Leaking, mouldy classrooms are just the symptom

Leaking, mouldy classrooms are just the symptom

Mould can make kids sick, that’s the key takeaway here. It gets worse the more mould there is and the more time they are exposed to it. Kids are required to spend heaps of time in school. We need to fix their exposure to things that can make them sick—lifelong sick. The Ministry of Education has a huge challenge given the number of leaky school buildings. Take it as a reliable rule of thumb that leaks mean damp and damp means mould.

Yes, leaks must be fixed (better we design them better so leaks don’t occur, rather than fix them afterwards). But classrooms also need ventilation and heating (at the same time) if we genuinely want a healthy learning environment. I am sadly aware of the size of the cultural shift required.

I think it’s a universal question among immigrants from the Northern Hemisphere: why do New Zealanders put up with cold, damp buildings? The editor of my book Passive House for New Zealand put that question to a range of thoughtful people and found some answers: see pp 9-10.

—19 February 2020

 

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