10 Things School Facility Managers Should Take Care of During Winter Break

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year during winter break. The students get a nice vacation from their studies during the holidays. As for the school facility manager, you get to play catch up, thanks to the empty halls and classrooms. Even though the students use this time to relax, sleep in, and get together with friends and family, you need to use this time wisely to make sure everything is in order for the remainder of the winter months.

Here’s 10 things school facility managers should take care of during winter break to make sure their school is in tip-top shape.

Maintain Your HVAC System

Heat is crucial during the frigid winter months, so you’ll need to perform a few audits to make sure everything iscare and maintenace functioning at its best. Look for any components that may need a replacement, so you can take care of it during the break. Any type of issue that can prevent your school from being heated may actually prolong winter break, so be sure to keep the system in great shape.

Winterize Your School to Retain Heat

While properly maintaining your HVAC system is a crucial step on the winter break checklist, you’ll also want to be sure you’re not wasting any heat. Find any weak areas that result in your school losing heat and energy. You’ll want to air seal these areas, so your school doesn’t suffer from drafty rooms or areas that can’t retain heat.

Inspect Your Pipes

Winter brings the cold, and if your school isn’t properly heated, this can cause more problems than just frigid temperatures. If your school suffers from the cold, or loses power, this can have a huge effect on your pipes. These pipes can freeze and burst, so you’ll want to be sure that not only are they in great shape, but they’re getting enough heat to remain at any optimal temperature.

Perform a Test of Your Generator

Due to the snow and ice buildup on tree branches, they can often buckle and break under the tremendous weight and the brisk temperatures, which can be troublesome if there are any nearby powerlines. If you lose power, which is a significant certainty during the winter, you’ll be relying on your backup generator to make sure your school remains at an acceptable temperature, so your pipes don’t freeze and any electronics don’t suffer.

Replace Faulty or Broken Components

On day one of winter break, you’ll want to perform an inspection of your school and its various fixtures and

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components. This can include lights, water fountains, electrical outlets, or even radiators. Check each of these components to make sure they’re working, or if they need to be replaced before the students and teachers come back to resume the school year.

Inspect the Roof

During the winter, the roof of your school takes quite a beating from the snow, rain, and ice, especially if your roof is flat and doesn’t have any slopes or angles that can help combat the elements. You can work to remove any of the snow and ice build-up with a shovel or rock salt, but you’ll also want to look for any issues or problems that could affect the integrity of your roof. Be sure your drain pipes are free of debris and caulk any noticeable cracks.

Clear the Snow & Ice

Depending on how hard the weather hits your area, this may be a continuous process during winter break. You’ll want to clear the parking lots and designate the snow piles to areas out of the way. Clear the walkways and paths to your school’s entrances, and salt the ground to help reduce any ice buildup.

Invest in New Floor Mats

The floors in your school can take quite a beating during the winter, with students tracking in clumps of snow and even rock salt from the walkways. You’ll want to get some heavy-duty floor mats for the entryways to help reduce the snowy debris from damaging your floors. For the best results, place heavy-duty floor mats outside the entrances to pick up most of the snow and salt, which will reduce the amount actually making it into the school.

Start a Germ & Bacteria Removal Plan

School absences and sickness are rampant during the winter, so one of the best ways to combat this is by focusing on areas with considerable germ and bacteria buildup. The most susceptible areas are the restrooms and the locker rooms. A thorough cleaning can do the trick; however, if there is mold within the components, like your partitions, you may need to find a suitable replacement. HDPE plastic partitions can drastically reduce sickness because they don’t absorb moisture and won’t sprout mold.

Get Your Painting Done

Due to the lack of students filling the hallways and classrooms, now’s the time to get some painting done. If there are components or features in your school that are starting to fade in color, or if they’re chipping, you can get the painting done without having to worry about the VOC emissions affecting student health. Be sure to do this early in the break, so the paint can be dry, ensuring your school is free of the paint smells by the time students and teachers return. You can even invest in HDPE lockers to help avoid any locker painting in the future.

Use your winter break wisely and get these crucial services completed, so you can avoid any major problems that occur throughout the winter.

