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The indoor environment impresses

The goal of refurbishing schools is to create not only energy-efficient buildings with low operating costs but also excellent indoor and learning environments. In addition to the air quality, lighting situation and acoustics, the thermal comfort also plays an important role. This is dependent on the temperature, air speed, humidity, clothing and activity level of the occupants. Assessments of the indoor environment are very subjective and influenced by the expectations of each individual pupil and teacher.

Accompanying research confirms thermal comfort

As part of the social sciences research conducted within the “Energy-efficient schools” research focus area, scientists from the Institute for Resource Efficiency and Energy Strategies (IREES), www.irees.de, conducted two standardised surveys at Max Steenbeck Secondary School. The first was carried out in 2011 in the old building.

205 pupils and 32 teachers completed the questionnaires. Three years later lessons were held in the renovated school. 315 pupils and 13 teachers answered the same questions again.

The individual parameters for the indoor environment were evaluated according to a scale from one to six. Except for the air quality, all aspects in the renovated building received better marks. The less well-rated air quality contradicts, however, the measurement results. These showed that the carbon dioxide concentration was below 800 ppm with 80% of the measurements and below 1,500 ppm with 98% of the measurements. Here it needs to be considered, however, that the air quality can be depicted not just in terms of the CO2 concentration. This makes it all the more important to survey how the air quality is assessed subjectively. Cottbus is not an isolated case: The air quality and the associated ventilation issue was a discussion point among the teachers and pupils in all the schools investigated, irrespective whether the schools were ventilated mechanically or by using the windows.

The building's appearance, lighting conditions, illumination and glare protection scored particularly highly. The findings indicate that both the schoolchildren and the teachers felt that the renovation of the building had been successful.
Good thermal comfort and high air quality do not occur automatically. Building owners, caretakers, schoolchildren and teachers can support the building concept through appropriate ventilation behaviour and thus contribute to an energy-efficient operation.

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Addresses

Project management
Stadtverwaltung Cottbus

Monitoring
BTU Cottbus

Links

IREES
Institute for Resource Efficiency and Energy Strategies

Info tip

Ventilation in schools
BINE-Themeninfo I/2015