[Carbon] & [Particulate] of the Air In & Around Milestone School

Objective: To measure the CO2 levels  and particulate matter contained in the air in and around Milestone elementary and high schools.

Hypothesis:

IF we measure the carbon dioxide levels of the air in the shop, parking lot (car and bus), libraries, administrative offices, both gyms, computer labs and one classroom on each wing and side of each school THEN we will be able to compare the AQHI in each test site and find that Milestone School is on par with the average national carbon dioxide levels laid out in the Clean Air Act.

IF we measure the particulate matter levels of the air in the shop, parking lot (car and bus), swings at high school, playground at elementary school, libraries, administrative offices, both gyms, computer labs and one classroom on each wing and side of each school THEN we will be able to compare the AQHI in each test site and find that Milestone School is on par with the average national particulate levels laid out in the Clean Air Act.

Materials:

Method:

  1. Each ES20 team will divide and test the following areas: Groups
  2. Test each area three times over the course of three days in the same order each day and during the same class time.
  3. Test for 30 seconds each.  Record data on interface.
  4. After each test submit data to Logger Pro for analysis
  5. Research the Clean Air Act and AQHI for reference points to correlate data to.

Data: (see hyperlinks for graphs)

Carbon Dioxide Sensors were used to collect data from shop, parking lot (car and bus), libraries, administrative offices, both gyms, computer labs and one classroom on each wing and side of each school.  The following results were reported from the high school and elementary school.  Light sensors were used to collect data from the above areas as well as outside. The following results were reported from the high school and elementary school.

Discussion:

Carbon Dioxide Levels

Carbon Dioxide is the measurement of how much carbon is in a given area measured in ppm (parts per million).  Carbon Dioxide is an everyday component in people’s lives. We are breathing carbon dioxide in and out every second. It is a colourless, odourless and non-flammable gas produced by metabolic processes (such as respiration) and by combustion of fossil fuels. The average outdoor air concentration of CO2 is 350 to 450 ppm.  Indoor levels are usually higher, due to the CO2 exhaled by people in the building. Humans alone can metabolize CO2 levels that can exceed 3,000ppm, especially in poorly ventilated rooms.

Indoor appliances can also increase CO2 levels.

Increased CO2 levels can cause acidification of the blood with compensatory increase in rate of breathing. After constant exposure such as being exposed day after day, acid-base regulation can occur due to renal mechanisms which can affect calcium metabolism in bones.  

Slightly elevated levels of CO2 don’t pose a direct risk however if the carbon dioxide levels are over 1100 ppm better ventilation is ideal.  levels below 1000 ppm indicate that there is adequate air circulation for indoor environments. High indoor CO2 levels therefore may indicate that the air exchange rate is too low for the number of people in the room. School officials should look to increase ventilation by turning up mechanical ventilation systems or by opening windows.

We tested the carbon dioxide levels in 11 different classrooms on each side of each wing in the high school building. We tested each classroom three days in a row, at approximately the same time, in the same position of the room. Each day we tested, the amount of people in each room changed, we believe the change in patrons increased the levels of carbon dioxide.

Administrative Office

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 780 ppm which is adequate air circulation. When we were testing there was only four of us in the administrative office.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 1055 ppm which is an adequate air circulation. When we tested there was five of us in the administrative office.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 949 ppm which is adequate air circulation. When we tested there was six of us in the room.

In conclusion the administrative office in the high school has adequate air ventilation.

Art Room

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 1226 ppm which is just over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing half of Ms.D’s art class was in there.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 992 ppm which is an adequate air circulation level. Half of Ms. D’s art class was in there with us again.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 1220 ppm which again was just over the acceptable air circulation level but still an acceptable carbon level. Half of Ms. D’s art class was in there.

In conclusion the Art room is within acceptable carbon levels but doesn’t always have adequate air ventilation.

Computer Lab

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 1152 ppm which is just over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing the grade 7 class was in here.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 1148 ppm which is just over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing just the four of us were in here.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 1127 ppm which is just over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing just the four of us were in here.

In conclusion the computer lab for the most part has adequate air ventilation.

Grade 6 Room

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 1095 ppm this is just over acceptable air ventilation level, but is still acceptable. While we were testing it was a full class in the room.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 1180 ppm this is over the acceptable air circulation level but it is still acceptable. While testing the full class was present in the room.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 1255 ppm this over the acceptable air circulation level. This isn’t adequate air ventilation. While testing the full class was in the room.

In conclusion the grade 6 room is exceeding acceptable amount and would recommend better ventilation.

