Evaluation of indoor environmental quality in Sagkeeng Junior School
This research involved investigating the effects of a First Nations school’s indoor environmental quality on health and human performance. This research project was con-ducted in partnership with the Sagkeeng First Nations community in Manitoba. The in-door environment of a school building is a complex system involving many parameters that may have an impact on indoor air quality and thermal comfort. Air quality in schools depends strongly, on one hand, on the interaction between the building and its outdoor environment, and, on the other hand, on the way a building is used, operated, and maintained. School buildings should use a properly designed heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system that maintains an adequate supply of cleaner air and sets up optimal heating. This study provided empirical evidence to the claim that First Nations schools can be exposed to adverse indoor environmental conditions based on the school studied in this research. The evidence was based on objective measurements of indoor environmental quality and a subjective survey conducted among the school’s teachers. In addition, a series of statistical analyses in Statistical Package for Social Science 25 and Excel were performed to examine the associations between building characteristics, indoor environmental parameters, and teacher's health. Finally, thermal imaging was conducted to check the thermal performance of the building envelope. The physical measurement campaign consisted of measuring the indoor environmental parameters: indoor air temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide concentrations in 9 classrooms. Consequently, along with the comprehensive physical measurements, fundamental knowledge, of the building and its systems was also needed to identify principal factors that adversely affect indoor school environments. On-site continuous records of air temperature showed underheating and overheating of the school during the year. Air temperatures as high as 35.1°C (winter season) and as low as 9.6°C (spring season) were recorded in the school during occupied hours. Indoor air was dry in the winter as relative humidity values were less than 30%. Moreover, thermal comfort parameters were found to be influenced by the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, poor thermal performance of the building envelope, and classroom orientation. The results of the subjective survey demonstrated that approximately 70% of teachers reported poor indoor air quality as the biggest problem in the school. Statistically significant associations (p < 0.05) were found between teachers’ satisfaction with class-rooms’ indoor air quality and their characteristics such as ventilation system, maintenance, and cleanliness. The fifth part of the school pedagogical staff pointed out that poor indoor air quality was the main source of health problems such as headaches, fatigue, aggravation of asthma and allergies, stuffy nose, and difficulties with breathing. The relationships between physical measurements (i.e., temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide) and the score of having adverse health symptoms were evaluated using the linear regression model. The decrease in mean indoor air temperature was statistically significantly associated with an increase in the score of having sick building syndrome (Beta= -1.163, CI [-2.104; -0.221], p < 0.05) while the increase in relative humidity was statistically significantly associated with an increase in the score of having sick building syndrome (Beta = 0.783, CI [1.561; 0.005], p < 0.05). Furthermore, the associations between performance and satisfaction with indoor air quality, acoustics, and lighting comfort were found to be statistically significant (p < 0.05).
Indoor environmental quality