Protecting Schools and Children During the Haze

发表于 十二月 16, 2019
by Misha Ma

Shanghai is suffering heavy pollution recently. According to U.S.Consulate data, the concentration of PM2.5 has reached to 219 ug/m³, which is 6.4 times of EPA standard (35ug/m³).


Ministry of Ecological Environment of the People's Republic of China


                                                                                                                From: the official website of ministry of ecological environment

At present, the average PM2.5 concentration in the beijing-tianjin-hebei region is about twice as high as in other seasons during the autumn and winter, and the number of days with heavy pollution accounts for more than 90% of the whole year. The migration of northern winds also affected cities in the south.

                                                                    Ministry of ecology and environment forecast:

                                                                                         Haze of 2019-2020,

                                                                           Long duration and wide coverage

                                                                                     From: <The Beijing News>

Why is indoor air quality such an issue in China?
  • Lagging regulatory enforcement and lack of mandatory disclosure
  • High levels of outdoor pollution infiltrate into indoors
  • Frequent renovations + poor materials = bad air quality 
  • We spend up to 90% of our lives indoors.  But indoor air is typically 5-10x more polluted than the outdoors
  • Children are an at-risk group
  • Misinformation about what solutions really work 
School administrators face new challenges today
  • Can I recruit more new students and teachers by promising cleaner air? 
  • How do I respond to concerned parents?
  • Buy 100 air purifiers? Install filters in the HVAC system? Build a dome?
  • When should we let kids play outdoors?
  • What building materials and design choices will give usa healthier school?
  • How do I get my staff to keep the windows shut?

Parents and staff expect a safe environment in campus

  • Nearly 90% of international schools in China are “willing to pay for a healthy and safe environment”
  • “Parents with means are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems” 
                                                                                                                               – NY Times, 4/22/13
  • “A lot of people, particularly families with small children who have been here a few years, are reconsidering the cost-benefit equation and deciding to leave for health reasons.”  (Santa Fe Relocation)
Best practices of managing IAQ in Schools
Managing IAQ in schools presents unique challenges. Unlike managing other buildings, managing schools brings the added responsibility of managing public funds as well as ensuring children’s safety is regarded as top priority. In addition, schools are more densely populated compared to many other buildings. Typical schools have approximately four times as many occupants as an office building within the same amount of floor space. Schools have a larger number of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment, which makes it very challenging and difficult to install filtration systems to existing facilities and the ongoing maintenance puts a huge strain on school maintenance staff.

If it is possible, PureLiving recommends schools take managing IAQ into consideration at the design stage of a campus. However, upgrading or installing filtration systems within existing buildings are not impossible. From our experience, here are the best practices of managing IAQ in schools:

PureLiving has helped more than half of the international schools in Shanghai and Beijing to manage their IAQ and provide healthy and clean air for students and staffs.

Case Study:

                                                                        Shanghai Community International School

Client: Shanghai Community International School (SCIS)

Problem: Indoor Air Quality 

Solution: PureQi Air filtration units, upgrading fresh air systems with PM2.5 filtration


Project Background

Since 2012, SCIS has been engaged in a long term partnership with PureLiving to assess, fix and maintain a superior level of indoor air quality. Responding to parents’ concerns about indoor air pollution in China SCIS actively engaged the community to help parents and faculty understand the solution timeline. Acomprehensive testing was completed of all campuses to build a picture of the current state of the IAQ.  Based on the findings, a comprehensive air filtration solution was implemented to create a long lasting healthy indoor environment. 

Project Goals 

PureLiving was tasked to provide a deliverable solution that met the following criteria: 

  • To be non-visible and not intrude on classroom space 

  • Met or exceeded US EPA  standard for healthy air: <35ug/m3 

  • Real time monitoring of PM2.5, TVOC, CO2, temp and RH

  • Online dashboard for easy data access to staff and parents

  • Intelligent control provided through PureLiving’s ECS

  • To provide total coverage to all areas of the school, including gyms and libraries 

