Is Your School A Breath Of Fresh Air?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools (TfS) Program in 1995 to reduce exposures to indoor environmental contaminants in schools through the voluntary adoption of sound IAQ management practices. This program provides IAQ guidance and resources for facility managers and others who work in K-12 public and private schools.
The IAQ TfS Awards Program was initiated to recognize schools and school districts that have demonstrated a strong commitment to improving children’s health by promoting IAQ practices. For those schools and districts just beginning to implement IAQ management plans to those who have mature, sustainable, district-wide IAQ programs, EPA provides a series of national level awards.
Up until this year, the Awards Program featured four types of awards: National Great Start Award; National Leadership Award; National Excellence Award; and National Model of Sustained Excellence Award. Additionally, for 2009 the National IAQ TfS Connector Award has been added to the program.
Since the inception of the IAQ TfS Awards Program, EPA has presented National Excellence awards to nearly 80 schools and school districts in recognition of their dedication to improving IAQ.
Description Of Awards
The IAQ TfS National Great Start Award is for U.S. schools and districts in the initial stages of implementing the IAQ TfS Program. To qualify, schools must establish an IAQ team or designate an IAQ Coordinator. Designed to recognize schools and school districts that are on their way to achieving sustainable IAQ management plans, Great Start Awards are non-competitive. Applications are accepted year round, and awards are presented throughout the year.
The IAQ TfS National Leadership Award is for U.S. schools and districts that have shown significant progress in implementing an IAQ management program. To qualify, schools must at least meet the minimum criteria for the Great Start Award and show progress towards completing IAQ walkthroughs or assessments for each school in the district that has agreed to participate in the program. Applicants must demonstrate how they are taking action to address IAQ issues and have identified and prioritized any IAQ repairs and upgrades. The Leadership Awards are non-competitive. Applications are accepted year round, and awards are presented throughout the year.
The IAQ TfS National Excellence Award is one of EPA’s highest IAQ awards, presented to U.S. school districts with exemplary IAQ programs and that have shown exceptional commitment to good IAQ management. These awards are competitively judged and will be presented to the selected school districts at EPA’s 10th Annual IAQ TfS National Symposium, to be held in Washington, DC on January 14-16, 2010. Deadline: must be postmarked by September 30, 2009
The IAQ TfS National Model of Sustained Excellence Award is presented to U.S. school districts that show ongoing exceptional commitment and achievement in maintaining healthy educational facilities while institutionalizing comprehensive IAQ management practices. Recipients must have been a past National Excellence Award recipieny. Applicants must demonstrate how they have sustained their IAQ practices, established IAQ management goals, and tracked short-term and long-term progress on IAQ management. These awards are competitively judged and will be also presented to the selected school districts at EPA’s 10th Annual IAQ TfS National Symposium in January 2010. Deadline: must be postmarked by September 30, 2009
New for 2009 is the the National IAQ TfS Connector Award, which will be presented to individuals and organizations whose outstanding, innovative actions and initiatives have supported improved school indoor environments, with a special focus on activities that reflect the spirit of the IAQ TfS Connector—the central communication and networking platform of the IAQ TfS Program. These awards are competitively judged and will also be presented to the individuals or organizations at EPA’s 10th Annual IAQ TfS National Symposium in January 2010. Deadline: must be postmarked by September 30, 2009
More information, along with past winner stories, can be found on the Awards Program home page.
Or Start Now..
If you’re still in the early stages of creating a formalized IAQ program in your school, you may want to order (or download) the components of EPA’s IAQ TfS Action Kit.
Since its release in 1995 (just re-released this year), the kit (which is free of charge) instructs schools on how to carry out a practical plan to improve indoor air problems at little cost or no-cost using straightforward activities and in-house staff. The kit provides best practices, industry guidelines, sample policies, and a sample IAQ management plan.