Healthy Air in Schools
The health and safety of our students and staff is always our number one priority. One important aspect necessary for good health is indoor air quality. In the effort to continually improve on this goal, Pittsford CSD works through a long range planning process.
The living document that drives this planning is a five-year survey called the Building Condition Report. In it, architects, engineers and construction experts provide a summary of necessary improvements needed in the facilities. Utilizing this document as a driving force, all the indoor air handling equipment in the District has been upgraded over the last 20 years to meet or exceed industry standards. This active interval of upgrades continues as the Building Condition Report is amended.
PCSD functions above industry standards and will continue to make improvements through upgraded equipment and increasing air filtration. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is a measurement scale designed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to report the effectiveness of air filters. Experiments indicate that less obstructive, medium-efficiency filters of MERV 7 to 13 are very effective at removing allergens and ultra-fine particles.
New York State Education Department (NYSED) guidance requires air to be continuously moving but falls short of specifying filtration requirements. However, District equipment provides high filtration at industry standards with MERV 8 and MERV 13 filters. What’s more, some equipment hosts both a MERV 8 prefilter and MERV 13 final filter (when mechanically possible) and some filter up to MERV 15.
The current long-range goal is to continue upgrading equipment to MERV 13 and MERV 15 as a best practice through capital improvement projects as these types of projects would not fit within a regular school year budget.
Air quality testing is routinely conducted as prescribed by the NYSED. The testing is conducted by maintenance staff, HVAC and environmental air quality hygiene professionals. These professionals conduct several tests using calibrated instruments and following standardized procedures. Test results routinely show that air quality is always well within standards and guidelines set by ASHRAE and OSHA.
We’re proud of the history of healthy indoor air quality that our Building Condition Report has driven for over 20 years and continues today. As industry standards and best practices improve, so do the District’s. Through the Building Condition Report this progress is recorded and established for future years.