Vanguard Cleaning Systems
Green Janitorial Services
High performance green janitorial services are a mandatory component of LEED and USGBC certified homes and buildings.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the purpose of green cleaning and products is;
To reduce the exposure of building occupants and maintenance personnel to potentially hazardous chemical, biological and particulate contaminants, which adversely affect air quality, human health, building finishes, building systems and the environment.
High performance green cleaning program
The USGBC requires all LEED certified buildings to implement specific practices and procedures in order to acquire and maintain LEED certification, including:
- A staffing and training plan.
- Dilution equipment and training for chemical concentrates, and;
- The use of sustainable green cleaning products and equipment.
Staffing and Training
It’s really critical that the janitors understand their role in building management and operations maintenance. It’s the kind of thing that can be taught and it can be cultivated.
Dominique Hargreaves, Executive Director of USGBC-LA
There are three crucial elements to properly staffing and training a custodial team to meet strict LEED standards and guidelines.
- An appropriate number of qualified staff must be available to meet the facilities needs in a timely fashion and ensure a high level of cleanliness and indoor air quality.
- Each employee, not just the custodial staff, that may potentially come into contact with cleaning agents or chemicals must be notified and trained in basic emergency response procedures.
- The custodial staff responsible for the handling of the cleaning products and equipment will, additionally, need to be educated in the safe disposal or recycling of chemicals and equipment.
Dilution Equipment and Chemicals
Green Seal products are biodegradable and non-toxic, and so can be transported and stored in bulk concentrated form.
This provides several advantages to businesses and the environment.
- Reduction in shipping costs and associated pollutants emitted by transportation mediums.
- Reduction in management overhead required to inventory and adequately supply a business with needed products.
- Reduction in inventory space required to house cleaning chemicals.
There are several dilution methods and equipment types that align with the LEED requirements for waste, resource, and energy management and reduction.
Depending on your organizations needs and budget, the two most commonly used dilution methods are:
- Chemical Management System – Advanced CMS appliances connect directly to a water source and cleaning product containers and are programmed to dilute the exact volume of product with water without the custodial staff coming into direct contact with either, thereby eliminating potential hazardous contact, spills, and waste, as well as issues associated with improperly diluted chemicals failing to meet sanitation level guidelines. andnbsp;The drawbacks of this type of system are cost, additional training, and lack of mobility.
- Sealed Packets – A popular trend for home and office cleaning within multiple appliances, including laundry and dishwashers, are pre-measured and sealed packets containing the precise volume of cleaning product required to complete a well-defined task, such as the exact area of a floor that can be safely cleaned before a new mixture is required. andnbsp;Obviously, the mobility, ease of training, and low entry cost are driving forces behind the implementation of this type of solution. andnbsp;There are no significant drawbacks outside of the availability of certain types of cleaning agents delivered via this medium, as well as the need to carry additional packets in the event of a cleaning emergency, so a certain amount of ‘planning ahead’ will be required.
Sustainable Product Purchasing
LEED and USGBC standards exceed typical green cleaning expectations by requiring that the full lifecycle of a product align with stated waste reduction and elimination goals.
There are three specific areas requiring focus:
- All purchased products must meet the requirement of reuse or recyclability, including cleaning product containers and electrical equipment.
- Microfiber towels, wipes, and mops must be implemented to replace all cotton or cloth alternatives to align with documented water use reduction goals and policies, as well as eliminate the need for non-biodegradable solvents to sanitize certain surfaces and environments.
- Floor care equipment, such as vacuum cleaners, floor scrubbers, and dirt extraction systems must meet the Carpet and Rug Institutes Green Label or Seal of Approval requirements, respectively.
For More Information:
References and Resources
- LEED v4 Green Cleaning Calculator
- Use v4 credits on your v2009 project
- Innovation: Green cleaning policy/program
- EBOM-2009 IEQp3: Green Cleaning Policy
High-performance green janitorial services ensure a toxin free working environment that focuses on the health and safety, as well as the performance and well-being of all occupants.
The key to a LEED and USGBC certified building is indoor air quality, responsible resource utilization, energy conservation, and eliminating the use of non-biodegradable products; all of which are promoted benefits of green product purchasing and use.
The cost of planning, product procurement, and training make a strong case for outsourcing or augmenting your businesses green cleaning needs, especially for organization’s ready to step up to the plate and address the realities of our modern socio, ecologic, and economic business world.
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