For years, Australian students and teachers have sweltered through long, hot summers, sometimes in classrooms where temperatures exceed 35 degrees.
Now there’s a growing push for the education environment to be air conditioned in the interest of children’s learning, comfort and health.
In 2018, the NSW Government announced the $500 million Cooler Classrooms Fund in a bid to air condition classrooms in some of the state’s hottest areas.
The first round of funding resulted in 900 schools with a mean January temperature of 30 degrees receiving air conditioning.
It was recognition that climate control does have an impact on learning, with air conditioning contributing to better concentration, improved air quality and greater flexibility within the education environment.
Here’s how that works…
Studies consistently indicate that temperature plays a critical role in people’s ability to concentrate. Too hot and people become lethargic and distracted, too cold and fine motor skills can become affected.
In a classroom the maximum productive learning environment temperature is 28 considered degrees. Once the temperature exceeds that, the brain is so busy cooling down the body, it no longer has the ability to concentrate and take in new information. And that can be detrimental to learning.
School News explains: “…studies dating as far back as the 1930s have shown a link between classroom temperature and learning ability”.
Some of the most notable study findings are:
- heat stress dramatically lowers scores in intellectual and physical tasks (Taylor, H.L. and Orlansky, J. (1993).
- Reading comprehension declines when the ambient temperature of a room reaches 23 degrees Celsius. (Lackney, J. 1994)
- Math skills decline above 25 degrees Celsius. (Lackney, J. 1994)
- Classrooms kept between 20 and 23 degrees Celsius are the most comfortable for students. (Harner, D.P. (1974)
Australian teachers have long worked around the afternoon slump that comes with the high heats of a late summer’s day. On hot days teachers frequently schedule alternative activities or seek out cooler environments in which to teach for that period.
This not only disrupts the learning environment but can impact the content being taught, and it doesn’t have to be the case. In an air conditioned environment, teachers have greater flexibility in the activities they schedule. They can maintain a learning routine that meets both the curriculum and their students’ needs without interruption.
Air conditioning isn’t just about temperature, but also air quality, which has a major impact on health in both the short and long term. Air conditioning improves air quality by maintaining the right level of humidity, providing consistent and adequate ventilation, and filtering out allergens and pollutants.
Ultimately that offers a healthier learning environment, particularly for children prone to allergies and asthma.
If your school is investigating the option of classroom air conditioning, Climacool is available to assist.
Servicing the greater Sydney region, Climacool Air Conditioning prides itself on superior service and quality workmanship.
We work with the leading brands in the field of heating and cooling, and have an enviable reputation for meeting the needs of our valued commercial clientele in air conditioning installation, service, and repairs.
You can learn more about our commercial services here, or contact us directly for assistance in selecting, installing and maintaining the right air conditioning system for your business.