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Buildings & Grounds

Outdoor air intake vent
Outdoor air intakes provide fresh air to building occupants. They should not be blocked and should be away from nearby pollutant sources such as plumbing vents or exhaust outlets from kitchens, restrooms or laboratory fume hoods.
Exhaust outlets

School buses provide children transportation between home and school, but diesel school buses can give off toxic gases and very small soot particles that can be harmful when inhaled. Vehicle engines should be turned off or should not be allowed to idle near school outdoor air intakes.

School bus

Rooftop air handling unit
Air handling units provide a means for heating and cooling air, as well as bringing fresh, outdoor air into the school through a series of air ducts and supply vents. Unlike unit ventilators, these units are commonly located on a school’s roof or in other areas where they will not be seen. Routine maintenance on these units should include making sure filters are clean and properly installed and cleaning interior parts such as cooling coils and condensate pans.

Rooftop air handling unit

Garbage dumpster
Proper waste management and disposal promote good air quality in schools. Garbage should be contained securely in firmly covered containers or in tied-off plastic bags. Dumpsters should be located away from outdoor air intakes, doors and operable windows. They also should be located so that prevailing winds carry odors and contaminants away from the building, not toward it.

Garbage dumpsters located away from outdoor air intakes, doors and operable windows

Gutters, downspouts and splashguards
It is important to keep rainwater away from the building’s foundation to avoid problems with flooding and possible mold growth. Gutters need to be free of debris to allow rainwater to run toward downspouts. Splashguards direct water away from the foundation and help to prevent soil erosion.

Downspout with no splashguard

Standing water on the roof
Many schools are designed with flat roofs and standing water may be a source of leaks if the roof surface is not properly maintained. If roof drains are used, they need to be kept clear of debris and should be placed slightly lower in the roof surface so that collected rainwater flows toward them.

Standing water on a flat roof

The lawn or other types of landscaping should be sloped away from the building to allow proper drainage away from the foundation. Grass should be kept trimmed to avoid providing a habitat for mice and other pests. Application of lawn chemicals should be performed on days when students are not in attendance.

Lawn sloped away from the building