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Sleepy pupils spark worries over school ventilation problem

Concerns are being raised about the ventilation in newly built energy efficient schools which have been designed to achieve high levels of air tightness to avoid heat loss.

The Times Education Supplement has reported that two studies by Reading University and University College London (UCL) show that new schools are suffering from high carbon dioxide levels due to poor ventilation.

Due to the high carbon dioxide levels pupils are becoming sleepy and less attentive in lessons.
Dr Dejan Mumovic, a lecturer at UCL and secretary of the Chartered Institution of Building Services’ School Design Group, said: “We monitored 10 schools that were built 50 years ago, then nine schools built under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme and found nothing had changed - the ventilation rates were equally appalling.

'CO2 levels are exceeding targets, and that can affect the learning performances of kids.”

Professor Derek Clements-Croome, from Reading University, ran similar tests at eight primaries and found problems with concentration occurred if poor ventilation caused carbon dioxide levels to become too high.

He said: “People are trying to get their energy consumption down, but that shouldn’t be at any expense. There is no point pushing for energy reduction if kids are falling asleep.”