8 Small Steps Towards Green Cleaning

Looking back at the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating and certification program, it was filled with so much foresight that very few people could have anticipated the astounding acceptance and growth of the certification program.  Even the USGBC was unprepared for the broad acceptance.The newest LEED v3 program is a far-reaching program with comprehensive solutions for the rapid advancements in sustainable construction and technology.  With this new program, the USGBC has conscientiously addressed a wide range of unanticipated green activities.One of those activities is the implementation of green cleaning services to be used in LEED certified buildings.  Converting to a green cleaning system requires a commitment to change.  Every building occupant and every employee of the building should be aware of the conversion and what specifically the conversion means to them.  Sustainable efforts gain strength through transparency.Every green cleaning program has many parts but all systems have eight steps in common.

  • On-site training is preferred – the green cleaning service provider and suppliers should be invited to conduct training for proper use of manufactured products.  Cleaning procedures approved by LEED should be practiced in the facility.
  • Training for the facility maintenance manager’s recycling program.  All recyclable content should be identified and recycling bins should be labeled and identified.
  • Facility managers should review various green cleaning guides and adopt appropriate procedures.
  • Develop a specific list of Green Seal or Environmental Choice certified products to be used for cleaning services
  • Specify recycled-content janitorial paper products and trash bags that at least meet the minimum EPA requirements.
  • Reduce total number of inventoried cleaning products by using multi-purpose cleaners and concentrates.
  • Isolate janitorial closets and supplies thus reducing exposure to occupants.
  • Formulate a plan to reduce the number of trashcan liners used on site.

These eight steps are merely a beginning.  However, they are easy to implement and easy to manage.  The facility maintenance manager should be involved with the implementation m of every step.  Managers will be pleasantly surprised with how building occupants react to green cleaning procedures.  Everybody wants a clean, healthy place to work.  After all, that is one of the founding principles of the LEED certification program.

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