Making Sense of a School Year: One Year of Social and Sensor Monitoring at Kokkedal Skole

Lara Anne Hale, Jan Szwagierczak, Vinay Venkatraman, Thorbjørn Færing Asmussen

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Kokkedal Skole is a public school that represents a popular school building design typology from the 1970’s and 1980’s in Denmark. In order to better document and understand the state of the indoor climate conditions prior to anticipated (and in fact commenced) renovations, this research project used technical and social monitoring over the period of one year -- from February 2019 to February 2020 -- to set the baseline conditions. The research team employed novel methodologies to understand conditions inside the school, combining sensorbased technical measurement and ethnographic techniques for collecting social data on how the classrooms and central atria are used. We found evidence of what we expected, from prior research, to be problems, most especially with the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, which are consistently higher than is recommended (<1000 ppm). There was no evidence of issues with particle levels (ultrafine, PM2.5), and although noise levels are high, they do not exceed what is expected in a school. Though technical data shows challenges with too cold classrooms, interviews show that most teachers are battling heat. We illustrate these findings with both visualizations and descriptions, including ‘zooming in’ on a typical winter and spring period day in Kokkedal Skole. Overall there are three main approaches to solving these challenges: behavioral interventions (supported by awareness and action), structural interventions (such as renovation), and automation interventions (smart technologyoperated airing). We recommend more frequent -- possibly automated -- airing out, and also an attentiveness to the light levels in the classrooms, where there needs to be a balance between visibility of the smart boards and healthy exposure to natural light throughout the day. A special section on the COVID-19 period prior to this report -- from mid-March to mid-May 2020 -- indicates that the ventilation challenges are indeed actionable; and some increased ventilation can improve even the existing structure. However, given the responsibility this places on those using the classroom (staff, teachers, students), we rather recommend structural, design improvements, potentially combined with digital technologies to alert about or even automate control of the indoor climate conditions. As this research is part of an ongoing study, and one of Kokkedal’s atria is currently being renovated, the authors intend to contrast the baseline findings with further data after the renovations are complete and better be able to reflect upon structural improvements and classroom use strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School, CBS
Number of pages30
Commissioning bodyVELUX A/S
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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