Solar heating enhances air quality in schools

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Many New Zealand primary-school children struggle through the winter months with respiratory and infectious illnesses. Could improving air quality in classrooms help their health?

Frequent winter illnesses
Frequent winter illnesses cause many primary school-aged children to be absent from school, less able to concentrate on their studies and struggling to achieve—the knock-on effects of which could extend into later life.

During the winter, people spend up to 90% of their time inside, where the air is typically much more polluted than outdoors. High levels of pollutants and allergens can cause or exacerbate seasonal illness and asthma. Asthma affects 25% of New Zealand children; the United States Environmental Protection Agency considers indoor air pollution to be among the top five environmental risks to public health.

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A Massey University construction professor was recognised at the 2016 New Zealand Institute of Building Awards for her work on a solar heating project in New Zealand schools.

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