Indoor environmental issues not only include the air the building occupants breathe but the other issues that affect how they perform in the building. These include occupant comfort and Green Cleaning. Occupant comfort includes access to views, daylighting, thermal comfort, lighting controls, and acoustics. Green Cleaning not only includes the policy but also following the policy with a program and assessment, as well as, the equipment used and the supplies purchased.
The quality of the air in the school can greatly affect how the students learn. While there are many issues that affect Asthma, it is the leading cause of school absenteeism and the primary reason for admission of children into the hospital. When students miss school, not only do they miss out on important information being taught but the school misses out on funding. These issues can be mitigated developing an Indoor Air Quality Management Plan that includes outdoor air, increased ventilation and reducing indoor particulates.
A good indoor air quality (IAQ) management plan includes controlling of airborne pollutants, introduction and distribution of adequate outdoor air and maintaining appropriate temperature and relative humidity. The outdoor air introduction and exhaust systems need to include integrated pest management programs, typical indoor air pollutants, and outdoor pollutants from motor vehicles, potential smoking near entrances, ventilation intake systems and openings in buildings. Additionally, guidelines should include the use of equipment, as well as, when and how it is used.
Naturally, children breathe more air in proportion to their body weight than adults, which is why they are more susceptible to indoor air quality issues. Some factors affecting air quality include asbestos, pesticide and chemical use, vehicle and bus idling, mercury, mold and moisture, poor ventilation, pests, radon, and more. Additionally, problems located within the classroom can include class pets, the use of fragranced air fresheners, soft-surfaced furniture that harbors germs and dust, mold and mildew, and more. Student transportation methods, building construction, and other factors may contribute to outdoor air quality problems near your school. So, it is particularly important to make sure the quality of the air is good in schools.
Studies going back to 1999 have shown the benefits of daylighting on students test scores, as much as 25 percent higher on standardized tests than other students in the same school district.  In addition to providing a better environment in the schools, daylighting methods would also include shading devices on windows, light shelves and diffusing window material to reduce glare and solar heat gain that can create an uncomfortable learning environment. In addition, these measures can save energy and, therefore, money.
A green cleaning program can help eliminate toxic chemicals in the school and many have found the programs to streamline their custodial process and reduce costs. According to a report Greener School Cleaning Supplies from the Environmental Working Group, schools that switch to green cleaning and improve indoor environmental quality are finding higher attendance rates, improved worker safety and teacher productivity, and greater academic achievement.  Many are also finding cost savings since there are fewer products to purchase. 
Clean Air Campaign works with Georgia schools to encourage students to get involved in reducing air pollution and traffic congestion in school zones statewide. Programs are available for students K-12. Programs range from school awareness to making a change in the community.
EPA IAQ Tools for Schools website provides information on Six Key Drivers and Six Technical Solutions to promote good IAQ management approaches and strategies to assist with the environmental health in schools. Participation in the program would earn points.
Trees Atlanta offers an Urban Tree Trackers curriculum that consists of two main programs: Artscapes and Birds, Butterflies, and Bee Pollinator Gardens.
Green Cleaning Request for Proposal (RFP) Template, USGBC-GA was designed to help school districts identify and select a quality vendor to provide sustainable cleaning products and materials, as well as cleaning equipment for a “Green” cleaning program. It also lists questions school districts should consider asking potential vendors to ensure that a thorough and comprehensive approach to the project will be taken.
The Red List is available through the Living Building Challenge. Imperative 11, Red List, within the Living Building Challenge requires that manufacturers disclose the ingredients in their products to ensure that they are free of Red List chemicals and materials.
The precautionary principle is a reasonable, rational, and responsible approach to protecting the health and potential of our children.
Dr. Doris J. Rapp's Blog has valuable information about food allergy, chemical sensitivity and keep up to date on important issues regarding ADHD and autism.
How to Implement a Sustainable Cleaning Program, Georgia Tech is a presentation of how a Green Cleaning Program has been implemented at Georgia Tech including keys to success.
Integrated Green Cleaning Assessment Tools, SouthEast LINK has a comprehensive description of green cleaning practices that include the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) guidelines and assessment as well as products used in the program.
Sustainability How to Guide: Global Green Cleaning, IFMA Foundation has comprehensive information about green cleaning programs for commercial properties including definition, benefits, business case, and case studies.
EPA IAQ Tools for Schools website provides information on Six Key Drivers and Six Technical Solutions to promote good IAQ management approaches and strategies to assist with the environmental health in schools. IAQ Champions includes several success stories from schools in Georgia. Additional resources for the school environment can be found on the EPA schools website.
Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements and Guidelines for Schools is a website that gives information on background noise level and reverberation time definitions and requirements.
Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environments is a resource that addresses some of the most common environmental health concerns found in schools. The guide includes defining the issues and programs and resources to reduce or resolve each of the issues addressed.
Clean Air Campaign has K-12 Teacher Resource Guides with background information, resources, lesson plans and activities, all of which are designed to be completed in a one week unit or can be done individually. It also has over 50 lesson plans aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards, as well as the National Standards. On Air Blog is a program for individual teens to earn Air Creds by doing green things.
Trees Atlanta is a program that teaches youth the value and importance of urban trees. Programs are designed to be both educational and fun for students K-12th grade.
Quick + Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools provides information on the benefits of a green cleaning program and how to implement a program in a school.
Cleaning for Asthma Safe Schools (CLASS): The Green Cleaning Toolkit provides information on the benefits of a green cleaning program, examples of schools that have successful programs and resources for starting a program. The information is California based but can be used in other parts of the country.
Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit is a free "do-it-yourself" tool on how to find and phase in the use of certified green cleaning products that are proven to work and to save money.
We can help you get started on projects and connect you with LEED subject matter experts in your area. If you have additional resources that you think should be added, we would love to hear from you.
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