School survey assesses HVAC system readiness to reduce infectious aerosol transmission
School districts across Michigan are being urged to participate in a survey to assess the readiness of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to reduce the transmission of infectious aerosols within school buildings.
The Michigan K-12 Public School HVAC Assistance Program, launched by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy with support from the Department of Education, will identify potential improvements as well as work with schools to find licensed contractors and funding sources for the recommended work.
Better air quality and updated school infrastructure creates a healthy learning environment for students, teachers and staff and supports improved academic performance. Many schools in the U.S. lack adequate ventilation and indoor levels of air pollutants can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While 20% of the U.S. population spends their days inside K-12 buildings, less than 50% of school districts had an indoor air quality management program in 2012.
Urban, suburban and rural schools districts are asked to complete a survey about a building’s HVAC system, recent improvements and current needs. Those that complete the survey are eligible to request free assistance with recommendations to reduce infectious aerosol transmission from an approved licensed HVAC specialist (or the school’s licensed HVAC contractor). The Western and Eastern Chapters of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will help with completing the school surveys and building assessments.
The survey can be found at the Michigan K-12 Public School HVAC Assistance Program website, along with timelines and an HVAC contractor application.
A minimum of $150,000 is expected to be available for the program. The maximum award is $15,000 per applicant, with a maximum payment of $1,500 per completed checklist. Some of the funding will be earmarked for onsite demonstration projects. Priority will be given to schools in low-income communities.
For information about the survey, contact Jake Wilkinson of EGLE’s Energy Services at WilkinsonJ8@Michigan.gov. For information about HVAC assistance and contractors, contact David Herb of Energy Services at HerbD@michigan.gov.