Grade 9 Room

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 1523 ppm which is over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing the grade 9 class was in there.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 1523 ppm which is over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing the grade 9 class was in there.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 1217 which is just over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing only half of the grade 9 class was in there.

In conclusion the grade 9 room doesn’t have appropriate air ventilation.

Grade 10 Room

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 992 ppm which is adequate air circulation. When we were testing there was only four of us in the grade 10 room.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 1089 ppm  which is just under adequate air circulation level. When we were testing there was only four of us in the grade 10 room.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 1198 ppm  which is just over the adequate air circulation level. When we were testing there was nine of us in the grade 10 room.

In conclusion the grade 10 room for the most part has adequate air ventilation.

Grade 12 Room

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 1442 ppm which is over the adequate air circulation limit but it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing there was only five of us in the room.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 1205 ppm which is just over the adequate air circulation limit but it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing there was only six of us in the room.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 1092 ppm which is just under the adequate air circulation limit. When we were testing there was only five of us in the room.

In conclusion the grade 12 room doesn’t have adequate air ventilation.

High School Gym

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 774 ppm which is a very good carbon dioxide level. The grade 5 class was in the gym while we were testing.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 705 ppm this is still an adequate level of carbon dioxide level. The grade 5 class was present in the gym while we were testing.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 961 ppm this is in the range of adequate carbon dioxide level. The grade 6 class was present in the gym while we were testing.

In conclusion the gym has a air ventilation and carbon dioxide levels are low.

Shop

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 824 ppm which is an adequate carbon dioxide level. There was 5 people in the shop while we were testing.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 914 ppm this is still an adequate level of carbon dioxide level. There was 4 people in the shop while we were testing.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 615 ppm this is a very good  carbon dioxide level. There was 5 people in the shop while we were testing.

In conclusion the shop has good ventilation while there is few people in the room.

Library

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 1158 ppm which is just over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing there was just the four of us in there.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 1217 ppm which is just over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing there was seven of us in there.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 1314  ppm which is over the acceptable air circulation level however it is still an acceptable carbon level. When we were testing there was four of us in there.

In conclusion the library doesn’t always have adequate air ventilation.

Senior Lunchroom

On day 1 the carbon dioxide level was 970 ppm which is adequate air circulation. When we were testing there was half the art class.

On day 2 the carbon dioxide level was 858 ppm which is adequate air circulation. When we were testing there was half the art class.

On day 3 the carbon dioxide level was 924 ppm which is adequate air circulation. When we were testing there was half the art class.

In conclusion the lunchroom has adequate air ventilation.

 

In conclusion the 11 classrooms we tested all have acceptable carbon dioxide levels but not all of the have adequate air ventilation. Here are our official results.

 

 

 

Elementary School

Though the averages do not show as much info as the graphs do. What we can conclude is the average that they have on just a regular basis within a week, a month, or even a year, but for us we tested in a 3 day cycle, and 30 second timing. The graph on a day to day basis shows us the amount of carbon dioxide that is present. Some days show higher levels of carbon dioxide, but they may differ because the amount of kids in the room.
We found that in the parking lot’s there wasn’t as much CO2 because of the tree’s. The levels would roam around 20 – 200 ppm. The reason why is because the trees absorb CO2 and release oxygen, thus allowing there to be lower levels of CO2. We as a group learned that in the day, trees absorb carbon dioxide, but as for night they release it.  Maybe if we tested at night we’d find a difference. It also depends on what time the vehicle’s leave the parking lot and how long that CO will remain there

As for the elementary. We found that in the Kindergarten the CO2 levels were higher then we expected. For the first day the Kindergarteners weren’t there, but the reasoning behind why the levels were so high was because another group who was testing Particulates around the school. That was our reasoning for the high levels of CO2 for when the Kindergarteners were absent. For Day 2 the kindergarteners were present which explains those levels. On Day 3 our group was the only one’s present the the Kindergartener room explaining why those levels were lower than the others.

Throughout our testing we’ve concluded that our Kindergartener room has the highest point of CO2 levels. What we do not get is how that much Carbon Dioxide can be created with only having a class size of 11. When we tested in the grade 4 room we found it lower, but they had a bigger class size. We believe that one of the factors that can come into play is the rooms have different ventilation which can modify the CO2 levels. We would like to test this every day for a month and see how they may change depending on the day, this isn’t just including the Elementary school, this includes the parking lots and the High school.

Here is a short article explaining the CO2 emission levels in our world today, and how they can affect us.

In conclusion we believe that our school environment has a stable CO2 levels. Even though the levels are higher than expected, it’s completely normal for schools to have these types of levels. We believe it can be different if it’s in a community centre, a house, a hockey rink, and etc..

