Challenges To Green Cleaning In Commercial Buildings

Five challenges (real or perceived) that prevent many facilities from transitioning to green cleaning programs


https://facilityexecutive.com/2015/08/question-of-the-week-barriers-to-green-cleaning/
Five challenges (real or perceived) that prevent many facilities from transitioning to green cleaning programs
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Question Of The Week: Barriers To Green Cleaning?

Challenges To Green Cleaning In Commercial Buildings

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If you wish to transition to a more environmentally friendly cleaning program, what barriers (real or perceived) are you facing? And if you have implemented green cleaning—or are on your way, please share the strategies that you’ve learned along the way.

In the article below, Linda Chipperfield, vice president of marketing and communications for Green Seal addresses five myths that prevent many organizations from moving forward to green cleaning.

photo courtesy of Green Seal
photo courtesy of Green Seal

 

Busted! Top 5 Myths That Keep Green Cleaning Programs From Getting Off The Ground

Given the choice, most facility and property managers would prefer to use a green cleaning program.

Green cleaning products are safer for the environment and better for the health of occupants and staff. A green cleaning program will help enhance the image of building management as quality caretakers.

But, invariably objections are raised about cost, effectiveness, staff training, and difficulties with compliance. All of those concerns about green cleaning programs, while valid in the past, are unfounded now.

Here are some of the top myths about green cleaning programs and information that shows why these misconceptions should not be an obstacle to implementation of facility cleaning processes that are better for workers, occupants, and your bottom line.

Myth 1: Green cleaning products are hard to find.
Green cleaning products are plentiful, and new ones are being developed all the time. For example, about 1,300 janitorial products are currently certified green by Green Seal. But, unlike these products that are proven to be sustainable, many so-called “green” products don’t actually protect the environment. For that reason, you should use only cleaning products that have been certified green by a third party. These products are commonly available through your regular distributor.

“I can’t imagine a distributor worth their salt that wouldn’t carry green-certified products,” says Marion Stecklow, executive director of the Building Wellness Institute (BWI).

Myth 2: Green cleaning costs more.
The purchase price of certified green cleaners can be about the same or more than traditional cleaners, but in the long run, these green cleaners save time and money. When you use certified green cleaners, you’ll see savings and also have more room in your cleaning supply closet because green cleaning requires fewer cleaning products. Certified green cleaners can be used for multiple purposes, so you won’t waste time buying and testing multiple products.

According to BWI, a school in Georgia replaced 20 different cleaners with one Green Seal certified product, which saved $280,000 in one year.

Myth 3: Green cleaners don’t do the job.
Twenty years ago, many green cleaners didn’t clean as well as conventional ones, but today that is not the case. Some certifications, like Green Seal, require that performance testing for products be submitted. Many perceived problems with green products are actually due to the product being used incorrectly.

For example, when Stecklow followed up on a complaint about a green window cleaner, she found that workers were spraying it directly on windows. “It was to be used by spraying it directly onto a microfiber cloth,” she said. “Training and following product directions are key to using green cleaning products appropriately and effectively.”

Myth 4: Employees won’t like the change.
Change can be a challenge, especially when the same procedures and products have been used for years. If employees believe green cleaning products won’t work and will make their jobs harder, a product demonstration can convince them otherwise. Employees are also willing to change when they realize they will no longer be exposed to dangerous chemicals.

As one cleaning supervisor put it, “You shouldn’t have to give up your health to be a janitor.”

Myth 5: Management won’t buy in.
The multiple proven benefits of green cleaning appeal to smart leaders. Not only is the environment protected, but studies show that people who work in buildings with green cleaning programs have fewer health problems, which means fewer sick days, health insurance claims, and workers’ compensation claims. Green cleaning also meshes well with the progressive, proactive philosophies of many corporations, including the 80% of Fortune 500 companies that have workplace wellness programs. A number of states and local governments have mandated green cleaning in public buildings. Also, buildings that apply for LEED – EB (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings) must have a green cleaning policy as the prerequisite to obtaining the points necessary for certification.

And green cleaning clearly benefits the bottom line. For example, according to BWI, public schools in Syracuse, NY, received an additional $2.5 million in attendance-based funding because attendance rose 12% after a green cleaning program began. Green cleaning protected the physical health and well-being of students and improved the fiscal health of the school system.

If you wish to transition to a more environmentally friendly cleaning program, what barriers (real or perceived) are you facing? And if you have implemented green cleaning—or are on your way, please share the strategies that you’ve learned along the way.

Please share your insight or questions on this topic in the Comments section below.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Good article, Ms. Chipperfield. TBH, I didn’t give it much thought, but now plan to initiate a green clean program here at the office.

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