Want some more tips and tricks on most effective facility maintenance methods? Download this free eBook, The Ultimate Guide for Facility Maintenance & Property Solutions, from your friends at Scranton Products.

 

 

The Duralife 123 Challenge: Do Your School Lockers Pass the Test?

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School personnel including teachers, principals, facility managers, PTA members, and superintendants all around are taking the Duralife 123 Challenge to find out if their school lockers pass the test. Lockers line the hallways of schools and face harsh wear and tear every day as students unload their books and belongings, open and close them between every class, and even draw on them. Will your school lockers pass the test? Take the Duralife 123 Challenge to See for Yourself.

Impact

You may think that metal lockers are more durable than plastic lockers, just like some of the school personnel who took the Duralife 123 Challenge, but they quickly found out that High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Duralife Lockers are far superior.

The first test of the Duralife 123 Challenge is to use forceful impact against a metal locker, then again against an HDPE plastic locker.

After hitting both lockers with a hammer, the  school personnel found that the metal lockers  were easily dented with little force while HDPE plastic lockers could be hit as hard as possible and did not leave a mark.

Traditional metal lockers are usually made from 16 gauge steel which is less than 1/16 inch thick material. This thin material makes metal lockers prone to denting and other types of damage. But Duralife Lockers are made of 1/2 inch thick rigid HDPE plastic, which makes them 59 times greater in resistance to impact than metal lockers.

Graffiti

Graffiti is a big issue when it comes to school lockers. Students may write all over their lockers, leaving damage and making your school appear in a negative light. It’s important to avoid a locker material that makes it difficult to clean graffiti off, and it’s also costly to utilize various cleaning methods in an effort to do so. You may also have to end up replacing the lockers or repaint them which is very costly.

The second test of the Duralife 123 Challenge is graffiti.  School personnel wrote on a metal locker and a Duralife Locker with permanent markers, and then they attempted to clean the marker off. As they tried to wipe the marker off the metal lockers very little came off and the graffiti was still very visible, , But when they wiped the marker off the HDPE plastic lockers, there was no residue left with little effort.

Noise

One big issue with metal lockers is the noise they produce when students close them. Hearing this loud sound ring throughout the halls is enough to give anyone a headache, and it’s particularly distracting to the students in class when they hear various locker slams in the hallway.

The third and final test of the Duralife 123 Challenge is noise.  School personnel slammed a metal locker then slammed an HDPE plastic locker to see which one made more noise. Metal lockers made a loud sound, while HDPE plastic lockers made a more muffled, quieter sound.

So take the Duralife 123 Challenge today and find out if your school lockers pass the test. To learn more about Scranton Products’ DuraLife Lockers, click here to download our free eBook, Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom.

Sustainable Building Products

How to Avoid Germs in Public Restrooms

As the field of medical science evolves, information about germs and bacteria has been made readily available to the general public which has also helped increase the education of preventative measures for avoiding contamination. However, many people still have concerns about how to avoid germs when using public restrooms.

In this post, we’ll help both those occupying the bathroom and those in charge of maintaining it learn how to promote a more germ-free restroom experience.

Avoiding Germs When Using Public Restrooms

If you happen to by using a public restroom and are worried about coming in contact with germs, there are some precautions you can take to limit your exposure. The main and perhaps most obvious rule is try and limit the number of surfaces you come in contact with both before and after washing your hands. If the bathroom has automatic sensors for the toilet, water, soap, and hand dryers, be sure to use them.

When washing your hands, make sure you wash thoroughly. That means wetting your hands and working soap into a lather for 20 seconds. Then rinse your hands clean and dry them.

In addition to keeping your hands from touching other surfaces in the restroom, it’s important that you don’t put your bag or pocket book on the ground. Out of all the surfaces in the bathroom, the floor is probably one of the dirtiest. Instead, hang your bag on the hook located on the back of the door. If there is no hook, sit with your bag in your lap or leave it outside with a friend.

Operating an Anti-Germ Restroom

Whether your building a new public restroom, remodeling an existent one, or considering new procedures for your current restroom, there are many ways to help reduce the amount of germs that occupants come in contact with when using your facility. The first and possibly most overlooked method is by ensuring the door wings out.

