Environment Assured did my second and final home assessment. They are the only other Beijing-based company that offers testing based on mass concentration rather than particle count. Because Pure Living had offered me a free home assessment, I phoned Environment Assured to see if they would do the same. I was interested in comparing the two services. Charlie Thompson, the owner, was very open and willing. We had a great phone conversation.
Charlie and Daniel came to my house on a day when the outdoor air tested around 100. Again, it wasn’t ideal conditions (PM 200+ is more ideal) but it was workable. They were extremely friendly and the session also began with a discussion at the dining table followed by a walk around the house. It ended at the dining table as well – the session transformed into a riveting discussion and helped the science feel less dense, more social.
Environment Assured Pros:
- Water Quality: Charlie Thompson has distributed Aquasana water filters here in China for a long time and he was very informative.
- The price: They offer a home assessment at only RMB 800 per household – much more affordable.
- Free Follow-up Visit: included in the fee, to see how well you have implemented their suggestions.
- Willing to order and deliver air filters: no mark-up on their price, either.
- Leak Testing: they test all your windows, drains (etc) and discovered one of our balcony doors was not sealing properly. Very useful information!
- Window Sealing: they will book and supervise a window sealing company
- Loan of HEPA vacuum: They’re quite expensive, so it’s a bonus to try one first!
- Reporting: comprehensive and professional (and full of science!)
Environment Assured Cons:
- Delayed Follow-up: It took them 2.5 weeks to get me a follow-up report and that was after writing Charlie directly to remind him. (Update: some of these issues have since been tackled with a staffing change in Beijing!)
- Confusion Re: window sealing: the first service person claimed he couldn’t seal our types of windows and promptly left. To get another organized, I had to call them several times. This issue was obviously specific to our apartment, but it was still frustrating.
- Re-testing Not Automatic: My re-test still hasn’t happened. It’s obviously something the client has to organize and ours got lost in the shuffle caused by window sealing or the fact that our assessment was free, putting it at the bottom of their pile. Nevertheless, an automated follow-up program would be easily implemented and highly recommended. (Maybe this has also been rectified since their staffing change?)
Overall, comparing Pure Living to Environment Assured proved tougher than expected. The biggest difference is price, but I felt I got a more comprehensive service that was specific to my home with Environment Assured, at least in the testing process. Pure Living came out on top when it came to follow-up, however. But ultimately, they are both doing their jobs well in Beijing – one that hopefully won’t be a required service for much longer!
Photos: Courtesy of Ember Swift