Summertime classes present potential obstacles for educators over and above waning student attention spans. The season's rising temperatures can create a serious impediment for students and teachers alike as they struggle to stay focused through increasingly hot and sweaty days. Students who are overheated or dehydrated are much more prone to distraction and loss of focus, and academic performance can take a hit if buildings aren't properly maintained to manage the heat.
Some of the things that can be done to keep the heat at bay are fairly simple structural fixes. For example, The Boston Globe recommended keeping window shades drawn during evenings, weekends and other periods when the building isn't being used can cool schools by keeping them from baking in the window-amplified sun for hours or days at a time.
Additionally, windows in poor condition can create significant headaches for the Facilities Team both in heat management and energy efficiency. Older windows tend to be less energy efficient, meaning that they aren't as effective at keeping cool air in and hot, stifling air out. Inspect your school's windows to gauge their energy efficiency and replace older models with newer, Energy STAR-certified ones, or provide tinted window film if your district's capital and planned maintenance plan doesn't cover a full replacement.
Another structural opportunity for keeping the heat out sits right over your head. Maintenance teams should be keeping on top of roof repairs and conducting regular preventive maintenance, but the summertime provides extra incentive to make sure that roofs are properly sealed and insulated. Some schools and facilities have installed rooftop gardens to assist with building insulation. According to Scientific American, these structures are a green and eco-friendly way to keep buildings cool by absorbing extra heat.
Give your AC a tune-up
Some older buildings may not have air conditioning systems. Administrators who do, however, should make energy efficiency a main focus of preventive and in the summer. Summer creates a unique challenge in the form of a balancing act between cool schools and low utility bills. Fortunately, many building automation services and CMMS provide utility tracking built-in as a way to keep on top of your school's energy consumption. That way, it's possible to determine if your HVAC system needs maintenance, or even if you need to look into updating your air conditioning to a newer, more energy efficient model.