The Solution
1. Conducted full indoor environmental assessment across all five campuses as part of an overall “health check”, including air, water, lead, mold, and allergens.  Included was a comparison of indoor and outdoor measurements to determine what level of protection the building is providing against outdoor PM pollution.   
2. Town hall meetings were held at each campus to explain the results of the testing and help answer parents and faculty questions. Widespread misinformation about indoor air quality and best practices was corrected. 
3. A comprehensive air filtration solution was designed, comprised of PureQi recirculating purifiers, upgrades to the existing room air conditioners, and central HVAC filtration on the fresh air system.  All campuses were retrofitted before the end of 2013.  When the semester started students and faulty were able to enjoy indoor air quality that exceeded the US EPA standard  of <35ug/m3   

4. Continuing SCIS’s commitment to indoor air quality, the school has purchased indoor air quality monitors which relay real-time air quality measurements and are looking to further roll out filtration strategy’s to the schools’ bus fleet. In development is an outdoor monitoring station which will be able to feed accurate levels of outdoor PM2.5 at the campus site.

Project Results 

In less than 30 minutes the units were able to reduce levels of PM2.5 by as much as 94% at the filter outlet, 81% in ambient classroom space. Throughout the school campuses the PureQi is installed in all essential student areas. In areas where PureQi installation was not applicable, filtration was retrofitted into the existing fresh air system to reduce PM2.5 pollution from entering the building. Altogether, by providing a combination of PureQifiltration and filtration to existing systems, SCIS has achieved a safe and healthy indoor environment.

PureLiving has continued to provide indoor air quality consultancy services to SCIS offering community talks, staff training, discounted air and water filters for SCIS members, air quality policy guidance, and technology assessments. With a constant turnover of students, families and faculty, SCIS enjoys a long term partner in providing.


Client Quote   
“PureLiving was organized, efficient and professional… in ensuring our students and their schools are safer and healthier places to learn.”          
                                                                                           -Jeffry Stubbs, Superintendent, Shanghai Community International School


More school clients:

Client Quote   

“Your work is fast, efficient, and cost-effective. All in all, our whole school community feels…that we are in Pureliving’s capable hands.”

                                                                                                       -Tom Kline, Director, Western International School of Shanghai 

Client Quote   

“When looking at all the options, we choose this path as it provided the right balance of urgency and effectiveness, and PureLiving has a successful track record within other schools..”

                                                                                                                                                                -Gregg Pinick, Head of School


What PureLiving can provide to schools


Recirculating Air Filtration System forClassroom and Canteen

  • Modular HVAC independent filtration solution with H13 true HEPA filter

  • Advanced activated carbon filter of PCCN, proven to be highly effective to for maldehyde.  Reduce TVOC level and eliminate odorand chemicals post-construction - OPTIONAL

  • Custom design suited to specific locations and installed into celling space

  • Low noise filtration solution with silencer plenum meeting the GB target of<45db

  • High performance automated system

  • Automatic on/off and IAQ data driven control


ECS Advanced Air Quality Control

  • Manage system performance across entire portfolio

  • Automate operations with real time monitors and sensors

  • Access information anytime, anywhere through an easy to use web-based dashboard

  • Simplified and scalable open architecture for a future-proof investment



(IAQ Monitor & Online Data Management)

Real-time in-duct & ambient air IAQ monitor that measures PM2.5, TVOC, CO2, RH and Temp

  • GradeB (Commercial Building Grade) as per IAQ RESET Certification

  • Web-based dashboard

  • Validates system performance and allows for continuous improvement

  • Alerts when air becomes unhealthy  based on set threshold

  • Notifies if filter needs to be changed out of schedule


Indoor Air Quality Data Platform

  • Early warning, customized alerts and notification

  • Mobile app and Web app (browser)

  • Graph data (up to 1 week at mobile APP & 6 months for Web APP)

  • Selected parameters to display


Our mission is to provide healthy indoor environments with peace of mind for people, which means health can be as easy as calling PureLiving, and no more to worry about.



About PureLiving

PureLiving is a leading indoor environmental consulting company with a simple mission: to help our clients create healthy homes and workplaces. Our expert team of building engineers, HVAC specialists, and environmental consultants advises clients on air and water quality, mold, asbestos and lead exposure issues and helps to improve their indoor environmental quality through testing to identify sources of pollution and then eliminating them. Our total range of solutions includes pollutant testing, design and installation of cutting-edge filtration systems, monitoring, and odor and chemical reduction.

With operations in eight cities across China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore, PureLiving is the industry’s provider of choice for assessment, engineering, implementation, and monitoring of indoor environmental quality. Find out more at