Improve air quality in and around our schools

August 28th, 2018|Action of the Week|0 Comments

Air pollution is particularly harmful for children, contributing to a range of serious health problems such as heart and lung disease, prenatal and brain development issues and asthma. Yet our kids experience dangerous levels air pollution inside and out of their schools every day. There is plenty we can do to decrease toxic emissions in and around schools.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

As school begins this year, ask your School Community Council to prioritize conversations about air quality to protect children’s health by adding the following two topics to their agendas. Simply send this School Air Quality document to your School Community Council (click here for a PDF version). Find your School Community Council (SCC) information listed on your school’s website (for SLCSD, find this info under “Community”).

1. IMPROVE INDOOR AIR QUALITY USING IAQ WEBINARS. As the health, environmental and economic benefits are being better understood and documented, green cleaning practices are replacing traditional cleaning methods and becoming the new standard for school districts.

The EPA offers free webinars in the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Knowledge-to-Action Professional Training Webinar Series to help equip schools with the skills to—

  1. Incorporate evidence-based green cleaning techniques and best practices into a comprehensive system for achieving indoor environmental health.
  2. Describe the importance and benefits of implementing a proactive green cleaning program that emphasizes IAQ and preventive maintenance practices.
  3. Replicate the strategies used by school districts that have successfully developed and implemented green cleaning programs.

Ask your School Community Council to incorporate these Green Cleaning Strategies into your school’s routine to create a healthier school environment and to utilize these 11 free on-demand webinars to learn more strategies for improving indoor air quality at schools.

2. IMPROVE OUTDOOR AND INDOOR SCHOOL BUS AIR QUALITY WITH IDLE FREE HEAT. School buses in Utah can idle for 2-3 hours a day, spending 56% of that idle time right outside of schools. Idling eats up as much gas in 10 minutes as it takes to drive 5 miles, and idling causes up to 5x more toxic air pollution to build up inside the bus than outside. School bus drivers keep buses idling mostly to keep the interior warm so they don’t freeze during colder months, but it also produces dangerous levels of particulate matter, NOx and CO both inside and out of the bus that our children are left to breathe every day.

Luckily, there is a solution to keep bus drivers warm, but eliminate idling and save schools money in the process! Idle Free Heat technology was developed by a local Utah dad to utilize existing heat from engines to warm the bus interior with zero emissions. That’s why UCAIR, Idle Free Heat and the Granite School District partnered to put IFH systems into 40 buses last school year.

Idle Free Heat systems:

  • Are extremely cost-efficient ways to make diesel school buses cleaner (inside and out)
  • Pays for itself in about three years
  • Saves gallons of fuel and valuable school funds every year while cutting down on emissions inside and out of school buses

Idle Free Heat system works by “reclaiming” and recycling the heat naturally produced by the engine, harnessing that heat for up to one hour, and integrates with bus factory heating system. This award-winning technology utilizes an electric pump and electronic control panel that connects to the vehicle’s battery. The system produces ZERO emissions and requires no maintenance.

Ask your School Community Council to work with transportation departments to bring Idle Free Heat systems to diesel buses in district fleets as part of the transition to cleaner school bus fleets.

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