Particulate Matter Levels

Particles may range from .005 micrometers to 100 micrometers in diameter. PM is a wide range of particles small enough to be carried through the air and inhaled by people. Smaller particles pose a bigger threat. Fine PM can be found outside and inside mainly in furnaces and uncovered air ducts. Long term PM levels above 2.5 exposure can be linked to cancer and other things such as low birth weight and infant mortality. Ways to prevent these infections include no smoking inside, removing mould and treating the moisture issue, making sure the fireplace doors are closed tightly and checking air and furnace filters.

Engineering Toolbox is a very good site where we found our charts from that were used as baseline data and comparison to our tested data.

Playground Analysis – According to the outdoor light levels, on an overcast day the recommended lux levels should be somewhere around 1075 lux. The day we recorded our data, it was a cold, windy, overcast day on the elementary playground and we received an average level of 8428.6 lux. This leads us to believe that there was something that there were too many outside factors preventing us from receiving more accurate data as the graphs just show a straight line for all 4 trials. Even after this fact, if this data is accurate, the PM in the air on the playground is much higher than anything considered normal but means that there was an unusual amount of light reaching the sensor at this time.

Computer/art room- Comparing our results to the same chart, when testing the air quality inside a well- lit room in which students are rarely in the room, the illuminance levels should be somewhere around 50-100 lux. After gathering and recording our data over 3 days into one graph, we see levels anywhere from 40 Lux to 107 Lux. This data is relatively average which is what we expected but the graphs were much less constant than the others which leads us to think that there could’ve been a problem that was interfering with the sensor.

Elementary Gym- While recording or data in the gymnasium, all trials were recorded in a consistent manner with all lights off with only the window allowing light into the room. We did this to see how much of a difference the lights in the school would make. Referring to our chart, the illuminance levels that are considered average range from 20-50 lux. Overall the levels we found are average with the lowest reading being just below 30 Lux and the highest being between 50 and 60 lux.

Elementary Office- When recording this data, on the first day we placed the sensor underneath one of the vents in the office. The reason for this being that the vents in this school are so dirty that this particular vent actually blows black residue out of the vent which has caused discolouration of the vent and the roof around it. On the third day we placed the sensor on a desk in the middle of the room. The recommended illuminance levels for a small room where office work and PC work takes place throughout the day quite frequently are around 250-500 lux. On the first day, we recorded extremely low levels of illuminance ranging from below 250 lux to 450 lux which indicates that there was a very high amount of PM in the air coming out of the vent. On the third day records showed a much more average reading with levels that ranged from above 500 Lux to 1700 lux. This indicates that much more light reached the sensor as less PM was obstructing the path.

Grade 4 room- when we were collecting data from this particular room, we had placed the sensor in two separate places in the classroom. On day one we placed the sensor underneath a vent that had black residue on it, and would eventually blow the substance around as the air came out of it. On the third day we placed the sensor on a table towards the back of classroom where sunlight was able to reach this destination a bit better than the first day. The recommended illuminance level for a frequently used classroom, is 200 lux. On the first day of testing the we saw that the PM was very low at a number of 50-100 lux. We concluded that the air vent with the black substance had a lot to do with this number because of the air that was blowing out of that particular vent.  On day three when we moved the sensor to the back of the room when we had a bit more sunlight, the results were a bit better with a result of 250-400 lux.. They were a bit higher than the other test, we think that this is due to the amount of sunlight that was exposed.

Kindergarten room– In this room, we again had the sensor in two different locations. We set up on in the centre of the room and one right in the window. On day one we had the sensor set up in the centre of the room in a desk. We kept the light off for this test just to see if it made any sort of difference in our results. Again the recommended illuminance level for a classroom is 200 lux. Our results for our first day came out higher with a reading of 350 lux we think this is due to the amount of lighting in the room. On the second day with the sensor being placed directly into the sunlight, we got a result of 100 lux, this did show up low we think due to the sunlight that was shining onto the sensor.

Elementary Library– In the library, we carried on with the two different locations; one near the door and one in the middle of the room. On our first test we had the lights on and the door shut as we proceeded with our lab.Again the right amount of illuminance is still 200 lux. Without first test we go a result of 400 lux which is high. This test was in the middle of the room on top of the book shelf, but a high number may have been due to the amount of people in the room as well. For our second test we had the sensor more towards the door on a table, we got a result of 90 lux. But we do believe that our sensor was not working at this time.

Particulate matter levels found outside of traditional classrooms varied according to they type of day, we also experienced difficulties with pulling the data off of our interface.

 

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