The Georgia Institute of Technology’s newly-certified Green Cleaning Program is one of only six higher education campus programs in the U.S. to be recognized under the the Green Seal Standard for Cleaning Services (GS-42). Georgia Tech’s Green Cleaning Program was certified by Green Seal™ — a nationally recognized organization that provides stringent standards and certification to protect human health and the environment — for its leadership in sustainable cleaning.
“We are extremely proud of the Building Services Department achieving the Green Seal GS-42 certification, which is a testament to Georgia Tech’s dedication to improving human and ecological health through better processes and technology,” said Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management Mark Demyanek.
Green Seal certification verifies that Georgia Tech’s Green Cleaning Program has undergone comprehensive performance testing and on-site inspections to prove cleaning efficacy, while supporting the well-being of people and reducing impact to the environment. Key requirements of certification include cleaning equipment and procedures, purchasing, training, labeling, and communication. Each of the criteria is rigorously reviewed before a cleaning service is able to obtain this reputable mark.
Georgia Tech’s Green Cleaning Program improves indoor air quality through a reduction in volatile organic compounds found in traditional, commercial cleaning chemicals. The program uses nontoxic, biodegradable products and limits student, faculty, and staff exposure to chemicals and contaminants. By reducing chemical exposure, the cleaning program enables its students to be in a better position to learn and supports a better future for the environment. Implemented and managed by the school’s Facilities Management department, the program has also reduced the volume of chemicals used to clean the campus by 56 percent from 2008 levels, and resulted in cost savings (see chart).
The Facilities Management department achieved its green cleaning goals by using:
- Ionized water, which is 80-200 times stronger than bleach, instead of harsh chemical cleaners
- Micro-fiber mops and rags as well as Green Seal certified cleaning agents
- Purchasing policies that are regularly updated to support the procurement of green products and supplies
- Continuous training of custodial staff on green cleaning methodology and benefits, as well as how to minimize impacts to “vulnerable population” occupants such as children.
- Backpack vacuums that have high-filtration, quiet operation and exceed HEPA requirements throughout campus.
“As the first university in Georgia, and the first in the southern U.S. to receive GS-42 certification, Georgia Tech’s Green Cleaning Program will be seen as a leader and model for other schools in the region,” said Dr. Arthur Weissman, President & CEO of Green Seal.
The Green Seal certification is the latest accomplishment in the Green Cleaning Program’s on-going evolution since its official inception in 2003. The announcement of the certification came on the heels of winning the Grand Award in Green Cleaning, the highest honor given in the Annual Green Cleaning Awards for Schools & Universities.