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A look inside the world of rapidly renewable materials. 

Green Building? Do you know these green building standards?

Exploring the green pulse of the global building industry, some of the leading green building standards are reshaping the spaces we live and work in, deeply integrating sustainable concepts into design, construction and operations.

From the high-performance building performance of RESET in Canada, the comprehensiveness of LEED in the US, the pioneering status of BREEAM in the UK, to the whole-life green management emphasised by China's Green Building Label, these standards are not only advocates of environmental protection, but also drivers of technological innovation and quality of life.

RESET Performance Standards

Developed and managed by GIGA Canada, RESET is the world's first sensor-based and performance-driven built environment programme. It is a data standard, a set of tools and a certification process.The RESET standard creates a structure for data quality, ongoing performance assessment and benchmarking. The standard harnesses the power of technology to assess the embodied and operational performance of buildings and interiors throughout their lifecycle. RESET is a data standard, not a design standard.

RESET standards are modular and can be certified individually. Project teams can implement individual modules over time, giving them the opportunity to pursue the standards that are most relevant to the priorities and needs of the project.

RESET aims to help make the built environment healthier and more sustainable through a range of standards and assessment tools and services around data quality and data transparency.

Standard Content

RESET Emobodied Standards

Embodied Standards and data encapsulates data associated with the construction processes throughout the lifecycle of a built environment.

- RESET Embodied Carbon: Carbon Emissions Accounting for Products and Projects

- RESET Embodied Circularity: Circularity Accounting, Scoring, and Benchmarking for Products and Projects

- RESET Embodied Health: Material Health Accounting for Products and Projects

RESET Operational Standards

- RESET Air:Particulate Matter (PM2.5), Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Temperature

Relative Humidity

- RESET Water:water consumption and water quality

- RESEET Energy:Total Energy and Energy Subset Consumption

- RESET Waste:an operating data standard for continuous waste monitoring

Project Typologies

Commercial Interiors:

The Commercial Interiors (CI) project typology targets the interior spaces and fit-outs of built environments. These are the interior spaces that occupants dwell in, including offices, shopping malls, restaurants, hotel rooms, etc.

Core & Shell:

The Core & Shell (CS) project typology targets the base building's structure and systems, such as the central HVAC systems, water pumps and cooling tanks, and elevators.

Project Statuses and Accreditation

RESET Entry for Indoor Air Quality is a short-term monitoring certificate awarded to projects based on one month of continuous monitoring. A RESET Entry Project has access to the RESET Cloud for analytics.

RESET Connected is awarded to projects that want to explore the RESET Standard but are not yet ready to pursue certification. RESET Connected projects have installed at least one accredited monitor according to RESET Standard and are ready to utilize the RESET Cloud for data analytics. A RESET Connected Project has access to the RESET Cloud for analytics and benchmarking.

RESET Pre-Accredited is awarded to projects that have passed the documentation audit according to the RESET Standard. A project can submit and be approved for this status irrespective of whether or not construction has commenced.

RESET Accredited is awarded to projects that have deployed monitors according to the RESET Standard and have passed the documentation and site audits as applicable, but have not yet passed the performance criteria as outlined in the respective Standard Module. A RESET Accredited Project has access to the RESET Cloud for analytics and benchmarking.

RESET Certified is awarded to RESET Accredited Projects once they have passed all performance requirements of the respective RESET Standard. RESET Certified is performance-based and on-going, requiring that a building's facilities and operations team engage in efforts with the owner and tenants to maintain the coveted RESET Certified status in perpetuity.

RESET Projects

Shanghai Starbucks Greener Stores Lab

RESET Embodied

Living Lab for Healthy Building and Workplace Productivity, China Academy of Building Research


Orange Connex Industrial Park

RESET Accredited

LEED Green Building Rating System

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the world's most widely used green building rating system. LEED certification provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, which offer environmental, social and governance benefits.

LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, and it is backed by an entire industry of committed organizations and individuals paving the way for market transformation.

Standard Content

LEED-certified buildings are critical to addressing climate change and meeting ESG goals, enhancing resilience, and supporting more equitable communities. LEED is a holistic system that doesn’t simply focus on one building element, such as energy, water or health. Instead, it looks at the big picture, factoring in all critical elements that work together to create the best building possible. The goal of LEED is to create better buildings that:

  • Reduce contribution toglobal climate change

  • Enhance individual human health

  • Protect and restore water resources

  • Protect and enhance biodiversityand ecosystem services

  • Promote sustainable andregenerative material cycles

  • Enhance community quality of life

Of all LEED credits, 35% relate to climate change, 20% directly impact human health, 15% impact water resources, 10% affect biodiversity, 10% relate to the green economy, and 5% impact community and natural resources. In LEED v4.1, most LEED credits are related to operational and embodied carbon. 

