LEED, WELL, RESET - What is the Difference?

Posted on December 1, 2017
by PureLiving

​Green building is a hot topic in Asia. Whether due to concerns around construction's role in global warming or in response to fears around protecting people from heavy pollution outdoors, everyone's talking. And, green building is making its way into the Chinese government's latest 5 Year Plan and into provincial and national standards. This week, we talk about three of the most popular certification standards: LEED, WELL, and RESET. Pay attention so you can hold your own at your next cocktail party!

LEED Certification



LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a traditional building rating certification, devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental impact of a building. There are four ratings; Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum, and buildings are given points for categories including sustainable sites, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and energy usage.


The latest version of LEED is known as LEED v4, an updated certification process which is more flexible and performance-based, calling for measurable results throughout a building’s life cycle and putting more focus on human health and environment than previous certification processes.

JLL shanghai office

LEED certification generally focuses on the physical building and its services, rather than the health of the occupants of the building. Points are awarded for design choices like: energy-savings measures, waste recycling, use of local instead of imported components, and low-emissions materials.

Parkview Green

PureLiving LEED projects include JLL, Parkview Green, Airbnb, Haworth, Glumac. 


WELL Certification

WELL certification


The WELL Building Standards are a series of certifications that broadly assess the built environment's contribution to the wellness of its occupants. The standards, rated Silver, Gold and Platinum, measure the relationship between people and the building, including air and water quality, the amount of natural light, sound quality, and plus policies about how people use and interact with the space they occupy, such as healthy eating areas of rest, and encouraging exercise.

WELL certificationWELL certification

Launched in 2013, WELL was the first building standard to focus exclusively on human health and happiness, in partnership with leading scientists, doctors, architects and wellness thought leaders.

WELL is unique from LEED in that it does not prescribe solutions, but rather allows the certification applicant to use whatever technology or solutions they like as long as they achieve results. Performance is audited after occupation by independent third-party assessors using rigorous, health-based standards.


PureLiving WELL projects include WPP’s GTB, M. Moser, JLL.


RESET Certification

RESET is a building certification which also places focus on the comfort and health of the building’s occupants, focusing uniquely on indoor air quality. Unlike LEED and WELL's indoor air quality testing, which is completed in one day, RESET relies on data gathered over 3 months from calibrated real-time monitors in order to be certified. This is actually a good thing because long-term monitoring tends to be more representative of our daily indoor environment and reduces the incentive to "game" the system by artificially increasing outdoor air, temporarily adding air purifiers, or reducing occupants or furniture to pass. Most importantly, by showing how good or bad air is on a constant basis, building owners, facility managers, and even occupants can begin to adjust their behavior based on immediate feedback. The technology-driven building standard certifies projects that meet the necessary standards; projects must be re-certified every year.

RESET certification


Like WELL, RESET is designed to be extremely flexible and results-driven, allowing projects to follow any path or design they choose as long as it leads to healthy results. However, as it is only focused on air, it is frequently selected as an easier to implement and less costly alternative to WELL.

Cordis hotel

PureLiving RESET projects include Langham Hotel’s flagship Cordis HotelMorgan Stanley, and Tishman Speyer.


In a word, LEED focuses on the impact of buildings on the outside environment, while WELL is about people, and RESET certifies ongoing indoor air quality performance.


Click here for how PureLiving can help you to earn green building certifications.


About PureLiving

PureLiving is a leading indoor environmental consulting company with a simple mission: to help our clients create healthy homes and workplaces. Our expert team of building engineers, HVAC specialists, and environmental consultants advises clients on air and water quality, mold, asbestos and lead exposure issues and helps to improve their indoor environmental quality through testing to identify sources of pollution and then eliminating them. Our total range of solutions includes pollutant testing, design and installation of cutting-edge filtration systems, monitoring, and odor and chemical reduction.

With operations in six cities across China, Hong Kong, and India, PureLiving is the industry’s provider of choice for assessment, engineering, implementation, and monitoring of indoor environmental quality. Find out more at

PL has helped over a dozen of the most prominent LEED, WELL, and RESET projects achieve certification, named by Parkview Green as One of the Top 4 Most Influential Consultants.

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