Similar to well known Apps that track outdoor air quality, the RESET Certified App allows users to follow the healthiest and safest offices and schools in Shanghai, Beijing and Suzhou. The App and certification are also expanding to include shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, hotels and other public / semi-public indoor spaces.
The App disrupts the industry by aggregating data from different monitor brands which have been tested and calibrated to report indoor air quality results according to the certification’s international performance standards.
From outdoors to indoors
Over the past two years public awareness of outdoor pollution in China (in particular PM2.5) has sky-rocketed. As people have turned to their homes, offices, hotels, malls and coffee shops for protection, they’ve also begun to wonder how well these spaces are protecting them, if at all. The reality is that in many cases indoor pollution is far worse than outdoor pollution, even when air is filtered.
Consider for a moment that on its worst day in recorded history, outdoor air pollution in Beijing peaked at 25 times over the healthy limit. By comparison, indoor air pollution in newly renovated interiors often starts at 25 times over limit, can go up to 100 times over limit, and linger for years. When we cumulate the impact of chemical off-gassing, CO2 and PM2.5 - and factor in the reality that we spend 91% of our time indoors - we begin to understand that indoor pollution threatens health far, far more than outdoor pollution.
There is good news. Unlike outdoor air, indoor air can be fully controlled. The missing ingredients to creating healthy interiors have been knowledge and availability of information. This is what the RESET Certified App intends to change.
By tracking 5 air quality parameters related to human health (PM2.5, chemical gasses, CO2, temperature and relative humidity), the App builds awareness to the fact that air is a constantly changing blend of gasses and particulates that can and should be balanced.
Up until now, the reactionary approach to the outdoor PM2.5 problem has typically been to seal off and filter indoor spaces. In many cases, excellent PM2.5 levels have come at the expense of trapping heavy concentrations of chemical gasses and CO2. Focusing on only one parameter can be misleading and dangerous.
The monitoring standards required by the RESET Certified App also serve to educate users that monitors are not created equal. The market is flooded by everything from cheap consumer ‘toys’ to laboratory grade monitors. Much education remains to be done on filters, monitors, air quality and health - the subject of future articles.
Above all, the RESET Certified App celebrates the leaders in the industry; those committed to providing healthy interiors for the people who work, rest, eat or play within their spaces. It celebrates pioneers like Tishman Speyer, Lend Lease, Glumac, Haworth, Dulwich College, NRDC, Interface, Moser and Icicle.
In the very near future, we also hope the App will catalyze the development of other resources that enable designing and building a world in which buildings are not part of the problem, but part of the solution.