United States
                      Environmental Protection
                                 Indoor Environments Division
                                 Office of Radiation and Indoor Air
August 2000
                      CASE  STUDY
                      Clear Creek School District, Colorado
          Indoor Air Quality
           Tools for Schools
"The IAQ TfS Kit
 prompted us
 to track our
 student health
 problems, like
 asthma and
 allergies, and try
 to relate them
 to our past IAQ
 We've really
 been noticing
 the number
 of student
 since the IAQ
 were initiated."
 -Art Bentm
 Facilities and
 Maintenance Supervisor
          King-Murphy Elementary School, part of the Clear Creek School District, is located in
          Evergreen, Colorado, about 30 miles west of Denver. Two hundred and fifty students in
          grades K through 6 attend the school.

          Approach—Project Description
          School Description
          The two-story King-Murphy Elementary School was built in 1982, using a passive solar
          design. The heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC) system consists of unit ventilators
          and five new rooftop units for heating and cooling the second-floor classrooms.
          Prior to the indoor air quality (IAQ) campaign at King-Murphy, the school district hired a
          new Facilities and Maintenance Director. He negotiated a performance contract with an
          energy service provider, who would design a plan, install energy-efficiency technologies,
and guarantee their performance. The contract covered upgrading the school's HVAC system and
installing a district-wide energy management system (EMS). District staff knew that IAQ problems
existed in some of their schools and were committed to considering the effects of energy efficiency
upgrades on IAQ as the upgrades were planned and implemented.

IAQ Team
The school formed an IAQ Tools for Schools (TfS) steering committee in October 1998, led by the principal
and the custodian. The team also included the District Facility Maintenance Supervisor, a teacher, a
student from the Environmental Science Club, and a parent. They developed a 5-month plan for
implementing IAQ TfS.

Problem Identification
The first IAQ meetings revealed very real concerns, including hazardous waste removal and
management, exhaust fumes in the building, irregular filter replacement schedules, general inadequacy
of the air-handling system, and overheating from the south-facing clerestory windows. The potential for
radon gas was also a concern because the school is located near mountains containing old coal mines.
Seepage  of the radon gas from these mines was an issue not to be overlooked. All concerns were
ultimately addressed by implementing IAQ TfS.

The teachers completed their IAQ checklists in December, and the head custodian and principal
coordinated completion of the remaining lists. Then the  team reviewed the  checklists and prepared for
a walkthrough. The walkthrough consisted of one-on-one interviews  with teachers who had identified
specific concerns, and visual inspection of certain areas of the school with identified or potential
problems.  Staff measured and recorded carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and room temperatures, along with
any observations and interview information, on a spreadsheet.

The walkthrough revealed that diesel fumes from idling buses entered several rooms on the south side
of the building through the unit ventilators. The team also noted that the outside air dampers were set
to allow  air in only when the temperature is above 40° F  to prevent freezing coils, thus leaving
classrooms without adequate outside air during most of the heating season.  Radon testing showed low
radon levels (below EPA's action level) throughout the school.

Although many IAQ issues were identified, the team was aware of concerns about the impact of the new
program on the maintenance staff's workload, as they were already very busy. The Facilities Director
addressed these concerns and also assured the maintenance staff that the IAQ issues and operational
changes  identified were not a critique of their performance. The IAQ  work at the elementary school
commenced soon after.

                       KING-MURPHY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
                       Clear Creek School District, Colorado
"I got a lot
 more out of
 IAQ Tools for
 Schools than I
 The program
 has really
 helped us
 because we are
 things that
 needed to be
 fixed and we
 can take this
 to other
 schools [in our
 -Art Benton
  Facilities and
Lessons  Learned

Short-term Solutions
As a result of the walkthrough in January 1999, the team developed a set of IAQ policies for King-
Murphy Elementary School. Staff are advised to do the following:

• Keep unit ventilators clear of books, papers, and other items.
• Maintain the temperature between 68° and 72° F.
• Keep warm-blooded pets out of classrooms or, when they visit, limit time of exposure and ensure
  good ventilation.
• Be aware of the cleaning schedule and expectations for keeping horizontal surfaces clean.

Staff are also encouraged to know the proper procedures for storing and discarding chemicals. Material
Safety Data Sheets on the chemicals will be kept on file and updated whenever necessary.  The district
sought a waiver from Health and Human Services to use a bleach alternative for weekly cleaning, and
that has become the rule. The policies were communicated to all staff and included in the new-teacher
and beginning-of-year information packets.

The school also worked with its energy service provider to address IAQ problems related to the HVAC
system. The contractor adjusted the outside air dampers and added glycol to the water pipes  to increase
the amount of outside air during the heating season. Timers were installed to shut off the outside air
supply during the 15-20  minutes the buses are loading.  This will prevent diesel fumes  from entering
classrooms on the south  side of the building through the unit ventilators. The school arranged  to install
tinted clerestory windows to reduce overheating in upstairs classrooms. Plans were also made to replace metal
air filters with pleated paper filters, which are up to 80-percent efficient. The school's preventive maintenance
plan specifies that the filters are to be replaced every 90 days.

The IAQ team members  noticed a dramatic improvement in their comfort levels and a decrease in IAQ-
related complaints between the first and last scheduled IAQ meetings.

Long-term Practices and Policies
Implementing the IAQ TfS Kit was a positive learning experience for the Clear Creek School District.
Participants agreed that the onsite involvement of knowledgeable staff from EPA's regional office was
key to the successful implementation of the Kit  at King-Murphy Elementary School. As a direct result of
implementing the TfS Kit, the district is now establishing hazardous waste training sessions for all staff
members. One year ago such programs were not considered necessary, but the success of the  IAQ TfS
Kit helped pave the way for new environmental issues to be addressed.

District staff are making TfS a learning experience for students, too. From the very beginning, the
Superintendent requested that the students be included as much as possible. King-Murphy students
helped complete checklists, collected particulate samples, and wrote about what they learned.  IAQ
provided an opportunity for students to get involved in their own education and increase their
awareness of the indoor  environment.

In a new program beginning September 2000, Art Benton, Facilities and Maintenance Supervisor, is
establishing an internship for high school students from the district. They will review the recorded  sick
days of students and staff from all district schools that implemented the IAQ TfS Kit and record the
reason for the sick day—whether it can be attributed to asthma, allergies, flu, or simply missing the bus.
Also in September, Georgetown Elementary School will begin to participate in the IAQ TfS program.

For more information, contact
Art Benton, Facilities and Maintenance Supervisor
Clear  Creek School District
Phone: (303) 567-2980