Building Performance Data: USA trying to catch up to China

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) – the organization that develops LEED certification for buildings – has just announced the upcoming launch of ‘arc’, a data driven platform designed to collect and report performance data of buildings. Once it is up and running, it will herald the dawn of a new era for buildings. During the launch, current and future supporting technologies were also announced, technologies necessary for this new era to rise.

Meanwhile in China, this is already well under way and the technologies are already available. While the USA is announcing the dawn of a new era, China is already moving onto lunch.

At the forefront of this is an innovative building standard called RESET. Born in China, it is the world’s first sensor-based, real-time, performance driven building standard. Over three years ago, RESET also developed the world’s first (and only) international standard for building monitors and sensors tracking indoor environmental quality.

But this is not just a China story: RESET is also the first building standard to grow internationally from the China.

Although this may seem surprising to many in the West, it really shouldn’t be. Necessity is the mother of innovation, and nowhere is the need for building performance data greater than in China, particularly when it comes to healthy indoor environments. The market adoption of RESET has been inspiring and provides insights for the rest of the world.

RESET is levelling the playing field for real-estate developers by providing a transparent monitoring and communication standard for the health performance of buildings. Several months ago, the standard was adopted by UBAN, the world’s largest commercial real-estate platform, providing them with the ability to benchmark buildings. The adoption cemented RESET as the market standard – a testament to the power of open and actionable building data.

UBAN has adopted RESET as a benchmarking and rating tool.

UBAN has adopted RESET as a benchmarking and rating tool.

Seeing as data from RESET certified projects is reported in real-time it means the data is actionable, aligning building owners, employers and employees towards achieving the most high performance spaces possible. Although real-time data may seem like a threat and liability to many building owners and employers in the West, in China it has proved to be the opposite, enabling these parties to take action and fix issues before employees monitor and report issues themselves. It is also enabling developers to attract tenants, as evidenced by UBAN.

The adoption of RESET’s monitoring standard has also been impressive – a subject the USA has not yet even breached. While the USA has primarily focused on how to get low-cost consumer grade monitors into buildings, the scale of China has allowed RESET to define a whole new tier of high-quality building grade sensors. At the time of writing, seven hardware companies are actively working towards the standard. So far only four have passed, with three being Chinese and only one being American. RESET has also correctly separated hardware and software standards, prioritizing platforms that are open to collaboration. This enables hardware agnostic platforms such as Qlear to stream data from the world’s increasing number of hardware makers, compare results, plug into the RESET cloud for certification analytics while also serving WELL and LEED projects. The future is here.

RESET links with data aggregators such as QLEAR and helps with LEED and WELL certification.

RESET links with data aggregators such as QLEAR and helps with LEED and WELL certification.

The world is increasingly becoming flat and large scale innovations are now flowing out of China – in areas the world does not associate with the country – such as open data and transparency. While the USA is busy thinking through how all the pieces of a green/healthy building data ecosystem will fit together, it is worth taking a moment to learn from what is happening in China – and now flowing to the rest of the world.


3 Ways to Make Your 2016 Resolutions More Realistic and Attainable

Okay, we’ll skip the traditional holiday gift lists because, frankly, if there’s one thing you can do for the planet during this most hectic and commercialized season of the year, it’s to buy nothing at all. We’ll just go right ahead with the New Year’s resolutions because we all could use one or two.

Image courtesy of Calvin and Hobbes

Image courtesy of Calvin and Hobbes

The problem is—and this is almost always the case with resolutions—resolutions are so challenging to keep. It’s as if they’re bound to self-destruct the moment you decide on getting one. Here are the three reasons why resolutions fail, and what you can do about them.


Ditch the Element of Suddenness

When making resolutions, we often mistake the element of suddenness for urgency. Come December, we start committing ourselves to doing (or refraining from doing) something all of a sudden without any thought or preparation for it, thinking the ending year is enough to inspire and prod us.

Last-minute resolutions ask you to plunge yourself to a life-altering decision you may not actually be ready for—be it a going on a strict diet, engaging in a more active lifestyle, or managing one’s finances. Don’t just suddenly embark on a resolution in one fell swoop come December. Instead, take it easy and one at a time.

If you resolve to quit smoking next year, it’s more realistic to start cutting

Image from https://kellyjohnsongracenotes

Image from https://kellyjohnsongracenotes

back on it a few months earlier, say even before June or July sets in. So by the time December rolls by, you’re more prepared and less likely to break your promises. The result: The resolution you create in December is thus backed by a habit you’ve built earlier.


Installment Basis

One other reason why resolutions fail is because we turn them into all-encompassing pledges that can either be limiting to our current lifestyle, overwhelming, or just plain unrealistic. Big-time resolutions can seem well-intentioned, but once we fail on just a single aspect of it, it can go downhill from there.

For example, eating healthy is a good resolution to have, but it’s too broad. If you’re used to a convenient diet of fast food and instant snacks, that can be downright impossible. Instead, focus on a manageable portion that you can sink your teeth on (pardon the pun).

Making resolutions VS Not making resolutions

Making resolutions VS Not making resolutions

What’s the alternative?  How about cutting back on colas, energy drinks, sweetened fruit juices and other beverages?  It’s just one component of the eating healthy goal, but you’ll have to admit it’s way more achievable. Next year you can tackle another aspect of your healthy diet goal, such as getting more fiber or eating more fermented foods, while still retaining your No to Sugary Beverages policy.  New Year resolutions don’t have to be grand, you can do it by installment basis.


Get a Support Group

A third reason for failed New Year’s resolutions is the lack of support group.

Resolutions don’t have to be private, secret undertakings that you should be embarrassed about. Let  your friend and family know what your goals are for the next year so they can guide you along and remind you when you’re straying from the path. They can even share their own resolutions with you, so you guys can help each other out.

Having a support group helps because it keeps everyone honest, it makes the resolutions less challenging than they should be, and actually makes them more fun to pursue.

 * * *

Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions are traditionally meant to fail right from the start, but that’s only because we’re tackling them the wrong way. By modifying our resolutions to more realistic proportions, we’re more likely to keep them for a much longer time.

But don’t worry, if ever you break them prematurely. Forgive yourself, move on, and resolve to do better the next time.