ASHRAE is conducting research to determine whether IAQ conditions in classrooms are negatively impacting children's health and their performance in school. Upper respiratory tract infections account for most short-term absenteeism in schools, while allergy, asthma and symptoms of sick building syndrome contribute to longer absences. Absenteeism clearly affects school performance. Appropriate classroom design and operation can reduce symptom severity and incidence of complaints among children, according to published data. ASHRAE approved funding totaling $986,953 for eight research projects in the areas of IAQ, comfort and health, energy conservation, operating and maintenance tools, environmentally safe materials, and design tools at its 2003 Annual Meeting.

Among them is 1257-TRP, Indoor Environmental Effects on the Performance of School Work by Children. The principal investigators are Wyon and Pawel Wargocki, Ph.D., Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark. The project is expected to take two years with ASHRAE contributing $195,000. It is sponsored by ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.1, Physiology and Human Environment.