WBAIS building in Israel

How to Create a Safe Learning Environment in Schools

Abstract 


With indoor air being a leading factor in impacting cognitive function and overall well-being, Aura Air set out to improve the air quality at the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel (WBAIS). A month-long trial was held with 19 devices spread out across the campus and measurements taken regularly throughout the day. The results indicated a clear Proof of Value (POV) regarding Aura Air’s ability to create a better learning environment and reduce health risks such as heart attacks, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and neurological damage. 


The Challenge 


Educational institutions face a unique challenge when it comes to maintaining healthy air quality. With indoor air being five times more polluted than outdoor air, harmful particles can severely impact academic performance and pose a significant health and comfort concern for students, parents, and staff.


According to the EPA, nearly 1 in 13 children of school-age has asthma, which is the leading cause of school absenteeism due to chronic illness.


There is substantial evidence that indoor environmental exposure to allergens such as dust mites, pests, and molds, commonly found in schools, triggers asthma symptoms. Furthermore, there is evidence that exposure to diesel exhaust from school buses and other vehicles exacerbates asthma and allergies. 


The World Health Organization (WHO)  found that air pollution is one of the leading threats to child health, accounting for almost 1 in 10 deaths in children under five years of age. It affects neurodevelopment, leading to lower cognitive test outcomes and negatively affecting mental and motor development.


In low-and middle-income countries around the world, 98% of all children under five are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines. In high-income countries, 52% of children under 5 are exposed to such levels, an alarming rate in and of itself. By purifying and disinfecting the classroom air, Aura Air can improve the air quality significantly, reduce illness among schoolchildren, and potentially improve productivity and cognitive performance.

Students in classrooms

Client


Established under the auspices of the American Embassy in 1958, The Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel (WBAIS) is an independent, co-educational Pre-K-12 international school offering an American program leading to a US high school diploma. With a present enrollment of approximately 600 students representing over 40 nationalities, AIS Israel is a diverse and vibrant community. Approximately 40% of AIS students are American, 40% from countries all over the world, and 20% Israelis. Children from the diplomatic families of over twenty countries and several dozen multi-national corporations make up 80% of students from the ex-pat community.


Work Process 


Pilot tests were carried out with 19 devices in three different settings. Two comparisons were conducted on the ground floor and the first floor. On each floor, two devices were set as control groups, while the remaining were set as test groups. Additionally, three devices were installed in the principal's office and the teacher's lounge for data tracking and impressions.


Results

chart showing all the results: a 50.13% improvement in VOC Levels, a 10.32% improvement in PM 2.5 levels,  and a 12.03% improvement in overall AQI

VOC Levels - 50.13 % Improvement


The most noticeable effect was on VOC levels, with an impressive 50.13% improvement between the control and test groups. The control group experienced abnormal VOC levels on May 6, which could have been avoided if Aura Air devices had been installed in the classroom. 


Despite not being acutely toxic, VOCs may have significant long-term chronic health effects. The most common health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, poor coordination, nausea, liver, kidney, and neurological damage. In some cases, organics have even been shown to cause cancer in animals, as well as suspected or proven to cause cancer in humans. 

Chart showing VOC levels

PM 2.5 - 10.32% Improvement


The comparison of the different PM2.5 levels between the control group and the test group clearly shows that in the vast majority of cases, PM2.5 levels are normal (below 12.5). On April 29-30, abnormal values of PM2.5 levels can be seen in the control group, which could have been avoided if Aura Air devices had been installed in the classroom space. PM2.5 is linked to a variety of health issues such as nonfatal heart attacks, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Chart showing PM 2.5 levels

AQI - 12.03% Improvement 


The clear difference in the overall AQI between the control and test groups illustrates the importance of air purification in maintaining a healthy indoor environment. The bulk of pilot days show that when the Aura Air device is operating in the classroom, the AQI levels are significantly lower (better) at 12.03% on average for all days. The Aura Air device improves and makes the classroom environment healthier and safer for students.

Chart showing AQI levels

CO2 Monitoring


The following chart shows the average CO2 distribution per hour for the entire pilot period. As can be seen, the morning to afternoon hours are the hours characterized by an increase in CO2, and at 14:00, the highest average value of CO2 is obtained. Although these data are still in the healthy range according to the WELL standard, it is recommended to take various actions such as opening windows and maintaining good ventilation and filtration. These steps will ensure that CO2 levels do not rise, as high levels can significantly impact cognitive functions. 

Chart showing CO2 levels

Conclusion

Classroom with an Aura Air device

During a month-long trial, 19 Aura Air devices were spread in different types of spaces across the school’s property. The comparisons conducted between the test group and a control group clearly demonstrate the importance of indoor air management in ensuring the health and well-being of students and staff. With an improvement of 50.13% in VOC levels, health risks such as headaches, poor coordination, and nausea can be avoided and a possible risk for cancer. The 10.32% improvement in PM 2.5 levels and a 12.03% improvement in overall AQI improve the learning environment and help people suffering from heart and lung diseases and the general public.



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