselves: The indoor climate in Danish schools is simply miserable.

Silkeborg Municipality will not contribute to the horrific statistics
Silkeborg Municipality takes the indoor climate problem seriously. Over the past eight years, the municipality has worked strategically to create a healthier indoor climate for the municipality's children and young people. Thomas Lyngvad, who for 15 years was employed as a client consultant in Silkeborg municipality, from 1st of March started up as an independent advisor in indoor climate.

"In Silkeborg Municipality, we received several orders from the Danish Working Environment Authority back in 2014.  Although we initially rejected them, we realized that on an overall level, it was essential to work strategically with the establishment of a healthy indoor climate in schools and institutions. It was not satisfactory to make quick patch solutions," says Thomas Lyngvad and continues:

"We, therefore, prepared some methodologies, i.a. with the help of Realdania. This method was to ensure that we did not, firstly, throw ourselves headlong into random renovations, but also that we made it all the way around in the process. And it has yielded results. Silkeborg Municipality is of course not there yet. In 2014, 11,000 children attended school in the municipality. 3,500 of those were in a reasonable indoor climate. Five years later, there were 8,000 children sitting in a healthy indoor climate, and that development would very much like to continue. The indoor climate challenges must be tackled proactively", he says.

In the Mass Experiment 2021, you can see, among other things, that in more than half of the participating classes, a CO2 concentration was measured above the Danish Working Environment Authority's recommended limit value. In 11% of the classes more than double the recommended level.

Decentralized ventilation systems are tailored to existing schools and institutions

Better indoor climate in schools with decentralized ventilation

Decentralized systems are easy and faster to install. They reduce unnecessary energy loss, as they are not connected by long ducts, and the fire requirements are easier to meet. Also, students do not need to be rehoused. This is one of the reasons why Silkeborg Municipality has had a long-standing collaboration with Airmaster.

"Often, we think in terms of the central solutions - they are the backbone of most advisers, but this is not always the most optimal way. A central ventilation system with crisscrossing ducts challenges the structures of the existing buildings- both in terms of statics and fire safety. In addition, the large intervention requires that all occupants must be rehoused for several months, and this is not always convenient for well-being nor learning. For these reasons, we started to look in the direction of the decentralized ventilation systems, which do not require the same at all," says Thomas Lyngvad.

"There, the renovation is done in stages, the facilities are installed directly in the rooms that are in need, and thereby you do not need to rehouse students. And I just have to say that when we talk about school renovation, the decentralized facility is preferable in most cases."

Today, Airmaster has a range of decentralized ventilation systems, where expensive and energy-consuming ducting has been replaced with energy-efficient and flexible solutions without unnecessary energy consumption and with a focus on resource use.

Read more about our facility here. 

We want to make a difference by integrating sustainability into our values, production, and products – to create ventilation that supports both people and the planet. By choosing a decentralized solution, you get, among other things, a low energy consumption, high heat recovery and approx. 50% lower CO2 emissions.

Children and young people must have the best learning conditions

Better indoor climate in schools with decentralized ventilation

Two of the schools and institutions in Silkeborg municipality that have noticed what a mechanical ventilation system does for the indoor climate are Gjessø Skole and Børnehuset Højgården.

Gjessø School is an older school where for several years there have been complaints about the indoor climate - especially among the staff. Sofie Winther, who is the educational manager of the school, was herself affected by a poor indoor climate.

"I felt it quite shortly after I was employed at the school. I simply felt physically unwell with e.g., dizziness, and the long days at school sometimes felt twice as long because of the bad indoor climate", says Sofie and continues.

"It is not optimal. Neither for children nor employees, so I am really happy that the municipality has acted on the problem. We have got a new ventilation system for our preparation room, and that has been absolutely crucial. I could feel the difference from day one. The air is no longer heavy, and it is truly a liberating feeling. This also means that I am naturally looking forward to us getting more facilities up and running. The renovation is in full swing. Our children and young people must have the best conditions for a positive and healthy learning environment," she says.

It is not only the air in the room that has an impact on the indoor climate. Lighting, acoustics and temperature are also decisive factors, and all parameters have been worked on at the school. Among other things, they have received solar shading, new floors that have an impact on the acoustics, and there has been a better focus on lighting.

Unlike Gjessø School, Højgården Children's Home is a new building. It was made in collaboration with ABC Pavilloner - Concept Living - and is the first of a total of four prefabricated modular buildings that were put into use in December 2021. The general manager of the Children's House is Unni Eriksen, and she is – like Sofie – pleased with the focus that the indoor climate has received in Silkeborg Municipality:

"We have decentralized ventilation systems in the building - and it just works really well. But I have previously worked in some institutions where there was not a healthy indoor climate. The air felt heavy, and I felt, among other things, tired in the head,"she says.

"A good indoor climate for me is when you don't think about it at all. Then it is exactly as it should be. Both children and adults are in institutions for many hours. We eat food in packed rooms, we change diapers in the changing rooms – and we play and move around in the rooms. So a proper ventilation system is crucial for us to make our everyday life work and cohesive," she concludes.

Contact us if you want to know more about decentralized ventilation

Our competent sales team is ready to answer your questions and advise you on everything from dimensioning, configuration, installation, and planning - so you can find just the right unit for your needs.

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