Improve & Protect School Air Quality

Did you know that the air in our homes, schools and offices can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air? Most of our exposure to environmental pollutants occurs by breathing the air indoors. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can impact the comfort and health of students and staff, which can affect concentration, attendance and student performance. Additionally, if schools fail to respond promptly to poor IAQ, students and staff are at an increased risk of health problems such as fatigue, nausea, coughing, eye irritation, headaches, asthma episodes, and allergic reactions.

The goal of an IAQ Management Program is to prevent the occurrence of problems and to respond quickly to issues before they become serious health matters. Simple, low-cost actions can save money, improve health and decrease student and staff absenteeism.  School facilities & maintenance staff are vital in maintaining proper school-wide Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation (HVAC) systems, and addressing problems, but good IAQ in a school is everyone’s responsibility! Learn more below about steps to improve air quality at your school.

Tip: Also visit our National & State Green School Programs page to learn more about local and national Green School programs and resources to help you improve the health & sustainability of your school!

Before You Start

Form an Action Team

Center for Green Schools: Indoor Environmental Quality Video (9mins)

Center for Green Schools: Indoor Environmental Quality Companion Guide

Design and Preparation

Conduct a General Environmental Review Checklist

Conduct an Indoor Air Quality Audit

Conduct a Mold Growth Audit

EPA School Indoor Air Quality Assessment Mobile App

EPA Indoor Air Quality Design Tools for Schools

Model Programs:

  • EPA: School IAQ Case Studies
  • EPA Regional Models: Indoor Air Quality Champions
  • Implementation

    EPA Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit

    Action Plan Forms (review program options, then create action plan):

  • Sample Indoor Air Quality Action Plan
  • Blank Indoor Air Quality Action Plan
  • Sample Mold Action Plan
  • Blank Mold Action Plan
  • School Air Quality Improvement Program Options:

  • Participate in the EPA Colored Flag Program for Air Quality Forecasts
  • Implement a Fragrance Free School Policy
  • Prevent & Address Mold in Schools
  • Implement Asthma-Friendly School Initiatives
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation
  • Green Cleaning for Schools
  • Purchase Green & Sustainable Products
  • Safe Chemical Management in Schools
  • Implement Programs to Reduce Vehicle Idling
  • Implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program
  • Integrate IAQ Protection with Energy Efficiency Improvements
  • Tools for School Facilities Staff:

  • Sample Indoor Air Quality Management Plan
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation
  • Test for Radon
  • Test for Asbestos
  • Using Your Project

    EPA Breathing Easy Lesson

    EPA Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides & Online Resources for Educators

    Eco Schools Sustainability Pathways & Resources

    Eco Schools National Standards & Curriculum Alignment

    Eco Schools Green STEM Initiative

    Green Education Foundation: Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

    Learning Lab Sustainability Lessons

    Project Learning Tree Curriculum Offerings

    Sharing Your Project

    Involve Parents in Creating a Healthy Indoor School Environment

    Create Signs About School Air Quality Tips & Efforts

    Resource Center

    Project Resource Library: Learn More!
    National & State Green School Programs
    Eco Schools USA Handbook
    Bay Backpack Teaching Resources Search Engine
    EPA Learning & Teaching About the Environment (awards, resources, more)