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Students to gain better air quality

Grand Erie District School Board, Mohawk College and Nerva Energy to install innovative Active Air Purification Technology, including hands-on learning

With renewed attention on air quality in schools during the pandemic, two area schools are the first in Ontario to retrofit their HVAC systems with an active, in-duct, air purification technology, providing students with a virus- and bacteria-reduced environment and a chance for hands-on learning with an innovative new technology.

Right: Brier Park School

Brier Park Public School, in Brantford, and Paris Central Public School, in Paris, working in partnership with the Mohawk College Climate Change Leaders program, have installed an innovative, laboratory tested technology in their ventilation systems that is proven to combat COVID 19, reduces the spread of germs, and improves indoor air quality for students and staff.

Following the installation process, conducted by Stoney Creek-based Nerva Energy and the Cleaner Air for Schools program, students will learn first-hand how to validate and measure other energy-efficient technologies. They will also study the impact on absenteeism due to illness in their schools and will examine the impact on energy consumption.

"This timely collaboration is an investment in our collective future, providing healthier, more sustainable school environments, while also creating rich learning opportunities for our students in an ever-expanding field," said JoAnna Roberto, Director of Education at the Grand Erie District School Board. "It's partnerships like these that support our Multi-Year Plan's goals of improving energy and environmental conservation in our schools, promoting staff and student health and well-being, and celebrating the community partners who enhance the learning experiences of our students."

Right: Paris Central Public School

This investment in cleaner air technology puts student health and safety first, and improves air circulation in our buildings," said Grand Erie Board Chair Greg Anderson. "The Climate Change Leaders partnership, which enabled this pilot project, means increased peace of mind for students, parents, and school staff."

"Connecting our educational partners with cutting-edge technologies, while providing real-life learning experiences for students through Mohawk's Climate Change Leaders Program allows students to realize some of the potential STEAM-related careers that are available to them," said Ron McKerlie, President of Mohawk College. "In this case, we have the added benefit of reducing the risk of infection for students and staff in their schools."

The Cleaner Air for Schools program is designed to create a safer learning, teaching and working environments for all, proactively treating every cubic inch of air-conditioned supply air space, reducing airborne and surface contaminants. Test results from independent labs and universities show 99.9+% inactivation of common viruses and bacteria and has been proven to combat COVID-19.

"When dealing with an airborne virus, indoor air quality becomes a crucial factor in preventing transmission," said Rob Hallewick, CEO, NERVA Energy. "We're excited to be working with Mohawk College and Grand Erie District School Board to provide students, teachers and staff with cleaner, healthier air."

While the technology has been installed in more than four million locations in over 60 countries, this partnership is the first installation in an Ontario school. This initial pilot project was completed in a matter of days due to the areas of open classroom design at both schools.

The project is funded, in part, by the Government of Ontario, which recently committed $50 million for ventilation and HVAC upgrades to support healthy and safe learning environments for students and staff. Following the anticipated success of the pilot project, GEDSB expects to implement the technology at other school board facilities.

Photos by Grand Erie Communications

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