In the wake of the COVID-19 pendemic, the West Haven Board of Education committed to improving the air quality in each of its nine schools by enhancing the ventilation systems and increasing the frequency of deep vent cleaning.
West Haven’s elementary schools – Forest, Seth G. Haley, Edith E. Mackrille, Alma E. Pagels, Savin Rock Community School, and Washington – as well as the district’s intermediate school Carrigan and middle school Bailey, were all built between the 1950s and 1970s with fans on the roof of the classrooms designed to remove stale air and replace it with fresh air. However, these fans are not energy efficient, according to school officials.
“The Board of Education’s facility team moved quickly to secure equipment and vendors to replace or repair every rooftop exhaust fan for each school. Most schools had between 18-20 fans, while others had more,” a B of E press release stated this week. “Facilities deep cleaned each classroom and created a policy of posting a certificate of completion on the door of the classrooms after the cleaning.”
According to Building Committee Chairman Ken Carney, the new high school has a state-of-the-art HVAC system with carbon dioxide detectors that automatically adjust the amount of fresh air allowed into the building based on the number of people in the building. The fresh air is filtered twice and conditioned before it enters the building. Cold outside air is heated to meet the school’s interior temperature before it is discharged into the building. Hot outside air is cooled to meet the inside building temperature.
The system is exceptionally energy efficient. The utility costs of the new high school are 50 percent less than the old high school’s utility bills.
The efforts to improve the air quality in the schools has been rigorous, according to officials, and the steps to maintain it are ongoing and extensive. The Board of Education has contracted with a third-party company specializing in vent cleaning to maintain clean vents for all school buildings all year.