Project Typologies

Building Design and Construction (BD+C)

For new construction or major renovations. Includes New Construction and Core & Shell, and also includes applications for Schools, Retail, Hospitality, Data Centers, Warehouses & Distribution Centers and Healthcare.

Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)

For complete interior fit-out projects. Includes Commercial Interiors, and also includes applications for Retail and Hospitality.

Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M)

For existing buildings that are undergoing improvement work or little to no construction. Includes Existing Buildings, and also includes applications for Schools, Retail, Hospitality, Data Centers, and Warehouses & Distribution Centers.

Neighborhood Development (ND)

For new land development projects or redevelopment projects containing residential uses, nonresidential uses, or a mix. Projects can be at any stage of the development process, from conceptual planning to construction. Includes Plan and Built Project.


For single family homes, low-rise multi-family (one to three stories) or mid-rise multi-family (four or more). Includes Homes, Multifamily Lowrise, Multifamily Midrise. Homes and residential buildings that are greater than four stories may also use LEED BD+C.


For entire cities and sub-sections of a city. LEED for Cities projects can measure and manage their city’s water consumption, energy use, waste, transportation and human experience.


To achieve LEED certification, a project earns points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality. Projects go through a verification and review process by GBCI and are awarded points that correspond to a level of LEED certification: 

Certified (40-49 points)

Silver (50-59 points)

Gold (60-79 points) 

Platinum (80+ points)

LEED Projects

Shanghai Tower

LEED BD+C Platinum:Core & Shell

Shanghai Tower © 摄乐

Beijing Linked Hybrid

First LEED-ND Certified in China

BREEAM-Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method

BREEAM is the world-leading sustainability assessment method for the built environment and infrastructure. Project owners around the world rely on BREEAM to achieve their sustainability goals and improve the performance of their assets. The BREEAM framework is used to assess whole life performance, from new build projects to refurbishment and fit-out.

Standard Content

BREEAM provides a holistic sustainability assessment framework, measuring sustainable value in a series of categories and validating this performance with third-party certification. Each of these categories addresses influential factors, including low impact design and carbon emissions reduction; design durability and resilience; adaption to climate change; and ecological value and biodiversity protection: 

Management, Water, Energy, Transport, Health & wellbeing, Resources, Resilience, Land use & ecology, Pollution, Materials, Waste, Innovation

Project Typologies

BREEAM New construction

BREEAM Refurbishment & fit out

BREEAM In-use 

BREEAM Communities 


A BREEAM certified rating reflects the performance achieved by a project and its stakeholders, as measured against the BREEAM standard and its benchmarks. The rating enables comparability between projects and provides assurance on performance, quality and value of the asset.

Pass ≥30%

Good ≥45%

Very Good ≥55%

Excellent ≥70%

Outstanding ≥85%

BREEAM Projects

COFCO Landmark

BREEAM NC Excellent

Shanghai Jinmao Tower

BREEAM In-Use Outstanding

China Green Building

A green building is a building that creates a high-quality built environment throughout its life cycle by conserving resources, protecting the environment, reducing pollution and providing healthy, fit and efficient spaces for use in order to achieve a harmonious symbiosis between people and nature. Green buildings are designed, constructed and operated with a focus on sustainability and are committed to minimising their impact on the environment.

Standard Content

The green building evaluation index system consists of six categories of indicators: land saving and outdoor environment, energy saving and energy usewater saving and water use, material saving and material use, indoor environmental quality, and operation and management (for residential buildings) or whole life-cycle integrated performance (for public buildings). Each category of indicators includes control items, general items and superior options.

In principle, the evaluation of green buildings is based on residential or public buildings, and can also be evaluated on single houses. When evaluating a single house, all the indicators related to the outdoor environment shall be based on the evaluation results of the environment of the residential area where the house is located.

Evaluations of new construction, expanded and reconstructed residential or public buildings are conducted one year after they are put into use.


According to green building evaluation standards, green buildings can be classified into four grades: basic, one-star, two-star and three-star, with the three-star grade being the highest. These rating standards cover a wide range of building aspects, including energy use efficiency, water use, indoor environmental quality, material selection and reuse.

Green Building Projects

Beijing Daxing International Airport Project 

(Terminal Building and Interchange Centre, Parking Building, Cooling Station)

Green Building Three-Star

Nanjing Yangtze River International Conference Center Hotel

Green Building Three-Star

This article briefly analyzes several  mainstream green building standards, including their core values and practical examples, and shows how they are leading the green transformation of the building industry worldwide.


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