United States
                      Environmental Protection
                              Air and Radiation
March 2001
                      CASE  STUDY
                      Downingtown Area School District, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
            Indoor Air Qualify
             Tools for Schools
"We keep a log
 of student
 visits to our
 health room
 and even
 during allergy
 student visits
 We attribute
 this to the
 -Mr. Leigh Abbott
             Shamona Creek Elementary School, constructed on 63 acres of former farmland, opened in
             1990. Although certain sections of the school are one story, the school is mainly a two-story
             building with a brick exterior measuring 63,000 square feet. The metal roof initially brought
             indoor air quality (IAQ) issues to the attention of school personnel, as it leaked profusely
             due to improper installation.  The plywood and insulation under the roof absorbed excess
             moisture and became saturated with mildew and mold. This led to severe moisture
             problems indoors, including mildew and mold on books, furniture, and walls throughout
             the school.

             By 1994, school officials had received numerous complaints associated with indoor air
             quality, primarily regarding odor and mildew. They realized that the leaking roof was
             causing an increasing number of IAQ problems and therefore, hired a consultant to perform
             IAQ tests to verify the presence of mildew, airborne contaminants, harmful biological
organisms, and airborne gases.  Quick-fix solutions were implemented such as adjusting temperature
settings and fan speeds, and performing some additional house cleaning procedures. These produced
minimal results with no long-term improvements.

Approach—Project Description

School Description
Downingtown Area School District (DASD), located in historic Chester County in southeastern Pennsylvania,
includes the Downingtown Borough and the townships of East Brandywine, East Cain, Upper Uwchlan,
Uwchlan, Wallace, West Bradford, and West Pikeland. DASD is composed of nine elementary schools (K-5),
two middle schools (6-8), a ninth grade center and two senior high schools, one of which is undergoing
renovations. Shamona Creek uses a chilled water air-conditioning system and gas and oil powered boilers
to heat the air during colder weather. All exterior classrooms have unit ventilators to pull fresh air from
outside, while the interior classrooms share a common duct referred to as a plenum.  The plenum is shared
by 15 classrooms and it provides fresh air through ceiling vents. Shamona Creek Elementary School was
among the first of these schools to implement EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (IAQ TfS) Program
and Kit.

IAQ  Team
Gil Lappano, Director of Facilities, Planning, and Management for DASD, was determined to raise the
awareness of IAQ and establish long-term solutions for Shamona Creek Elementary and other schools in
the District.  The first step in this process was to obtain the support of the DASD School Board and the
Administrators, who agreed that IAQ was an important issue and that the district needed a strategic
IAQ plan.

In 1998, the District decided to pilot test EPA's IAQ TfS Program and Kit in Shamona Creek, Bradford
Heights, and Brandywine elementary schools. The DASD Facilities Department, with the assistance of EPA
Region 3, conducted a complete walkthrough of each school, yielding specific recommendations for IAQ
improvements. As part of this effort, they conducted kick-off meetings with the principal of each school and
trained school staff including teachers, custodians, and maintenance and food service personnel.

The IAQ TfS Program quickly became a part of the daily routine for IAQ Team members and staff at each
school. Of the IAQ TfS Kit checklists distributed, 80 percent were completed and returned to the appropriate
Team member.


                       Downingtown Area School District, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
"Since we have

 been using the

 IAQ TfS Kit

 overall district-

 wide we have

 had less IAQ

 problems and


 -Gil Lappano
  Director of Facilities,
  Planning, and
Problem Identification
Problems identified on the school walkthroughs and completed checklists included:

• Stains and fungal/mold growth on ceiling tiles due to the leaking roof.
• Condensation, mold, and mildew accumulation in carpets and on furniture, walls, books and stuffed
  animals due to improper temperatures.
• Airflow problems in classrooms due to the accumulation of materials on unit ventilators and debris
  in the units.
• Unbalanced HVAC systems.
• Ventilation problems due to dysfunctional dampers and motors.
• Animals and vegetation for educational purposes.
• Cleaners and solvents not purchased or approved by the school district.
• Air filters in need of cleaning or replacement.
• Severe ponding issues due to improperly installed downspouts and changes in land contours.

Lessons Learned

Short-Term Solutions
School officials considered the IAQ complaints along with the results of checklists and walkthroughs when
prioritizing the improvements.  The first major improvement was a new roof for the school, including
complete replacement of the plywood sheathing. The roof installation was completed in the spring of 1998.
The next focus was the ventilation system.  Dampers were reconditioned and adjusted, and new, efficient
motors were installed. To cut down on moisture problems, ventilation drip pans were removed, cleaned,
and treated with germicides to prevent mildew and mold accumulation. Pipe insulation that contained
mold and mildew was removed or mitigated.  An energy monitoring system was also installed.

Due to the noticeable build-up of mold and mildew in the classrooms, several items had to be disposed of
and replaced. Items that are particularly susceptible to dust or moisture accumulation, such as stuffed
animals and upholstered chairs, were removed from the classrooms. The teachers were compensated for
personal articles that were destroyed.

Long-Term Practices and Policies
Shamona Creek has been actively participating in the IAQ TfS Program for more than three years.  IAQ
complaints have dropped considerably since 1997, from one per month to three per year. DASD plans to
enroll three schools in their IAQ TfS Program each year until all schools are active participants and
implementing good IAQ strategies. Uwchlan Hills, Brandywine Wallace, and Beaver Creek elementary
schools began the IAQ TfS Program in the fall of 1999 and are in the process of implementation.  This year,
three more schools (West Bradford, East Ward and Pickering Valley) will be enrolled.

DASD is very pleased with the results from using the IAQ TfS Kit and the positive reaction of school staff
involved. Participation has allowed the District to reduce expenditures on environmental consultants and
provide a healthier environment for faculty and students. In collaboration with EPA, the District plans to
make the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program and Kit standard operating procedure.

For more information, contact:

Gil Lappano, Director of Facilities, Planning, and Management
Joe Behm, Facilities Engineer
Facilities Department DASD
North Park Plaza, 140 Wallace Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335
glappano@dasd.org/Tel. 610-269-8460 ext. 6223/Fax. 610-269-1227