Every year, air pollution causes up to a staggering 36,000 deaths in the UK alone. Air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today as recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK Government. Poor air quality has been directly associated with a variety of damaging health and wellbeing issues including significant impairment of cognitive functions from increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), respiratory and cardiovascular diseases from high levels of particulate matter (PM) reaching the deepest parts of our lungs, as well as damage to our liver, kidneys and central nervous system as a result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released from common products used in our everyday lives.
"Since the pandemic was announced by WHO in March 2020, the important subject of air quality has been brought into sharp focus as it was announced by authorities and scientists in May 2021 that Covid-19 is spread through airborne transmission. Most people associate air pollution with power plants, factories and smog-filled cities, however according to a study conducted by the National Air Quality Testing Services (NAQTS), indoor air pollution is over three times worse than outdoor air pollution in the UK. As the return to the workplace begins in earnest, it is vital to inform and reassure those who operate, use and visit buildings, that their health and safety is at the forefront of their employers’ minds.
So, what can you do in your existing buildings to improve indoor air quality?
Here at Element Four we have implemented RESET Air recently on a project at Thames Valley Park and since then there has been significant interest from other clients. Stakeholders within the built environment have realised what an important topic clean air is.
RESET Air is both an air quality standard and an annual certification scheme that originated in Shanghai in 2013 and has since expanded to 13 countries & 54 cities, covering over 1,459,034m2 of project space (certified and registered). The RESET Air standard means measuring on-going air quality at regular intervals to generate awareness of long-term occupant health. High quality, reliable air monitors are required to be installed across a project to measure parameters including CO2, PM and VOCs. Recent air quality results need to be streamed to the cloud so occupants and even project visitors can view real-time outcomes from any computer or mobile device. Whether it be a Building Core & Shell or a Commercial Interiors fit-out, the data helps account for any changes that happen in the air due to any alterations in the surrounding environment. The RESET Air standard is designed to be scalable, affordable and allow for actionable results leading to air quality solutions regardless of the building or project type.
As a RESET Accredited Professional (AP), my role is to guide my clients through the certification process, working with them to develop air quality monitor deployment plans for their projects, as well as advise on the most appropriate sensors and data provider to implement depending on their building size, quantity of occupants and use of space. Once these aspects have been installed and the project passes their site audit and data audit for 3 consecutive months, the project can achieve RESET Air certification.
Another benefit of RESET Air is its ability to align with other global healthy building certification schemes, including Fitwel. This enables projects to achieve air quality credits within Fitwel by implementing the RESET Air standard.
Since the pandemic started, people have valued their health as a result of indoor air quality considerably more, particularly with regard to their respiratory systems. RESET Air provides peace of mind that the quality of air you breathe in your place of work is being continually monitored and gives you, as well as your employer, the ability to freely access this important information to enable the best solutions to be achieved.”