HVAC Projects



Ultima high-light-reflectance ceiling panels and an in-ceiling Armstrong StrataClean IQ Air Filtration System from Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions were installed in a 780-square-foot third-grade classroom.

The following ceiling and ventilation materials were used in the project:

  • Ultima Ceiling Panels
  • Armstrong StrataClean IQ Air Filtration System
  • Armstrong VidaShield UV24 air-purification system

Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions


To determine its indoor environmental quality (IEQ), Panther Valley Elementary School representatives recently placed AWAIR indoor environmental sensors throughout the school. The sensors measure seven key IEQ factors: temperature, humidity, CO2, VOCs, particulate matter, noise and light. During initial monitoring, the overall AWAIR scores were between fair and good, averaging in the low 80s. Primary areas of concern were ventilation rates and light levels; secondary areas of concern included CO2 thresholds, noise and thermal-comfort levels.

To help address these concerns, the school replaced the ceiling in a 780-square-foot third-grade classroom, which was built in the 1980s, houses 27-32 students and is in use nearly eight hours a day. The school also replaced the ceiling in a 450-square-foot nurse’s office. Ultima high-light-reflectance ceiling panels from Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions were installed in both spaces. The smooth-textured panels with a non-directional visual are washable and impact- and scratch-resistant.

The new ceiling panels have improved lighting. Estimated light reflectance value of the existing ceiling was in the 40-60 range while the Ultima Ceiling Panels have a light reflectance of 88. By upgrading the ceiling and adding new LED light fixtures, light levels in the spaces more than doubled from 116 to 253 lux.

The acoustic environment also improved. The ceiling’s noise reduction coefficient increased from .55 to .75, meaning the new panels absorb 75 percent of the sound that strikes them. The ceiling panels also block sound from entering adjacent spaces.

In addition, an in-ceiling Armstrong StrataClean IQ Air Filtration System was installed in the classroom. An internal fan draws air through one side of the grille. The air then moves through a MERV 13 filter and discharges back into the space through the opposite side. One unit can filter the air in a 1,000-square-foot space every hour, removing 90 percent of airborne contaminants, allergens and other particulates.

An in-ceiling Armstrong VidaShield UV24 air-purification system was installed in the nurse’s office.

Like many schools in the northern part of the country, Panther Valley Elementary has no HVAC system. As a result, air changes per hour (ACH) in the classroom were only 0.5 ACH. Following installation of the StrataClean unit, ACH increased to 1.5. Increasing ACH helps reduce exposure to airborne contaminants and particulate matter while decreasing CO2 levels.

Third-grade Teacher Tori Koerbler has noticed the improvement. “I know how important indoor air quality is for myself and my students,” she says. “I’m a severe asthmatic and I haven’t had any episodes since the start of school and the room renovation.”

An in-ceiling Armstrong VidaShield UV24 air-purification system was installed in the nurse’s office. The unit continuously draws air into a self-contained chamber in the ceiling plenum where the air is treated with ultraviolet-light air-cleaning technology. The disinfected air then circulates back into the room, reducing occupant exposure to viruses and bacteria. Third-party testing shows this system neutralizes 97 percent of infectious pathogens on the first pass through the system. This contributes to healthier spaces by minimizing allergy and asthma triggers, as well as other infectious pathogens in the air.

Following completion of the improvements, AWAIR scores were in the mid 80s to low 90s with an average near 88.

“Coming out of COVID, it’s important we continue to explore what’s next for air quality in the building,” asserts Principal Rob Palazzo. “The cafeteria could be the next space. As far as the future, we will continue to regard improved indoor environmental quality as a long-term investment.”


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