A bathroom door that swings out allows occupants to use their foot or hip to exit the restroom instead of their hands. On doors that swing in, occupants are forced to touch the door handle which can be one of the dirtiest surfaces in the restroom primarily due to other users who exited the restroom without washing their hands. The cleanest restrooms get rid of the door altogether and instead opt for a labyrinth style entrance to provide privacy.

Another tactic for keeping the amount of germs at a minimum is to use bacteria-resistant materials like HDPE. In addition to its ability to fight against bacteria, HDPE plastic is also highly durable, being both dent and scratch resistant. This makes it a terrific fit for public restrooms since well-maintained restrooms encourage proper use where as poorly maintained restrooms may be treated poorly by occupants as a result.

Finally, a large part of keeping any restroom germ free is to create a proper cleaning schedule. Public restrooms should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a day. Depending on the amount of traffic, your restroom may need to be cleaned more frequently. If you used HDPE material for the bathroom partitions and vanity, you’ll be happy to know that HDPE is easy to clean and is resistant to rust and corrosion.

Create a cleaning schedule for your team and make sure that the facility is being cleaned regularly.

As you can see, whether you operate one or use one, there are many ways to avoid germs in public restrooms. For more information on HDPE materials, contact Scranton Products today.

New Trends in Commercial Restroom Design

It’s always important to be aware of new trends in commercial restroom design. You want to make sure that your designs can reflect new trends and adapt to the different requests that you’ll receive from those who own the facility.

Commercial restrooms are always changing. They have the potential to be unique and carry the theme of the rest of the facility throughout.

Learn more about some of the current and newest trends in commercial restroom design to make sure that your restroom designs are always up-to-date and pleasing.

Hands-free appliances: People are becoming more and more conscious of the amount of germs and bacteria that exist in public, so they’re constantly avoiding touching products. Incorporating hands-free appliances that are powered by motion sensors rather than levers or knobs will allow people to wash their hands without having to touch surfaces that others have touched.

Automated soap dispensers, faucets, and towel dispensers are more user friendly and one of the current trends in commercial restroom design. They also reduce the amount of products that could end up on the floor or countertops.

Aesthetically pleasing surfaces: An attractive, sophisticated countertop or vanity can make all the difference when it comes to the appearance of a commercial restroom. Many facilities opt for slightly more expensive materials for their counters in order to create this quality look in the bathroom.

Higher quality materials are often nonporous, such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, which means they’ll stay cleaner and germ-free longer. This type of material may be slightly more expensive at the initial purchase, but the costs you’ll save in maintenance over the years make it less expensive in the long run.

Sustainable products: More and more companies are considering the carbon footprint they’re leaving and choosing sustainable products that are less harmful to the environment and better for the people in the facility. Some products give off emissions that reduce the quality of the air and can end up diminishing health.

HDPE plastic is made from recycled material and improves the air quality. It resists mold, mildew, fungus and bacteria that can contribute to poor air quality. And because HDPE plastic is one solid color throughout, it never requires paint, so VOC emissions are avoided.

Scranton Products offers materials that will be aesthetically pleasing, durable, and sustainable in your facility’s bathroom. Choose from HDPE plastic bathroom partitions and vanities to achieve a high-class, sophisticated look that’s also friendly to the environment and improves the quality of the air.

Click here to find out where you can buy Scranton Products for a bathroom that’s stunning while also being good for your health and great for the environment.

HDPE vs. Metal: Which Material Comes Out on Top?

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When you’re searching for products for your facility, one of the most important factors to consider is material. The material of your products makes all the difference when it comes to durability, sustainability and aesthetics. You also want to make sure that you’re purchasing materials that will hold up over time Some popular materials include high density polyethylene (HDPE) and metal. If you’re torn between the two or you’re just looking for more information, keep reading to find out which material is the better option based on what matters most to you.

