Let's RESET: ongoing environmental monitoring.


Stefan Schmidt, Performance Engineer

Maintaining healthy conditions throughout a building’s operation.

RESET, which stands for ‘regenerative ecological, social and economic targets’, is a building standard founded in response to poor air quality in many major Chinese cities. In 2001, the building industry there started asking itself a crucial question (one that’s particularly pertinent to us as building services engineers): how effective is a building at keeping me healthy every day?

The issue wasn’t new – ‘sick-building syndrome’ and other concepts had been hot topics in the built environment for many years – but RESET proposed a way to quantify health and wellbeing on a case-by-case basis.

Rather than focussing solely on specification, RESET paired building standards with data to measure the impacts of their design decisions on a building’s performance.

The result? It would be possible to make occupant health a measurable deliverable for all spaces.

The vision.

The concept of utilising incremental success and feedback to close the performance gap is becoming an increasing part of the building services offering; it’s all about empowering stakeholders through the sort of feedback that only data can provide.

We can also benefit, for example, from more accurate forecasting of load conditions to size plant, or from insights on the impacts of air-flow rates on air quality metrics. One need only look to the success of NABERs in Australia to see how much of an impact data can have on delivering a successful built environment.

While RESET does not focus on energy like NABERs, it offers a similar opportunity for health and wellbeing design.

By collecting and publicly publishing data on air quality, building operators are incentivised to maintain better spaces for their occupants.

The scheme will soon expand into other metrics such as light, noise and thermal comfort. In the workplace, this could contribute towards longer, healthier lives for occupants, while benefiting the employer by reducing sickness absence, attracting talent, and increasing productivity. It’s a win-win for the triple bottom-line.

In practice.

It works by installing sensors throughout a building, which measure five core air quality parameters: temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. These are reported at 30-minute intervals to a central cloud platform, which takes an average of levels during working hours. If the average level is within the limits prescribed by RESET (which are aligned with the WELL standard, ASHRAE and the World Health Organisation, among others), then a building will become RESET certified.

What makes RESET different from other health and wellbeing standards, is that this certification is ongoing. If the averages drop outside the limits for a significant period, the building will lose its certification.

This provides a constant incentive to maintain healthy conditions within the building throughout operation, rather than solely at a single point of assessment.

Further info.

I hope this short piece provided some insight into what RESET aims to accomplish, and how it works. If you’d like to find out more, please drop me a message. As a newly certified RESET accredited professional, I’ll do my best to answer it for you!