Are ventilation filters degrading indoor air quality in California classrooms?
Heating, ventilating, and cooling classrooms in California consume substantial electrical energy. Indoor air quality (IAQ) in classrooms affects student health and performance. In addition to airborne pollutants that are emitted directly by indoor sources and those generated outdoors, secondary pollutants can be formed indoors by chemical reaction of ozone with other chemicals and materials. Filters are used in nearly all classroom heating, ventilation and air‐conditioning (HVAC) systems to maintain energy‐efficient HVAC performance and improve indoor air quality; however, recent evidence indicates that ozone reactions with filters may, in fact, be a source of secondary pollutants. This project quantitatively evaluated ozone deposition in HVAC filters and byproduct formation, and provided a preliminary assessment of the extent to which filter systems are degrading indoor air quality. The preliminary information obtained will contribute to the design of subsequent research efforts and the identification of energy efficient solutions that improve indoor air quality in classrooms and the health and performance of students.