Higher education institutions must continually adapt to the changing demands of their student population and create optimal learning environments. The rise in IoT and PropTech software solutions provides the opportunity to take advantage of emerging technologies.
Universities are transient hubs where space utilisation changes regularly. Even in Universities which have become remote first, the real estate portfolio sees constant space utilisation changes. In spaces where the number of students and staff changes often or in spaces with low capacity utilisation it can be difficult to ensure energy efficiency when it comes to ensuring adequate indoor air quality and thermal comfort. Both have a significant impact on student performance.
An effective way for universities to ensure optimal indoor air quality and thermal comfort whilst reducing energy waste is by utilising software to optimise their HVAC system. This move has been proven to benefit both students’ academic success as well as overall operational costs, rankings, and funding opportunities. In this blog post, we explore how investing in a smart university HVAC could bring substantial returns while setting up your institution for continued success.
Upgrading HVAC Systems can lead to better student performance
Poor air quality can cause students to experience fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating—all of which can impede their academic performance. Research has shown a direct connection between air quality and student health and well-being.
Sefi Roth of the London School of Economics discovered that test scores can drastically improve when taken in a filtered versus unfiltered environment. His research uncovered an astounding 0.09 standard deviation increase when students took exams under cleaner air conditions. This proves that indoor quality will improve cognitive performance.
Additionally, the findings of a study conducted in the United States in 2015 on the causal effects of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) renovations on academic outcomes were particularly illuminating. Despite no correlation between IAQ improvements and student attendance, it was determined that performance on standardised tests increased significantly. Investing in software-based smart HVAC can be significantly more cost-effective than reducing class sizes when it comes to improving student performance. Software has made upgrading an old HVAC system into a smart energy efficient one, much more affordable than costly hardware upgrades.
A comprehensive study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has also given us cause for concern. After examining 20,000 people across China, it was determined that increased exposure to air pollution impacted language and arithmetic test scores. In fact, the impact was so great that it was equal to that of missing out on a year’s worth of education.
On the other hand, smart HVAC systems help improve air quality in classrooms, and libraries which leads to improved student performance. Furthermore, improved air quality helps reduce the spread of germs which leads to fewer absences. The takeaway here is clear—investing in the tools that can turn your system into a smart HVAC can lead to better grades for students.
Increased Funding Opportunities
Universities can benefit from smart HVAC systems for improved student performance and conditions. Smart solutions give future generations of learners the chance at success, ensuring a comfortable learning environment for maximised productivity.
In addition to providing upgraded learning facilities, universities that have progressed to a smart HVAC system are reporting increased financial resources. Smart HVACs lead to energy savings and mean that the budget can be reinvested into additional facilities or operational activities.
Additional available funds can also provide universities with higher budgets applied towards research, faculty, educational programming and student services. All of which can help drive more admissions, future funding and grants.
By embracing technological advancements universities can give potential donors the reassurance that their contributions will be used to build a better and more progressive institution. By reducing their energy waste and becoming more sustainable, colleges can attract larger donations. Learning facilities now have the chance to take advantage of extra possibilities for expansion and growth initiatives. In the future, this will become less of a competitive advantage as it will become the bare minimum expectation. Institutions that move first have an advantage now. The later this is addressed the further behind an institution will fall missing out on future funding opportunities.
Investing in smart HVAC solutions is an effective way of unlocking these opportunities.
Improve university rankings
When it comes to universities striving for higher rankings, indoor air quality often goes overlooked. Universities seeking to climb higher in the rankings should consider the potential impacts of indoor air quality. By upgrading these interconnected parts of university infrastructure, universities have an excellent opportunity to improve their institution’s ranking.
Poor indoor air quality in educational institutions has been linked to higher rates of health problems among both students and instructors. Additionally, ineffective ventilation systems may lead to increased absenteeism and decreased academic performance and impede the success of an institution. Therefore, improving ventilation systems for enhanced climate control becomes especially critical for institutions to consider when wanting a higher rank. The goal of improved energy efficiency – combined with improved air quality – creates a space conducive to better overall well-being for all individuals on campus, leading to a healthier learning place.
The key to ensuring a healthier environment for students and staff to exceed is real-time improvements that take into account the continuously changing use of space. In theory, IAQ can be improved in under 5 minutes, even in the most unfavourable conditions. If IAQ can be brought back to acceptable levels in under 5 minutes then the importance of a dynamic HVAC system which is proactive cannot be understated in the difference it can make.
Investing in indoor air quality upgrades is a step towards lasting progress in student wellness and sustainability. This has the potential to bring universities higher in rankings due to its impact from both a physical and mental perspective.
Universities that are looking for ways to improve their rankings may have been surprised that indoor air quality improvements can support them in achieving better rankings through improved student performance, marketing potential and retention of teaching staff.
Investing in a smart HVAC for Universities makes systems more dynamic to real-time changing space utilisation, and can provide more than just improved indoor air quality. It is an investment that yields long-term returns for universities. Students can make significant improvements to their performance, which in turn could increase the ranking of their institution. Upgrading your environment offers not only the potential for more immediate funding, but will also provide a continuous stream of support far into the future. Taking care to create comfortable and pleasant indoor spaces positions us to reap rewards far beyond the present moment. Setting up present conditions for optimal results down the line benefits not only us in the here and now, but future generations as well. By opting to prioritise environmental upkeep today, we can ensure sustained gains well into the future.
If you are looking for a cost-effective way to improve returns from your HVAC system and enjoy the benefits associated with enhanced student performance and rankings, book a call with the Incube Space team below.
Our CubeOS platform utilises machine learning to provide predictive analytics and a demand control ventilation system that ensures optimal indoor air quality for your students and staff in real-time – ensuring they have the best possible chance to succeed.