Unhealthy Air in Schools: Building Materials Play a Role
Many children are being subjected to indoor air quality problems in their schools. Oftentimes, these problems can be attributed to the materials used in constructing the schools, many of which provide a food source for mold. Even with the best building design, moisture likely will be present in all schools at some point, so the choice in building materials is critical to reducing or eliminating the amount of damage caused by mold. A new video produced by the National Concrete Masonry Association titled "Building Smarter Schools: Are You Making an Educated Investment?" calls attention to the issue of mold in school buildings and its cost to communities. "In our area of Texas, there is an 18-month-old school that is abandoned and full of mold," said Chris Huckabee, chief executive officer of the architecture firm Huckabee & Associates and a frequent lecturer on high-performance school design. "This is obviously not popular with the taxpayers or the school administrators.
" The video showcases schools across North America in which masonry construction was the solution to serious mold problems. Huckabee notes that all of the schools that his company has built -more than 1,000 - were built with masonry because mold will not damage it. "Schools are landmarks in the community and we want them to stand the test of time," said Huckabee, who is featured in the video, along with school architects, a school superintendent and a facilities director for a large school division. All favor the use of concrete masonry in school construction because it is resistant to mold, wind and fire, durable, energy-efficient and easy to maintain.