A growing number of studies point to a significant connection between a school's physical condition — especially its lighting and indoor air quality (IAQ) — and student performance.

Studies by California's Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) have found a strong correlation between the increased use of daytime lighting and improved student performance. In one California district, students in classrooms with the most daylight scored 20 percent higher on math tests and 26 percent higher on reading tests compared with students in classrooms with lower levels of daylight.

Studies also indicate that indoor air quality affects how well students and teachers perform. Improved IAQ — attained by controlling sources of contaminants, providing adequate ventilation, preventing moisture accumulation and vacuuming frequently with high-efficiency vacuum cleaners — resulted in fewer sick days for students and teachers, especially those suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems.

High-performance schools that are designed with a focus on creating healthy and productive educational facilities provide:

  • Large amounts of daylight.
  • Superior indoor air quality.
  • A safe and secure environment.
  • Minimized operational costs.
  • Less energy and water usage than standard schools.
  • Advanced cleaning technologies.

Pick it up

A major element in maintaining high-performance schools, especially as it applies to IAQ, is the use of high-efficiency vacuum cleaners.

Studies conducted by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) have determined that vacuums vary in their ability to remove soil, contain dust and maintain carpet appearance. CRI awards its Green Label to vacuums that meet its standards for soil removal, dust containment and carpet appearance retention.

Rathey is president of InstructionLink/JanTrain, Inc., Boise, Idaho.