at Rock Point School

Science in Action

Posted by Mari Dalton | December 16, 2020

Airflow Testing, COVID Protocols, and Energy Efficiency


This fall, Rock Point School embarked on a project to evaluate the airflow in the school building. In this time of COVID-19, understanding the density of occupants in an area, how big our shared spaces really are, and how often the air in a room is replaced can be important for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in aerosols. It can also help us make the best choices for keeping our school well-ventilated and warm at the same time. Luckily, our school is filled with budding scientists and mathematicians who can appreciate the collection of this data!

With the help of funding from Efficiency Vermont, we were able to enlist the services of CX Associates to consult and perform airflow testing. This group surveyed the building to understand our complicated vent system, and at the end of October, they took airflow measurements from our vents and from inside our air ducts. With this information, they calculated the airflow rates in all of our shared spaces and compared this to ventilation guidelines.

CX Associates generously shared explanations of their tools, methodology, and history with our students. Our science classes were able to see engineering and scientific problem-solving in action. Our math students participated in estimating room areas. As several classes this fall have been working on transforming units of measurement -- from area to volume to flow rates -- this real-life example of our studies has been an unexpected gift.

The airflow testing results were revealing -- we learned that the overall outside air flow rate into our school is appropriate, which spaces are best for groups, and some mechanical fixes that can help us use more areas effectively. In addition, we now have guidance on how to heat our school and reduce outside drafts safely. Best of all, our students can understand what information helped produce these recommendations, how this data was collected, and what drives these best practices for Rock Point School.

Topics: academics