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Oct 15
Online ventilation database for all Surrey Schools sites

Ventilation - Surrey Schools.PNGSurrey Schools has launched an online database that offers the public details on ventilation systems at each site within the district.

"We recognize that indoor air alone will not stop the spread of COVID-19, but we also know that proper ventilation used with other infection control practices can help reduce the spread of the disease," says Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. "Details on what ventilation systems are in our schools is important to our families so we developed a tool for our school communities to easily access this information."

"All heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in our district are operated and maintained to their standards and specifications, so they continue to work properly and are consistent with Occupational Health and Safety and WorkSafeBC standards," says Larsen. "These systems are regularly inspected, and concerns from schools/sites are investigated by our Facilities department."

Where the equipment can accommodate, the district has upgraded filters in HVAC equipment to MERV-13s.  In those cases where the manufacturers specifications do not accommodate MERV-13, the district has installed the next highest filter that can be accommodated – either MERV-11s or MERV-8s.

Surrey Schools has also upgraded its building automation system by adding a dashboard to be able to quickly ascertain a problem with the HVAC system and respond in a timely fashion to address.

In addition, to optimize ventilation, the district has: 

  • Increased the volume/exchanges of fresh air being supplied into all buildings by expanding the 'occupied' hours by an additional 4 hours;
  • Reduced the CO2 set point from 1000 ppm to 800 ppm;
  • Increased the minimum outside air damper position from 10% to 25%;
  • Increased the gymnasium fan speeds to 100% during occupied hours.

 

The district is also changing filters at increased frequency (4 times a year) to ensure efficient operation.

To date in the 2021/22 school year, $674K has been invested in HVAC upgrades and $250K in MERV rated filter maintenance. This is in addition to operating costs.

The district also has an indoor air quality (IAQ) testing protocol. This has been in place for a number of years now (well before this pandemic). If and when a concern is brought forward from a school/site, the district's Health and Safety office investigates the concern and, if warranted, brings in an Environmental Consultant to run additional IAQ testing for that site. Upon receipt of these results, the Facilities department initiates any work required to address the concern.

For more information on ventilation in the district or to access the database, please visit the ventilation systems webpage.

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