Pleasing Aesthetics

You want to make sure that the products in your facility add to your building, or blend in, rather than standing out and looking unsightly. Traditional metal lockers have vents and handles that protrude from the surface, which is not aesthetically pleasing. These protruding elements may also lead to bumps and scrapes and reduce safety in the facility. HDPE plastic lockers have vents built into the surface with recessed handles and locks for a smooth, clean look. The recessed handles and locks help to improve safety by eliminating the risk of bumps and scrapes.

Damage Resistant

Overall, HDPE plastic holds up better than metal against damages such as impacts, scratches and even graffiti.

  • Impact: Traditional lockers are made from 16 gauge steel which makes the material less than 1/16” thick. HDPE plastic lockers are made of ½” thick rigid HDPE plastic which makes them 59 times stronger and resistant to impact than traditional metal lockers.
  • Scratches: Scratches are also commonly seen on metal lockers which expose the metal underneath the paint. This requires paint to cover up or complete replacement. However, HDPE plastic lockers are one solid color throughout. You won’t have to spend time and money covering scratches or chips in the pain.
  • Graffiti: If you have to deal with graffiti in your facility, you’ll want to choose a material that can easily be cleaned. Markers can be very difficult to remove from metal lockers, and could even leave behind residue. But because of HDPE plastic’s non-porous surface, graffiti readily wipes off. Stickers and contact paper can also be easily removed.

Maintenance

Choosing materials that constantly need to be repaired, replaced or cleaned gets costly. While budget is always an important factor in choosing materials, it’s crucial to understand that products that are the least expensive initially could end up costing you in the future. Traditional metal lockers have a low initial cost, making them a top choice for facilities. However, additional expenses for these lockers, such as cleaning, painting and general maintenance will add up. The initial cost of metal lockers is lower than HDPE plastic, but HDPE plastic is less expensive over time. If you’re considering installing lockers or bathroom partitions into your facility, consider HDPE plastic over metal lockers for durable and sustainable products. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.




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Locker Room Ventilation

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There is an art to creating a great fitness center. In addition to providing the latest equipment, friendly knowledgeable trainers, clean locker rooms, and lots of hot water, your locker room needs to breathe.

Unfortunately many locker room ventilation systems are improperly designed, leading to issues such as high humidity, mold, corrosion, nasty odors, and unhappy members. On the other hand, a well-designed ventilation system means happier members, reduced maintenance, and increased sales.

Locker rooms are constantly bombarded with moisture from members who come in perspiring after workouts; from the humidity released when they shower; and by the moisture released in steam and sauna areas. That’s why it is critical to provide effective dehumidification combined with an exhaust system designed to capture and exhaust large quantities of moist air out of the building. If the excess moisture in the locker room is not properly vented, it will affect lockers, benches and other assets, and migrate to other areas of the facility.

Whether you are building a new facility or renovating an existing locker room, make sure your architect or engineer is providing an effective ventilation system that exhausts moisture out of the building as required by the International Building Codes. Some of the ventilation technologies currently being used for fitness facilities, include:

  • Energy Star-rated products, including solar-powered fans and other eco-friendly technologies,
  • Systems which reduce the energy required for drying and dehumidification, such as liquid desiccant technology,
  • Bi-polar ionization air-purification systems, to ventilate and also break down odors
  • And equipment that measures volatile organic compounds and particulates

 

Other Locker Room Considerations

In addition to proper ventilation, also consider the following when designing your locker room.

  • Using water-sealed ceiling tiles and ceramic floor tiles
  • Installing CO2 sensors for ventilation control
  • Selecting lockers that will not absorb moisture, and that will not corrode or delaminate in a high-moisture environment

 

Hunter Green Tufftec Lockers

Hunter Green Tufftec Lockers

Specify Tufftec Lockers®

Locker rooms – and the lockers in them – can be breeding grounds for mold and bacteria. Manufactured from solid HDPE, Tufftec Lockers® stand up to the many challenges of the locker room environment. Moisture is never an issue. Tufftec Lockers® are impermeable to moisture, resistant to mold and mildew, and will never rust, corrode, or delaminate. They are also naturally bacteria resistant and will not support the growth of bacteria, including MRSA. Easy to clean, and impact and dent resistant, Tufftec Lockers® will preserve their good looks for years to come. And most importantly, your investment is backed by the best warranty in the industry.

