Grants help students with asthma and allergies breathe easier. Your school district can qualify!
Is the number of students suffering in your school from asthma and allergies growing at an alarming rate?
To help your student body breathe easier, you should know grants for schools implementing health and wellness actions are available. In fact, several area schools use grants to improve their IAQ (Indoor Air Quality). These schools also gain points toward being a certified Sustainable Jersey School.
Low VOC Paints, Gym Floor Finishes Mitigate Indoor Air Quality
Switching to a Low or Zero VOC (volatile organic chemical) paint or gym floor finish can improve a school’s IAQ while lowering indoor air pollution resulting in a positive effect on breathing for those children with asthma and allergies.
Most gym floor finishes, for example, are laden with VOCs, which fill schools with the most awful smell and can create chronic health issues like asthma and allergies. These type of environmental health issues are hard to quantify so most people are happy to simply settle for so called “eco-friendly” products, but many of these finishes are not much better than traditional products as they too continue to off gas long after the odor is gone, especially when building ventilation systems are dialed back to save money on heating and cooling costs.
To make the issue even more complicated, there are no studies on how long wood finishes continue to off-gas. Manufacturers claim different time frames from days to months, but offer no real science. The real answer can be YEARS! The LEED program says the air needs to change about 1750 times over before it is safe. Many times the air “is changed” through your students’ lungs causing asthma and allergy attacks. This is just one of the factors effecting school indoor environment.
Far lower VOC levels can be easily found in products that are nontoxic, natural or bio-based.
In the example of floor finishes, a highly durable, NWFMA certified slip-resistant finish can carry a VOC rating < 95 Grams per liter. Remarkably, a product like this uses recycled whey protein as its base and is a sealer and top coat in one with amazingly little odor. Unbelievably many schools use industrial chemical finishes over 350 Grams per liter.
A grant to evaluate indoor air quality would go a long way in off-setting all the costs of implementing a low VOC school paint and coatings program. The program might include:
Inventory Analysis designed to get hazardous products out of your schools.
Color matching and record keeping for buildings, rooms, surfaces and colors.
Creating a quote, purchase order and work order system for your facility. Analyzing the cost of your paint & coating projects to find cost reductions. Taking a hard look at the time and costs involved in SDS compliance.
Comparing costs of traditional products to safer, high performance products.
Evaluating vehicle usage to do paint store pickups vs free delivery options.
Solve Environmental Issues that trigger asthma and allergies with Professional Help
Firms like Non Toxic Paint Supply can evaluate the products you are currently using to help find the most durable and least VOC laden hazardous finishes while balancing cost and ease of use. With experience in design, green building and maintenance, area schools have found us to be a valuable resource in assisting with making this important switch.
How to Apply for the Grant Money
If a district is participating in Sustainable Jersey Schools and serves students in grade 6 or above they can apply for one of thirty $4,000 grants. The programs that could be funded by this grant are varied and include instituting nontoxic painting methods, refinishing gym floors with low VOCs or installing vestibule matting system.
For more information, visit sustainablejersey.com . Whether a district applies for the grant or not, you can still challenge your schools to move in a more sustainable and healthy direction. Small actions, like using nontoxic, virtually odorless, bio-based floor finishes and paint create real change toward improving a school environment. Feel free to connect with us and we will follow up properly.