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New schools 'put children to sleep'

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A new study says environmentally friendly schools are creating high levels of CO2 in classrooms causing pupils to feel drowsy

Schools constructed under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative have been found to have poor ventilation and increased air-tightness. This leads to a build-up of CO2 in classrooms, causing pupils to feel drowsy and affecting their learning performance.

Dr Dejan Mumovic, lecturer in Environmental Design and Engineering at the Bartlett, UCL conducted the research. Speaking the Times Education Supplement, he said, ‘We monitored 10 schools that were built 50 years ago and nine schools built under the Building Schools for the Future programme and found nothing had changed – the ventilation rates were equally appalling.’

Mumovic went on to say that ‘the Government has rushed its sustainable schools programme’.

The Government’s aim for all new schools to be zero-carbon from 2016 has lead to increased concentration on heat loss and a move towards natural ventilation systems.

A separate study by Professor Derek Clements-Croome at Reading University looked at primary schools built in the last 10 years, finding ‘there was no doubt that higher CO2 levels had an effect’.

Professor Clements-Croome said ‘once higher C02 levels are breathed in it gets into the blood and goes to the brain. We would say managing the CO2 levels is equally important as termperature levels to get right in buildings.’

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