Restaurant owners may initially be resistant to what they perceive as the prohibitive costs of new technology required to make a building “high performing”, but the creative team responsible for the world’s first restaurant to achieve RESET CI and CS think otherwise.
“Upgraded ventilation, filtration, sensors and monitoring technology can be added with only fractional cost increases while maximizing building performance gains. And the increased public attention that RESET certification has generated, may open up channels of funding that have not existed before, whether through government, NGO’s, or even engaged customers” states Nathan St Germain of Studio St Germain, the award-winning architectural firm behind the Sewickley Tavern success story.
RESET Air is the world’s first sensor-based, performance-driven building certification program where air quality (AQ) is continuously monitored and measured in real-time.
Pursuing it is NOT for the faint of heart!
In order to achieve what has been described as the world’s most comprehensive air and data quality certification program, project teams must commit to making concerted efforts to cooperate with multiple stakeholders including the building owner, operations and maintenance teams, and occupants alike. It means working collaboratively for the ongoing maintenance and care of hardware, software, the building’s operations and making a commitment to further expanding the education that surrounds data quality and the built environment.
“Think of RESET as a means to decouple the two parts of the air quality equation. On the one hand, you have the building’s mechanical and air delivery system itself, bringing in outdoor air, filtering it, heating and cooling it and sending it to indoor spaces; it’s the “lungs” of the building. On the other hand, you have all of the interior spaces, full of occupants, tenants, visitors or in the case of hospitality, diners and staff. In these spaces, much of the indoor air quality is the result of occupant behavior and is directly linked to the activities occupants are participating in. Whether it be cooking, burning candles, smoking or using chemicals for cleaning, occupant activities can totally dismantle even the very best air quality coming from the core mechanical systems. Having the ability to decouple these two parts of the equation is the genius behind RESET Air; it clarifies beyond doubt where air quality issues are stemming from so that precise adjustments can be implemented efficiently. Basically, it removes the “finger-pointing” that besieges so many building’s tenants and O+M teams.” Anjanette Green, Director of Standards Development and co-author of the RESET Standards.
Certification is applicable to indoor spaces (commercial interiors) or for the building’s ventilation system (core and shell). Typically, project teams select one or the other certification options that suit their situation and building typology. But the Sewickley Tavern team set out to do something completely aspirational, something no other project had ever done….
“Achieving certification for an interior space (CI) or for core and shell (CS) is a major undertaking in itself,” says Green. “No other project had ever set out to do what the Sewickley Tavern project was about to do.”
And that was to pursue both CI and CS certifications to become the first restaurant typology in the world to attain such an accolade.
Projects seeking RESET Air certification, must maintain threshold levels over a three-month period, called the Data Audit phase. This phase is key to a project’s success and in part, serves as an opportunity to review and assess their mechanical system, air filtration design and ventilation equipment to identify any air quality problems.
For Sewickley Tavern, they had to meet the requirements for both the core mechanical systems and for the interiors as well which are very different in both thresholds and in the way monitors must be deployed.
“In the best of times, installing specialized equipment can have its challenges. With the COVID pandemic, we experienced unexpected delays with typically routine tasks all along the supply chain. But with a little perseverance, we brought the project to completion. If that’s possible for a small, independent restaurant during a pandemic, then it’s possible for any typology, any time.”, says St Germain.
Despite the unforeseen delays, the hiccups served as valuable insights to help enforce the team’s expertise in the field and began the data audit phase on February 11, 2020.
To pass the Commercial Interiors performance criteria, the project had to meet the following air quality thresholds:
To pass the Core & Shell performance criteria, the project had to meet these air quality thresholds:
Of special note is the RESET requirement which mandates the continuous monitoring of both temperature and humidity as part of the certification criteria. While there are no thresholds for these two indicators, in the era of SARS-CoV-2 where research shows a correlation between viral survivability and cold, dry air conditions, having detailed, minute-by-minute readings of temperature and humidity has become central to any viral protection plan.
