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 The Division of the State Architect's Sustainable Schools Resource

Indoor Environment Quality

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is an integral aspect of high performance school construction. Good IEQ can reduce student and teacher absences, increase student performance, reduce illnesses related to indoor toxins, and improve teacher retention rates. IEQ includes indoor air quality (IAQ), acoustics, daylighting and lighting quality, and thermal comfort. These factors will help reduce distractions, improve comfort levels, and keep students, teachers and staff healthy.

All aspects of IEQ react and interact with each other as well as with other aspects of high performance school construction. Siting issues will affect daylighting potentials and acoustics. Building envelope design will affect thermal comfort, daylighting, and indoor air quality. Materials choices will affect all aspects of IEQ. The construction process and the operations and maintenance will also affect IAQ. To optimize good IEQ in schools, it is important to consider it throughout the design and construction process.

Further Subtopics

Indoor Air Quality
Lighting Quality
Thermal Comfort
Acoustical Quality

Featured Resources

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
(Best Practices Manual Volume 2: Introduction to Guidelines Section, Goals and Cross-cutting Issues, Health and Indoor Air Quality) CHPS aims to facilitate the design of high performance schools in California - environments that are not only resource efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lit and contain the amenities needed for a quality education. CHPS has developed a set of Best Practices Manuals (available at to create a new generation of high performance school facilities in California.

California Interagency Working Group on Indoor Air Quality - Indoor Environmental Quality in CA Schools: Critical Needs Assessment
This report, still in the development phase, presents a review of available information and a set of recommendations and proposals aimed at policy-makers and public school administrators for initiating corrective change and developing measures to prevent IEQ problems in California schools. The goal was to evaluate the current status and critical needs of California schools' facilities with respect to indoor environmental quality (IEQ).

Department of Health Services - Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Program
The IAQ Program conducts and promotes the coordination of research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, surveys, and studies relating to the causes, effects, extent, prevention, and control of indoor pollution in California.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Healthy School Environments Program
The EPA Healthy School Environments Web pages are intended to serve as a gateway to on-line resources to help facility managers, school administrators, architects, design engineers, school nurses, parents, teachers and staff address environmental health issues in schools.

Healthy Schools Network
Healthy Schools Network, Inc. (HSN) is a nationally recognized, state-based advocate for the protection of children's environmental health in schools. This organization strives to build awareness of children's environmental health needs and to assure every child and school employee an environmentally healthy school. Included on this website are guides, reports, materials and other linked internet resources pertaining to indoor environment quality.

Heschong-Mahone Group
The Heschong-Mahone Group is a leader in investigating the effect of daylight on human performance. This website contains a report that includes a focus on skylighting as a way to isolate daylight as an illumination source, and separate illumination effects from other qualities associated with daylighting from windows. In this project, they established a statistically compelling connection between lighting quality, natural ventilation, and student performance.

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities - Color Theory
NCEF's resource list of links, books, and journal articles that explore the affects of color and related issues such as lighting on perception, physiology, and learning.

Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
OEHHA's website covers the effects between student health and air pollution and provides further information on how to minimize indoor air pollution.

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