- Friday, March 04, 2011. Building on the concept of Management By
Walking Around (MBWA) - in which managers ‘walk around’ workplaces, observe,
and talk with employees to foster better understanding, management and
process improvements - The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) recommends
walking around schools, observing conditions, talking with staff, and taking
simple measurements to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in existing schools as featured
in the one-hour presentation, “The Virtual School Walkthrough: Identifying and
Solving Common Indoor Air Quality Problems” produced by the non-profit
Northwest Clean Air Agency and available for viewing at http://www.nwcleanair.org/aqprograms/indoorAir.htm
or on DVD.
presentation is a practical gold mine of what to look for to improve indoor air
quality as you simply walk through school environments,” said Allen Rathey,
president of HFI. “It embraces the principles of IEHA’s Integrated Cleaning and
Measurement (ICM) program targeting continuous environmental improvement through
measurement involving simplified use of devices such as particle counters and
carbon dioxide detectors.”
The 58-minute presentation by Rich Prill of the
Washington State University Extension Energy Program, and Dave Blake of the
Northwest Clean Air Agency is aimed at promoting IAQ program development in
schools nationwide. Prill and Blake gave the original presentation at the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency’s IAQ Tools for Schools Symposium in
Washington, D.C., where it received highly positive evaluations. Below is
a summary of key points regarding the walk-through ‘philosophy’:
patience when seeking buy-in from administrators for IAQ program development.
Remember, they are just learning about this. Don’t burn any bridges.
are non-regulatory and should be non-threatening.
are a practical learning experience for staff that builds awareness, confidence
and skills – essential elements of a sustainable IAQ program.
send a positive message to staff and parents.
are an essential step to providing baseline information to shape IAQ program
content and priorities.
are not a science project – look for ‘good practices’ related to commonsense
benchmarks: dry, clean, comfortable, pollutants controlled, adequate
taken must yield useful information – or don’t bother.
measurements are taken, post results for staff right away. No secrets.
out potential problems, but don’t overreact or be alarmist (“It’s not a problem
unless it’s a problem”).
a post-walk-through debriefing: Review and build on existing ‘good practices’
to create an IAQ program for the school.
achievable IAQ program elements to address issues.
continued support to school personnel.
tool can be used by facilities and cleaning professionals to improve all facets
of operations and cleaning related to IAQ,” said Rathey. “It is highly
recommended.” HFI will be promoting the DVD and concept on its website at www.healthyfacilities.com.