“Knowing that this virus seems to prefer cold, dry air, it is imperative that we watch these metrics with unwavering focus; they are instrumental parts of our healthy, air quality plan and anything we can do to inhibit the spread or proliferation of the virus is worth employing’” adds Green.
But RESET Certification doesn’t stop at air thresholds. Further to the ethos of RESET, is that data quality is tantamount to success. Reaching that level of success means that projects like Sewickley Tavern not only must meet the rigorous monitoring deployment criteria but must deliver quality data as attested to by third-party audits, a safeguarding feature unique to the RESET program.
"I do not think many people fully grasp the importance of having data handled by an authorized source. At a time when owners and occupants alike want to understand how a building is performing, it is shocking how few buildings are tapping into their building data and ensuring its validity and accessibility through reliable sources. With the RESET Standard, accredited data providers are compulsory and are subject to audits at any time. AUROS360, the intersection between building science and data science, building performance technology, exists to chart a cost neutral path to zero energy ready and world-class indoor air quality. As a RESET Accredited data platform, we are proud to add Sewickley Taverns to our portfolio of projects committed to data integrity and accessibility.” says Beth Eckenrode, Co-founder, AUROS Group.
“This project has provided invaluable learning for designing “RESET-ready” buildings. The RESET standard is a key component of part of our firm’s High Performance Program, and this project has empowered our team with the firsthand experience and knowledge to pursue it with confidence on future projects,” added St.Germain.
After successful deployment and data performance period, the project’s efforts culminated in the proud achievement of CI certification on 7th May, 2020 and CS certification on 1st September, 2020.
“We originally chose RESET for this project because it was the logical, best-practice choice for air quality and energy data monitoring. We never guessed that we’d be hit with a pandemic and that concern about indoor air quality would become the focus of every business owner going forward. So we unexpectedly got a jump start on the rest of the market. We already have several months of air quality data and RESET certifications as society is re-opening. So our client now has data-driven proof that a the restaurant is safer for both employees and customers”, says St.Germain.
This RESET certification is showing the world how very attainable a high-performing restaurant building can be. All it took was commitment, information, and action. Now, Sewickley Tavern provides the best air quality any restaurant can offer, along with an energy-efficient, comfortable, and acoustically-sensitive environment. That gives it a unique, competitive advantage for a post-pandemic market.
Name: Sewickley Tavern
Type: Restaurant; Hospitality
Location: Sewickley, Pennsylvania
Owner: Sewickley Tavern, LLC
Certified Area: 3731 sq.ft ( 346.6 sq.m)
Certification Date(s): Commercial Interiors: 7th May 2020 Core & Shell: 1st September 2020
RESET Standard(s) Applied: RESET Air Certification for Commercial Interiors v2.0, RESET Air Certification for Core & Shell, v2.0.
RESET AP: Nathan St Germain, Studio St. Germain
RESET Accredited Monitor(s): Tongdy PMD-1838C, TF93-10010-QLC, MSD 1838C
RESET Accredited Data Provider: Auros Group AUROS360
About the RESET® Air Building Standard
RESET Air is the world’s first sensor-based, performance-driven building standard and certification program where indoor air is measured and reported using continuous monitoring. The RESET Air Standard is comprised of a series of comprehensive standards outlining requirements specific to the performance, deployment, installation and maintenance of monitoring devices, data analysis calculation methodologies and protocols for data communication. In order to be recognized as RESET Air Certified, buildings and interiors must consistently maintain indoor air quality thresholds.
About Studio St Germain
Studio St.Germain is an award-winning architectural firm specializing in high performance design and services for a full range of commercial and residential applications. Emphasizing sustainable building principles, they offer a wide range of options for clients who value building performance as much as design, including their High Performance Program. Studio St.Germain is located in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. More information is available at www.studiostgermain.com.