As RESET™ for Projects continues to grow, requests for certification have emerged from atypical areas, the most recent of which are professional sporting events.
The news of athletes refusing to compete in China due to air quality issues is not new. However, judging by the sudden interest from sporting events, there seems to an ever increasing number of boycotts, especially in the wake of the recurring Beijing and Shanghai Airpocalypses.
Athletes need clean air in order to perform at the best of their ability. A week spent competing in a polluted environment can negatively effect an entire season. Star athletes like Rafael Nadal are known for training in highly filtered environments.
BREATHE, a collaborative composed of GIGA, PureLiving, PureAir Spaces and Haworth with the goal of accelerating research on healthy, high performance interiors.
Event spaces are notoriously hazardous in terms of health. They are cobbled together quickly, using cheap, toxic, and fast drying glues. Carbon dioxide levels peak at 3-5 times maximum health levels due to the high concentration of people and lack of ventilation. Spaces are unfiltered and particulate levels are typically higher than outdoors, combining exterior levels with indoor ones caused by foot traffic and construction. Two hours indoors results in dizziness, itchy throats and head aches. What the cumulative health impact is of spending 3-5 days in these spaces is anyone's best guess. We know that formaldehyde exposure can lead to leukaemia, yet the tipping point from cumulative exposure has yet to be determined.
The health of people is typically the last concern of event organizers, when it should be the first. As strange as this may sound, event organizers should learn from Casino operators, who figured out a long time ago that clean, well oxygenated air meant that people were able to stay alert and play for much longer periods of time. If events prioritized clean air visitors would stay longer, be more alert and more engaged. So would vendors. ROI would increase and people would be healthier.
In the case of the Player's Lounge, low VOC furniture and furnishings were selected, with nothing being glued down. Several, high volume filtration units were used to remove particulates while minimizing energy consumption. Results were monitored for 4 days and displayed publicly in real-time. The overall goal was to establish a baseline for these types of temporary projects.
Overall, the results were well within RESET™ standards. PM2.5 levels hovered between 10 and 20, well below the limit of 35ppm. VOCs (chemicals) during occupancy hours were about 0.15 ug/m3, well below the limit of 0.5 ug/m3. However, they rose significantly after hours due to custodial activities, reaching levels as high as 2.5 times above health limits. Awareness to the negative impact of standard cleaning products remains extremely low in China. Finally, CO2 levels were maintained at a constant 400ppm, well below the limit of 700.
Clean, well oxygenated air is food for the brain and the most primary fuel for our body. It affects the performance of athletes playing for 2 hours as much as it affects the performance of office staff working through 8 hours a day. Roger Federer took the Cup home this year and we like to think that the winning difference was the time he spent in the Lounge. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but what is certain is that the Rolex Masters Cup has set a new benchmark for professional sporting events.