Selecting Scranton Products Tufftec Lockers® for your facility is a sound investment that will help keep your locker room odor-free, reduce your maintenance sots, and keep your members happy for many years to come.

To find out more about Tufftec Lockers® and our customizable locker solutions, please click on the link below.

Common Building Defects That Can Lead to High Maintenance Costs

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Building owners and administrators are always looking for ways to keep operational costs down, but many don’t consider how some design oversights and building defects can lead to higher maintenance costs. In this post, we’ll investigate the most common issues so you can avoid making the same mistakes when planning your facility.

Common Building Defects

Two common building defects affect facilities around the world: leaks and cracks. The roof is one place where a leak can be especially detrimental. This is especially true if the building has a flat roof. A leak can occur if there’s a tear in the waterproofing membrane. Tears can happen do to damage or poor workmanship.

Once the tear has developed, rainwater will start to seep in. What’s most alarming is that depending on where the leak is and what kind of ceiling is used in your building, it could take weeks or months before the leak is spotted. During that time, it could cause extensive damage.

 

Common Building Defects

Cracks, like leaks, can cause trouble no matter where they form, but what’s usually costlier to repair isn’t the crack itself but the cause of the crack. For example, a building that was created on soil that wasn’t properly settled may crack as the ground moves. This may happen repeatedly until the soil has settled completely.

But in addition to these building defects, poor design can also increase the cost of maintenance.

How Building Design Leads to High Maintenance Costs

Not every design concept is cost-effective in terms of routine maintenance. In fact, some design flaws can actually inflate your annual maintenance expenses.

Below are a few examples of the most common building design mistakes that can increase maintenance costs:

  • Installing extremely high ceiling lights that can only be reached by erecting scaffolding. Should a light bulb need to be replaced or the light fixture need to be repaired, it will take much longer to service.
  • Installing an air conditioning unit above a drop ceiling in an area where a ladder can’t be set up properly, like over a toilet partition in the bathroom. The result is a unit that’s poorly maintained and will probably need to be replaced.
  • Lights that aren’t accessible. These are usually installed during the construction of a new building, but since there’s no way to reach them, the lights are neglected once they burn out.
  • Trees planted too close to the building. The debris from above can clog downspouts and damage the roof. Meanwhile, growing roots below can damage the building walls and foundation.
  • Using up lights around the building. These are installed directly into the ground or concrete and typically fail due to moisture penetrating the fixture.

You can probably see how these common building defects could easily lead to higher maintenance costs. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you plan carefully when designing your facility.

Contact Scranton Products to learn more about our cost-effective lockers, bathroom partitions, and more!

The Secret to Commercial Bathrooms with A High End Touch (Hint: It’s One of the Most Common Materials on the Planet)

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Facility managers of commercial bathrooms constantly face a serious dilemma: getting their bathrooms to look good. While it may seem inconceivable for a commercial bathroom to have high-end appeal, the secret to accomplishing this feat lies in one of the most common materials on the planet.

Scranton Products bridges the gap between a high-end commercial bathroom and a functional, dependable one thanks to the help of HDPE plastic material[TB1] . While plastic may seem like an odd choice for an upscale commercial bathroom, the material provides dependability and a pleasing aesthetic. Learn more about how HDPE plastic does this. Read more

Why the Architecture 2030 Challenge Matters for Both New and Old Construction

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Architecture 2030 aims to transform the built environment from being the major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a solution to the climate crisis. Understanding this organization’s goals and why they’re important can help you make informed decisions when it comes to construction. Learn more about the Architecture 2030 Challenge below.

What is Architecture 2030?

Architecture 2030 aims to reduce global fossil fuel consumption and GHG emissions by changing the planning, design, and construction of cities, communities, infrastructure, and buildings. They also pursue the regional development of a built environment that can manage the impacts of climate change, preserve natural resources, and access low-cost renewable energy resources. This organization’s efforts began more than a decade ago, and today, they’re being recognized for implementing key strategies that contribute to the global sustainability movement.

What’s the Solution?

