Air quality in schools is unsatisfactory in many places

Written by: Māja elpo



Time to read 3 min

It's no secret that poor air quality is a problem in many Latvian schools. Being in poorly ventilated rooms with elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) has a negative impact on pupils' learning and can also lead to health problems. That is why the installation of CO2 air quality monitors in all Latvian schools was completed in 2022.

The situation is being monitored

The initiative of the Ministry of Education and Science to install air quality monitors was in fact the first step to start taking stock of the situation. It was undoubtedly a worthwhile exercise which led to tangible results. As announced by the Ministry of Education and Science after the initiative, air quality monitors have been installed in all general and special education institutions established by the State and municipalities, as well as in vocational education institutions, according to the number of class sets and teaching groups. In total, some 14 000 sensors have been installed in schools, and around 1 000 have been installed in municipal social care centres, with €4.3 million allocated from the national budget. Under the agreement, the air quality monitors were installed by Moduls Engineering. Although not installed in all classrooms, the CO2 air quality meters are generally able to give a sufficiently objective picture and encourage greater attention to classroom air quality. The biggest benefit of this exercise will be the comprehensive data on air quality problems in all schools in Latvia.

Air quality monitor in schools


All information available online


Sensor data on air quality in classrooms is publicly available on from 1 June 2022, not only for the Ministry of Education and Science and educational institutions, but also for anyone interested.  The data reflect the air quality at any given moment in any school and classroom where a sensor is installed. The measurements can be found on the portal by the name of the educational establishment, its buildings and rooms, as defined by the representatives of the educational establishment itself. The portal also allows the data for a given room to be viewed over a time interval, giving an overview of the air quality in the room and comparing it with the occupancy design and the ventilation algorithm. The portal shows not only the CO2 level in the room, but also the air temperature and relative humidity. These parameters need to be considered in their totality, as they all contribute to the overall indoor air quality. And the information shows that almost a third of the classrooms monitored have poor air quality. This is according to the Health Inspectorate's 'Study on the quality and safety of the environment in educational establishments'.

Cause of problems - inadequate ventilation


The two main causes of the problem are either that the premises in question did not have ventilation in the past, or that the existing air exchange system is outdated and therefore no longer able to perform its full function (or is not working). One of the main reasons for not using ventilation may be energy efficiency that does not meet modern requirements, as inadequate ventilation in the cold season could lead to excess cooling. Large, outdated central air handling units are unable to operate at high efficiency and no longer meet modern energy efficiency requirements. Therefore, to prevent unnecessary heat loss and to save on heating bills, such equipment is often no longer switched on.

How to keep warm and ensure good air quality?


The simplest way to improve the air quality in classrooms when central ventilation is not working is to ventilate the rooms regularly during breaks. However, this releases heat to the outside and does not actually save any heating costs, as ventilation inevitably leads to a drop in temperature, especially in winter. In cold weather this is particularly noticeable, and it takes not only additional heating costs but also time to bring the room back up to the desired temperature. 
Therefore, in order to avoid air quality or heat loss problems, it is worth considering the use of a ventilation system capable of returning at least part of the heat to the room. This means using modern ventilation equipment with a high heat recovery coefficient, which can be installed individually in each classroom. Modern technology offers a variety of efficient solutions and in each case it will be possible to find the most suitable ventilation equipment. 



HELTY Heat recovery units and systems

HELTY is an innovative Italian company with 40 years of experience, specialised in the development of innovative solutions for intelligent heat recovery and indoor comfort with air filtration.


HELTY offers both individual recuperation units and recuperation systems whose main objective is to ensure an efficient exchange of indoor air while maintaining the current indoor temperature, thus preventing humidity, mould and airlessness.


If you want to know the solution for your space, select one of the buttons below - 
"Find out your solution" or "Call us".