On Friday morning, 5 November, the first ‘Clean Air School’ in the Netherlands was officially opened. The Pieter Wijtenschool in Waalwijk used to be one of the primary schools with the worst indoor air quality in the country. After a renovation and the utilisation of numerous new materials and technologies, this school is now one of the healthiest in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Asthma Foundation’s ‘Clean Air School’ campaign
The Pieter Wijtenschool is the first school in the Netherlands to earn the title ‘Clean Air School’ from the Dutch Asthma Foundation. This award is evidence that the school is seriously working on creating a healthy learning environment. Research has indicated that eight out of ten children in the Netherlands are in a dirty classroom. Special measures, such as installing newly developed ‘air cleaning’ carpet, can contribute to a substantial improvement of indoor air quality. According to the Asthma Foundation, the Pieter Wijtenschool has become an example for other schools in the Netherlands.
Important contribution in improving air quality in schools
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designed clear guidelines on air pollution from fine dust (indoors and outdoors), indicating that the presence of dust with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 μm or smaller (PM10) is damaging to your health. Particles of this size are able to penetrate deeply into the lungs and can cause serious health problems. Even more so if the particles are contaminated with bacteria, molds, pollen or allergens. Moreover, the dust can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious physiological problems (such as changing lung functioning or pneumonia) . Especially in children, exposure to fine dust can lead to fatigue, allergies, the development of asthma and reduced learning capabilities.
The Pieter Wijtenschool is the first ‘Clean Air School’ in the Netherlands in which the classrooms are outfitted with the ‘air cleaning’ AirMaster® carpet. This Dutch innovation was recognised as a ‘Good Industrial Design’ during the opening of Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven last month. It was designed by the carpet manufacturer Desso for use in schools, among other places. DESSO AirMaster® is eight times more effective in capturing and retaining fine dust than hard flooring and four times more effective than standard carpets (PM10). This data comes from the independent German testing institute GUI that specialises in analysing air quality of both indoor and outdoor spaces. Earlier research performed by GUI, commissioned by the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB) , already demonstrated that the harmful effects of fine dust were considerably smaller, if carpet was put down instead of hard flooring.
Simple removal of fine dust with a vacuum cleaner
Due to the fine yarn filaments used in the AirFiltersTM, AirMaster® is able to capture and retain very small dust particles; coarser particles are retained by the thicker yarn filaments of the DESSO DustCollectorsTM. The unique structure of AirMaster® ensures that dust does not become airborne again, but can be easily removed by a vacuum cleaner with a Hepa filter. All of this ensures a significant improvement of the indoor air quality in schools and healthcare facilities.
Alexander Collot d’Escury, CCO of Desso, considers this to be a milestone for educational institutions all around the world. ‘Healthy schools are crucially important for the health and educational success of our children. It is our job to ensure that children can learn in a healthy and pleasant environment. In addition to health issues, we have learnt from recent scientific research that clean air contributes to our children’s ability to concentrate and achieve more in school. The installation of AirMaster® carpet in the Pieter Wijtenschool is therefore an incredible example of how, together, we can provide the best for our children’s futures.’
The innovative DESSO AirMaster® carpet is the only existing product in the world that is certified with GUI’s golden logo. Desso sees many possible applications for this new product and wants to help numerous schools with fine dust problems drastically improve their indoor air quality.