Derek G. Shendell
To whom it may concern:
I am a young scientist and public health professional in the field of children's environmental health working and training in California. My interests, however, have included urban areas in the United States and Latin America witnessing substantial population growth and migration to those cities, respectively. My dissertation for a multidisciplinary professional-track doctoral program at the UCLA School of Public Health concerns school indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of California public school classrooms, especially portable classrooms. The three projects included in the dissertation conducted quantitative measurements of toxic and odorous volatile organic compounds, thermal comfort parameters, and/or air exchange or effective ventilation rates. In addition, qualitative surveys and interview questionnaires were developed and conducted to assess potential indoor and outdoor pollution sources, moisture damage and mold growth, energy use, and custodian knowledge of HVAC operation and maintenance (O&M). Lessons learned have been shared with researchers in agencies and universities in California and Texas.
These projects, and others I work on at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Indoor Environment Department, address linking energy efficiency and IEQ parameters or the impact of local traffic from freeways on ambient and thus indoor air quality at schools. I constructed the annotated bibliography to be presented by Claire Barnett of the Healthy Schools Network, Inc. (Albany, NY). This document included papers and presentations from recent international conferences on school IEQ and health as well as three final LBNL reports on our relocatable classrooms study; copies can be available upon request.
Nevertheless, overall and especially in the United States, data on school IEQ and environmental health, including "best practices" for designs and O&M, are limited. Therefore, research and demonstrations projects in different geographical areas/climate zones should be conducted on:
1.) Energy efficiency and IEQ linkages through adequate and/or improved ventilation and environmentally-friendly building designs, e.g., interior finish materials and furnishings;
2.) IEQ in relation to health, attendance, and productivity of teachers and students.
Without a doubt, public school populations will continue to increase across the United States, intensifying the need for clean, comfortable, and environmentally-friendly school facilities, new or modernized, and proper O&M practices. The importance of energy efficient classrooms with low-emitting construction, interior finish, furnishing, teaching and cleaning materials is evident. Congress should fund the Healthy and High Performance Schools program.
Derek G. Shendell, MPH
D.Env. candidate, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Senior Research Associate, LBNL (IED/EETD), Berkeley, CA
NOTE: Thoughts contained in this email belong solely to the author and should not be interpreted as those of the university or of the national laboratory he is affiliated with.