New Partnership Aims To Clear The Air Around The Health Of Indoor School Environments

On September 2, 2021, Johnson Controls, a global smart building technology provider, UL, a global safety certification firm, and SafeTraces, a provider of indoor air quality (IAQ) verification solutions, announced a partnership to help K-12 schools in the US assess and improve their IAQ. Johnson Controls will pair its OpenBlue Healthy Buildings module with UL’s healthy building certification program and SafeTrace’s VeriDart solution for verifying HVAC efficacy and controls. Together, the three vendors offer a comprehensive solution for monitoring, certifying, and improving HVAC operation and IAQ within school environments.

This partnership targets new opportunities within the education sector to help facilities managers upgrade aging ventilation infrastructure to improve the health and performance of children and save money on utility costs with more efficient systems. The US Department of Education estimates the size of the air quality problem is significant in the education sector; it reports that 25% of public schools have inadequate ventilation and 20% of schools have unsatisfactory IAQ. The US government is dedicating billions of dollars of funding to address this issue, with $170 billion dedicated to the modernization of schools, including ventilation enhancements and air quality monitoring systems, as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in healthy buildings has increased dramatically amongst building occupants and landlords, and this trend is emerging as a major opportunity for smart building technology providers. As a result, many providers have released new and innovative solutions to help organizations improve IAQ across their portfolio, and this partnership has arrived at the right time to help schools make essential improvements to their indoor environments with the backing of government funds.

Smart building technology providers should not ignore the healthy buildings trend as it poses to become a permanent part of the broader ESG agenda and need to act now to capture a share of this quickly evolving market. Read our report on Positioning For Growth In The Healthy Buildings Technology Market to learn about this market, inform healthy buildings product development, and develop go-to-market strategies.

SB New Partnership Aims To Clear The Air Around The Health Of Indoor School Environments

Ben Hext

Analyst, Verdantix

Ben is an Analyst in the Verdantix Smart Buildings practice. His current agenda covers hardware and software solutions for energy management, on-site power generation, and COVID-19 mitigation management. He holds an M.Eng in Mechanical Engineering from Durham University.