NEISD receives national honor for improving indoor air quality
North East Independent School District has been awarded the Model of Sustained Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Excellence Award from the EPA’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air.
NEISD received the award through its participation in the EPA’s Tools for Schools program and for demonstrating a sustained commitment to indoor air quality management and promoting student and staff health, performance and productivity.
“IAQ management was never a question, it was an answer,” states Dr. Richard A. Middleton, superintendent of schools. “It supports the health of our students, so they can attend school and meet their full potential – and it supports the health of our staff, without whom educating students is impossible.”
Without good indoor air quality, students and staff can be faced with serious health risks in schools that can lead to asthma attacks, decreased performance or diminished concentration.
To move beyond IAQ basics, NEISD has taken several steps in just the past two years to maintain a sustainable and institutionalized IAQ management program for current and future students and to reduce environmental, airborne triggers.
- 1. Installed Web-based HVAC software, which cut energy costs by 9.4 percent in 2009, saving $1.3 million.
- 2. Converted to “green” cleaning products, which reduced costs by 30 percent.
- 3. Moved more than 200 classrooms from “portables” to eight new two-story brick face permanent buildings.
- 4. Implemented a district-wide policy for responding to outdoor air pollution events
- 5. Created the HealthCheck system to “see the whole child” and gather information on student’s health, medications taken, nurse visits, grades, attendance, classroom IAQ, etc. This data is then compared to show how one affects the other and if poor IAQ affects a student’s ability to learn in the classroom.
- 6. Developed and implemented the “Healthy Lifestyles” course for all incoming freshman. Legislators are also considering using this course as a state-wide model.
- 7. Use modern-fuel efficient buses.
- 8. Air conditioned gymnasiums.
- 9. Implemented a district-wide waste recycling program. The past year, more than one million pounds of materials were collected and recycled instead of being buried in a waste landfill.
- 10. Implemented the process of eliminating carpet from classrooms (since 2008).
- 11. Constructed two Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified schools
NEISD representatives received the award at the 11th Annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 13, 2011.
Posted on December 15, 2010