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Posted by Dustin Rodgers on May 30, 2023 at 9:00 AM

Exploring the Benefits of Displacement Ventilation in Schools

For years, studies have linked healthy environments in schools with improved educational outcomes for students. We’ve seen that indoor air quality has a major impact on health, performance and attendance and that quiet classrooms improve academic performance, reduce stress and encourage better behavior.

A teacher sits in front of a group of young students sitting on the floor
A teacher instructs his students while a Displacement Flow Recessed Diffuser, installed discreetly beneath the cabinet, conditions the classroom without taking up floor space

Students simply learn better in healthy environments, but balancing project pressures and budgetary constraints in the early stages of a new build sometimes takes precedence over selecting what could be a fundamentally better design choice for the project.

Unlike in decades past, today there exists a wide variety of air distribution technologies that provide substantial benefits to school systems. Existing schools can, with modest investments, upgrade their systems to enjoy significant health benefits and cost savings, and new schools have an almost endless number of choices before they even begin construction.

First among these choices is displacement ventilation (DV). DV is an integrated, “whole building” approach to indoor air distribution. It must be accounted for during the early stages of the architectural process, but doing so ensures schools gain improved air quality and reduced noise and many other benefits as well.

A school classroom with Displacement Flow In-Wall Diffuser
Price’s Displacement Flow In-Wall Diffuser fits within a wall opening and operates quietly in the background

DV works by supplying air into the occupied zone at low levels, usually along the floor. When the supply air meets a heat source, such as a student or teacher, it moves up through the space into the unoccupied zone above. This approach greatly reduces the air mixing that occurs in indoor spaces where traditional HVAC systems are used and helps ensure airborne particulates are shepherded away from the breathing area.

The underlying principles of DV also mean these systems ask very little of their owners and operators. Because supply air travels at slower speeds as it naturally moves through a room, DV needs no moving parts or built-in fans. This creates quieter learning environments for occupants and an energy savings on operation costs. DV systems also use much less ducting and require much less cleaning and maintenance when compared to standard refrigerant systems.

Not to be overlooked is thermal comfort, one of the most noticeable benefits inherent with DV systems. Everyone has felt the temperature disparity that can come with traditional HVAC systems, where the fast-moving supply air is cooler than it would be under DV. Those nearest to the supply duct receive the coldest air, while those farther away do not. No matter the occupants’ thermal preference, this single-room disparity is undesirable and difficult to fix, but DV ensures a consistent temperature throughout the space.

Website page for displacement ventilation in schools
Click here to visit our new website dedicate to DV applications in schools

To learn more about this technology and how you can use it in an upcoming build, visit our new website dedicated to DV applications in schools, where you can find data, testimonials, videos and much more on displacement ventilation – the superior choice for indoor air distribution in learning environments.

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Topics: Acoustics, Displacement, Thermal Comfort, HVAC Fundamentals, HVAC, Engineering, Design Engineering, ASHRAE 62

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