The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is a voluntary, consensus-based standard for developing high performance, sustainable buildings. The independent rating system is acknowledged by real estate experts, national governmental agencies and state and local governments to be the benchmark system for green building practices.
Many financial incentives benefit LEED properties. In addition to the environmental advantages provided by LEED certifications, there are also health and social advantages. Simply put, LEED certified buildings are healthy, enjoyable places to work and live.
LEED standards are available for six building-related categories.
- New construction and renovation projects (LEED – NC)
- Existing building operations (LEED – EB)
- Commercial interior projects (LEED – CI)
- Core and shell projects (LEED – CS)
- Homes (LEED – H)
- Neighborhood development (LEED – ND)
For LEED EB certification, the building must accomplish a minimum of 31 points. Many of these points can be received for implementing and adopting green cleaning policies.
For example, an aggressive Occupant Recycling Program can earn between 1 and 3 points. Utilization of sustainable cleaning products and materials can also earn between 1 and 3 points. Educating the building’s staff as to safe and green cleaning procedures can earn 1 point. Green cleaning isolation of janitorial closets is eligible for 1 point while implementation of a low environmental impact cleaning policy also qualifies for 1 point.
There are other green cleaning initiatives that can help build points. While LEED certification is an admirable goal and while green cleaning can assist in qualifying existing buildings for certification, the immediate goal is a bit simpler.
The immediate green cleaning goals should always be to help overcome the “sick building syndrome” thus creating a healthier work environment and to make the actual cleaning processes safer for cleaning staff and building employees. There is an abundance of evidence to support the significant health benefits of green cleaning. Do the socially responsible thing and initiate green cleaning at your building.