Friday, May 4, 2012

Top 5 Talking Points for Obtaining Buy-in: The IAQ Tools for Schools Connector E-Newsletter

Did You Know …
The White House Office of Public Engagement has selected Brian Kasher from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in Charlotte, N.C. as a 2012 White House Champion of Change for Greening Our Cities and Towns — as part of President Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative. Brian Kasher is being recognized for his environmental health advocacy and going green program.
“This award is a reflection of the commitment of CMS and Mecklenburg County to lead by example when it comes to continuous environmental improvement,” said Kasher. "I am honored to represent the CMS region in this recognition event."
CMS is an active IAQ Tools for Schools Faculty member and winner of the IAQ Tools for Schools National Excellence and National Model of Sustained Excellence awards. CMS representatives are routinely called upon to share its best management practices in the areas of environmental health and green operations. Check out CMS’s Web page featuring the presentations provided to national organizations, schools, community groups and the public.
Should we have our schools tested for radon? How do we keep mold from returning once it has been removed?
Find answers to these and other questions on the Schools IAQ Connector Email Discussion List. Join today by sending a blank email message to Then check your email inbox for confirmation and membership details.
Access Previous Connector E-Newsletters Online
Can’t find a previous IAQ Tools for Schools Connector e-newsletter in your email inbox? No problem! Visit the e-newsletter archive on the IAQ Tools for Schools website to access printable versions (PDFs) of all past editions.
News and Events
    • Celebrate Asthma Awareness Month This May. Each May, thousands of organizations across the U.S. join together for Asthma Awareness Month in an effort to increase public awareness about the nation’s asthma epidemic, and to take action to get asthma under control in communities nationwide. Visit to browse events and access event-planning resources.
    • Access the American Lung Association’s Guide to Asthma Policy for Schools. This guide supports the work of community advocates and policymakers focused on asthma policy for schools. The guide provides proven strategies and tools that can help your school become asthma-friendly.
    • Check Out the Green Ribbon Schools Winners. IAQ Tools for Schools would like to congratulate the 2012 recipients of the inaugural Green Ribbon Schools, the first comprehensive and coordinated federal award program. These 78 recipients, from 29 states and D.C., are being recognized for reducing their energy use and environmental impact, creating healthy learning environments, and providing effective environmental education that prepares students to succeed in the 21st century.

The Importance of Promoting Your IAQ Management Program
Strong organization and promotion are essential to developing a comprehensive IAQ management program. As outlined in the Framework for Effective School IAQ Management: Key Drivers, one of the most significant aspects of organizing an IAQ management program is securing senior buy-in from leaders in the school community. To secure buy-in and gain support from administrators, school officials, parents and others, it’s important to promote the work and actions you take each and every day to create a healthy indoor environment. Securing commitments from school leaders provides you with the support you need to meet your school district’s IAQ management goals.
Through your promotion efforts, you will also be able to garner support in order to develop an inclusive and effective IAQ team that reflects the school community and district.
Want more tips on securing buy-in from school leaders?
Check out the 5 talking points below that can help you develop a common understanding of what green and healthy school environments mean — and why it takes everyone in the school community to get on board.

Top 5 Talking Points for Obtaining Buy-in
Now that you know why it’s important to promote your IAQ management program, talk to members of your school community — including key decision makers — about the importance of IAQ management. When reaching out to school officials, administrators, parents and others, use the five talking points below to convey the significance of good IAQ in creating healthy learning environments.
1. IAQ Affects Student and Staff Health. Leaky roofs; problems with heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; insufficient cleaning or excessive use of toxic cleaning chemicals; and other environmental issues can lead to poor IAQ and can trigger health problems like respiratory infections, asthma, allergies and other adverse health reactions.
2. Children are More Vulnerable to Environmental Hazards than Adults. Children are inherently more vulnerable to environmental hazards because their physiology is still developing. For example, children's breathing rates relative to their body mass are four to six times greater than adults' breathing rates, often making children far more susceptible to illnesses due to airborne contaminants.
3. IAQ Affects Student and Staff Productivity and Achievement. Research shows that a school's physical environment can affect academic performance. IAQ improvements, such as increasing fresh air ventilation and removing the source pollutants, can have positive effects on both student and teacher productivity. Students in classrooms with higher fresh air ventilation rates tend to achieve higher scores on standardized tests in math and reading than students in poorly ventilated classrooms.
4. The Price of Repairs and Renovations May be High, but the Price of Preventative Practices Is Not. School districts can undertake no-cost and low-cost activities that safeguard the school environment and achieve significant health and performance improvements. School districts with proactive facility maintenance programs have demonstrated a strong business case for coordinating activities that both improve the physical environment and student health, in an integrated program focused on improved academic achievement.
5. Good IAQ Practices Can Help Schools Save Money. The money that schools save from energy-performance upgrades and retrofits can be used towards additional building improvements. In addition to improving occupant health and performance, regular heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) maintenance saves energy. ENERGY STAR qualified buildings have demonstrated that well-maintained HVAC systems of average efficiency save more energy than high-efficiency HVAC systems that are poorly maintained. Well-maintained systems reduce energy use by an average of 15 to 20 percent.

Get Answers to Your Questions
Is there a topic you want to see covered in an IAQ Tools for Schools Connector e-newsletter? Do you have suggestions for a webinar or e-newsletter feature, or do you have questions about a specific IAQ topic? If so, send us an email at
Share YOUR news and events! Send us information to share with the school IAQ community. It could be featured in the next Connector e-newsletter. Email your news and events to
The IAQ Tools for Schools guidance is a comprehensive resource designed to help schools maintain a healthy environment in school buildings by identifying, correcting and preventing IAQ problems. Learn more about the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance at

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