The Benefits of Air Conditioning and Education

Most people will have memories of spending hours in a hot, stuffy classroom during the summer term, feeling sleepy, watching the clock and just waiting for the bell to ring. It’s unfortunate that school examinations such as GCSEs fall at the hottest time of the year, when pupils feel least like studying.

In the past, air conditioning wasn’t something you would necessarily associate with the classroom environment. Today, there’s no reason why pupils should be enclosed in stuffy halls, experiencing uncomfortable heat, when they’re sitting important exams.

What happens in non-air conditioned schools?

In a school without air conditioning, teachers will dread the news that a heatwave is on the way. Extreme heat can affect pupil performance, regardless of whether they are sitting exams or not.

When the classroom environment is uncomfortable, the body temperature rises. This leads to decreased productivity, as studying in a hot environment can make people feel lethargic and less focused. When heat stress occurs, our body can lose electrolytes and water quickly. This causes poor mental performance and reduced motor skills.

There’s no legal maximum temperature when a school would have to close down due to extreme heat. In freezing temperatures, especially if a school’s boiler breaks down, the pupils have to be sent home. However, in a heatwave, this isn’t the case.

Unfortunately, a hot temperature can have a negative impact on well-being, health and comfort. Problems such as heat fatigue, dehydration and even sunstroke can occur, especially if pupils have been outdoors in the sun at break-time. If the school’s interior is hot too, there is nowhere indoors to cool down.

How can air conditioning help?

Air conditioning for schools is gradually increasing, as education authorities are beginning to realise the benefits. Not only will a comfortable environment help pupils to study, air conditioning can also save money compared with a conventional heating system. Some air conditioning units can produce both cool air and hot air. There can also be beneficial environmental effects, which is ideal for a school aiming to achieve green status.

Air conditioning can be particularly beneficial in schools that are full to capacity, with big classes, as having a lot of pupils in the classroom can make it feel even more hot and stuffy.

The UK’s climate has changed over the years, with extreme temperatures becoming more frequent, due to global warming. Heatwaves in the summer and flooding in the winter have become more common, so having a means to regulate the temperature in the classroom has never been more important.

Air conditioning in a school or college is an investment that will pay rich rewards. Not only will it improve the environment and provide better air quality, it will also enable staff to precisely control the temperature to make the most efficient use of the AC system. A better environment will quickly improve the quality of life for pupils and staff alike, particularly those who have hay fever or asthma.

Workplace studies have shown that when the temperature rises above 24°C, productivity decreases by 15% and the chance of accidents increases by 25%, as workers become less alert.

When’s the best time to install air conditioning?

All educational establishments, from nurseries to secondary schools, colleges and universities, could benefit from air conditioning.

While schools are closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, this is an ideal time to request a quote and consider having an AC system fitted, especially since it seems likely that pupils will be going back to school in June for the remainder of the summer term.

The latest government advice is that some UK schools will re-open from 1st June following the coronavirus shutdown. The plan is to start with some primary school classes. It is unclear at present when secondary schools are to open again.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has earmarked 1st June as the earliest date that primary schools might reopen, as it’s a “conditional plan”, depending on the rate of COVID-19 infection after the lockdown restrictions were eased slightly earlier this month.

The pupils in reception, year one and year six are likely to be the first to return, while the secondary pupils due to sit exams might get “at least some time” with teachers before the summer holiday, government officials say.

What type of air conditioning is suitable for schools?

The latest type of hybrid heat pump chiller is one of Klima-Therm’s most popular products for schools. The high efficiency, low carbon cooling and heating system is the key to a modern refurbishment project at Northbrook College in West Durrington, Sussex.

Our Rhoss EXP TXAETY 4200 heat pump chiller was the chosen system for the £6.6 million refurbishment because of its ability to provide low-energy simultaneous hot and chilled water to use for the air conditioner, heating and water supply.

The project was rated as “excellent” by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology. The chiller was chosen because of the significant potential energy savings it could achieve. The analysis of the building showed it provided an ideal solution, as there would be a simultaneous requirement for cooling and heating for much of the year.

This is just one of a large range of air conditioning products suitable for schools and colleges supplied by Klima-Therm, including many different types of high-quality chillers. Please contact us on 020 8971 4195, or email for further details.