School buildings are one of the most commonly occupied building types for children, second only to their homes. Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is an ongoing issue in schools, especially in urban environments where students are exposed to higher levels of outdoor pollutants. To examine this issue, five elementary school buildings located in a major city on the East Coast of the United States were selected for one-week of quantitative IEQ measurements, with a satisfaction survey collected from teachers at the selected schools. The schools included three high-performance schools, one recently renovated school, and one conventional school. Despite building designers and operators following the recommendations of current high-performance design standards, the three high-performance school buildings did not have measurably better IEQ than the renovated and conventional school buildings, nor were they perceived as better based on the satisfaction survey. This indicates that current high-performance design standards may not place enough emphasis on reducing health-related pollutants in urban schools.
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