Leaders at Adams County School District 14 in suburban Denver were eager to get students back to classrooms in early 2021. Shuttered since March 2020, district classrooms were especially critical since some families lack internet access.
Re-opening schools required improving indoor air quality (IAQ) to mitigate health risks for a safer in-person learning environment. Located in an industrial center that generates airborne particulates and odors that preclude opening windows, the district also faced budgetary constraints. Additionally, the district’s outdated (HVAC) heating, ventilation and air conditioning system couldn’t support use of ASHRAE®-recommended MERV 13 filters.
- Take a Holistic Approach to Identify the Right Solution: Adams 14 turned to Trane® for answers. The district was already working with Trane on an energy audit and STEM educational offerings. The offerings included a collaborative high school program with the non-profit National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) and the Trane BTU Crew™, an interactive energy curriculum that brings STEM learning to life. Trane took a holistic, fact-based approach to improving the district’s IAQ and recommended a three-step approach.
After factoring in the conditions of the Adams 14 buildings, HVAC systems, ambient outside air and other considerations, Trane recommended Synexis® technology as an occupant-approved effective and low-maintenance option to improve district-wide IAQ without negatively affecting energy efficiency and operating costs.
The selected, free-standing Synexis Sphere units offer patented microbial-reduction technology, which continuously reduces harmful microbes in air and on surfaces. Synexis is the sole developer of the process by which naturally occurring oxygen and humidity in the air is converted to Dry Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) or DHP™.
- Secure the Funding: Trane assisted Adams 14 in securing funding for the units through a Safe Schools Reopening Grant. The district expedited the purchase through their participation in Omnia Partners®, one of the largest cooperative purchasing organization for public sector procurement.
- Implement Quickly: Adams 14 purchased and installed 427 free-standing Synexis Sphere units in classrooms and common areas throughout the district’s 17 buildings, which serve 6,500 students. Turnaround from grant submittal to installation of the Synexis Sphere units was completed in a quick 30-day period
Adams 14 leaders mitigated the risk of airborne exposures, improving IAQ across the district and creating an enhanced academic environment for students, teachers and staff. “We are proud to be one of the first districts in the state to offer this innovative technology in every classroom, which provides an additional layer of protection to our established COVID-19 protections for our students and staff,” said Don Rangel, Adams 14 acting superintendent.
District leaders were pleased with the holistic approach Trane provided. The investment in IAQ will benefit students, staff and building occupants for years, well beyond the immediate threat of the pandemic.
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There is evidence from ASHRAE® and other sources that HVAC technologies can mitigate the risk of exposure to infectious aerosols in built environments; however, the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and mitigation of COVID-19 in buildings is yet to be tested and confirmed.
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