According to architecture2030.com, an area equal to 3.5 times the entire built environment of the US will be redesigned, reshaped, and rebuilt globally over the next 20 years. Traditional methods of construction are powered by electricity produced by burning fossil fuels, thus damaging the planet’s climate. Using energy-efficient design strategies and power from renewable resources during building design and construction can be a solution to the climate change crisis. Throughout the design process, strategies must utilize low-cost or no-cost sustainable and passive design. These methods can include reducing the energy the building requires by planning its orientation and incorporating daylighting and a passive heating and cooling strategy. This can provide fossil-fuel–free energy from on-site renewables or from accessing renewable energy produced off-site.

What Can You Do to Help?

Learning more about adopting the Architecture 2030 challenge can significantly help in achieving a solution to the climate change crisis. Those who work in the building sector have the power to make these changes that can have a significant impact in the global sustainability movement. One resource that will help the building sector understand the principles and actions to create low-carbon and adaptable built environments worldwide is the 2030 Palette. This is a guide to low carbon resilient design from the regional level down to individual building elements. The free online tool is a powerful catalyst for implementing the 2030 Challenge. An architect looking to improve low carbon design skills would benefit from the AIA+2030 Professional Development Series. A property owner, planner, local government policy maker, developer, or community stakeholder looking to meet the 2030 Challenge for Planning in your area, check out the 2030 Districts program. Scranton Produces uses sustainable materials for your restrooms, lockers, and other applications to allow you to support a healthier environment. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.

 

Noise Can Negatively Affect Learning

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How to Improve Your School’s Learning Environment Noise is defined as “a sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance.”According to a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University, students had more difficulty learning to read when subjected to continuous noise, such as airplanes taking off, compared to students learning at quieter schools. These findings, as well as similar findings from other studies, support the claim that noise can significantly affect a student’s ability to learn. However, noise doesn’t necessarily have to come from a busy airport or highway. Noise from the cafeteria, gymnasium, or hallways can negatively affect the learning environment of any classroom nearby. In this post, we take a closer look at what you can do to reduce noise and improve the learning environment within your school.

How to Reduce Noise Inside the Classroom

Repair/Maintain Ducts, Fans, and the HVAC System A properly functioning HVAC system should produce only a slight whooshing sound. Meanwhile, ducts and fans should be virtually silent. If any of these are making loud or distracting noises, it could be a sign that they need repairs. Stay up-to-date on building maintenance to keep systems working effectively and sound levels at a minimum. Dampen Noise from Chairs and Desks Depending on the kind of furniture in your classroom, chairs and desks sliding across the floor can create a considerable amount of unwanted noise. To help reduce the noise from these objects, dampeners can be placed on the feet where the chair or desk meets the floor. An old solution was to cut a small slit into a tennis ball and then fit the leg inside to create a type of shoe. Today, much more effective and stylish solutions are available. Install Drapes Over Windows Thick windows do an exceptional job of blocking out unwanted noise, but adding thick drapes can add an extra level of sound protection. Of course, you may not want to cover up windows during the daytime if they offer the primary source of light. Instead you can invest in soundproof windows, plant shrubbery outside the windows, or install lighting fixtures to provide enough light so you can close the drapes. Use Plastic Lockers in Hallways Metal lockers can cause a considerable amount of unwanted noise, which can distract the students in any classroom that might be nearby. Plastic lockers provide a perfect alternative to metal lockers, producing a fraction of the noise. Plastic lockers made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are also much easier to maintain thanks to their natural resistance to rust, dents, and graffiti. locker replacement checklist Soundproof Walls, Floors, and the Ceiling It’s widely known that sound waves easily bound off hard, flat surfaces. Meanwhile, soft surfaces absorb sound. So if you’re looking to limit the amount of noise in your classroom, you might consider using soft carpeting rather than tiles or hardwood flooring. You can also install sound-absorbing panels on the walls. Finally, ensure than any gaps between the ceiling panels are sealed. Although the only quiet classroom may be the one without students, it’s possible to keep noise levels low so you can build a better learning environment for your students. Follow these tips to help reduce the negative effects of noise.