A weather thermometer on a small globe

Lack of Air Conditioning in Schools Is Causing Problems

With climate change increasing temperatures, summer weather is extending further into the school year. As a result, many northern schools are having to cancel classes — not due to the typical snow day, but due to heat days.

Most schools in the northern part of the U.S. and Canada have heat, due to colder months making up most of the school year; however, air conditioning has long been a luxury that many of these schools have been able to go without until now.

Outside of older school in New York with a small school bus in front of it

Issues with Implementing School Air Conditioning

Now that we’re seeing an influx of schools closing due to heat, it brings up the issue: why haven’t these buildings already implemented air conditioning?

Not only do many budgets not account for A/C systems, but many older buildings are not designed for it. Even if they already have a forced-air unit in place, the ductwork and electrical often must be updated to prepare for air conditioning. Of course, many of these buildings use boiler heat, meaning they don’t even have the ductwork available for A/C.

Even with ductwork in place and potential available funding, because this would be a new item to fund, many school boards don’t understand how to budget for new systems and the yearly maintenance that come along with them. There’s also the issue of noise, which was a previous concern for many institutions.

Why Air Conditioning in Schools is Beneficial

Studies have shown that comfort and IAQ affect test scores and student productivity. According to the EPA, “Children in classrooms with high outdoor air ventilation rates tend to achieve higher scores on standardized tests in math and reading than children in poorly ventilated classrooms.” When schools use boilers as a primary heating source, they deal with decarbonization. Rather than replace the boiler with a more efficient version or switch to methanol or ethanol, it’s easier to start implementing self-contained systems like the Changeair units from Systemair.

Parents also have a voice in many school districts, demanding the addition of air conditioning in their schools. In one case, New York City passed a mandate around school air conditioning due to parental pressure. So not only are there beneficial incentives to adding air conditioning to the classroom environment, but some schools are now required to do so.

Systemair’s Solutions to the Issue

When it comes to education applications, Systemair offers several solutions:


While typically used for ventilation rather than heating or cooling, these units have coils to pre-treat air coming into the classroom.

Interested in learning how other schools are using Systemair products to solve their ongoing problems? See what Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School in Pittsburgh did with Changeair systems.

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