Life: Renewed

Needham Public Schools Indoor Air Quality Management
Needham, MA

Massachusetts school-age children spend an average of 6.45 hours a day for roughly one-half of the year inside school buildings, with school faculty and staff often spending more time within school buildings. Their quality of life during school hours, including their comfort, health, and productivity, depends on the condition and indoor environment - the “health” - of their school buildings. The building systems that play a key role in the health of a building are also facing the challenges of rising annual temperatures, increased days of extreme heat, and potentially decreased outdoor air quality during periods of high temperature.

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Students and staff were experiencing allergic and respiratory reactions to indoor air quality in the Newman Elementary School. The Town of Needham took steps to address the issues in the then 48-year old school. Fuss & O’Neill assisted the Needham Public School District to diagnosis and resolve indoor air quality issues that were impacting students, faculty, and staff at the 40-classroom school.


Understanding the needs, concerns, and constraints of the stakeholders is critical to identifying and implementing solutions. Fuss & O’Neill worked with the Newman Indoor Air Quality Team – a diverse mix of school and municipal officials and parents – to address the ongoing concerns with the school’s indoor environmental and heating and ventilation system. We developed and implemented an indoor air quality monitoring program and provided the Town and School District with assistance in interpreting and communicating data to the public. Our work and recommendations also informed the HVAC and Building Upgrades Feasibility Study that was conducted by others.

Practice Areas Involved


Following work at the school to address issues with the building systems that were impacting the indoor air quality, Fuss & O’Neill performed follow-up monthly air quality monitoring and assisted Needham in setting standards for school building occupancy. As home to nearly 800 students, faculty and staff, the Newman School continues to provide Pre-K through 5th grade education in Needham.


Population –
Boston Globe – “Officials press air-quality fix for Newman” = June 29, 2008
IAQ membership and remediation team –

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  • Call us toll free at 800-286-2469
    146 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT 06040