12 Green Steps to a Cleaner Building

July 30, 2009  /  building maintenance

Green cleaning services are the means to the end for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings.  Cleaning programs that promote sustainability, health, safety and social consciousness can earn LEED credits.  Green cleaning services improve indoor air quality, develop stalwart recycling programs, minimize the use of raw materials and eliminate the use of toxic products.Green cleaning services that pose a holistic approach to the building will be embraced by building employees and occupants alike.  Implementing the following 12-step program will have the LEED certified building on the way to the principles of sustainability that launched the LEED certification program.

  • Focus on interior and exterior walkways – most pollutants enter the building on people’s footwear.  Facility maintenance managers strive to trap the dirt before it gets through the door.  Once dirt does arrive, a 30-foot zone to trap the dirt should be designed.
  • Minimize particles and chemicals in the air – Facility managers should attempt to mechanically capture dust and dirt.  Cleaners should apply the cleaner to the cloth rather than spray onto a surface.
  • Use certified cleaning products – Green Seal and Environment Choice certified products are approved for use in LEED certified buildings.
  • Ensure strict compliance with green carpet care and vacuuming – Carpets can spawn mold growth.  Vacuum bags should be emptied often.
  • Launch preventive measures – enact a quick cleanup policy for unfortunate accidents in the building.  Involve building employees and cleaning contractors in the process.
  • Capture dirt and remove – Use micro-fiber dusting cloths and flat mops to capture dirt rather than move the dirt around.  Once captured, quickly remove the dirt from the building.
  • Identify touch points – door handles and push plates and any other areas where occupants place their hands must be cleansed at all times.
  • Disinfect restrooms properly – Bathrooms need proper disinfecting and cleaning techniques.  Green products are meant to dwell on surfaces before being removed.
  • Promote safety – Green products are safer but they still need to be color coded, properly labeled and properly stored.
  • Use recycled paper products – use recycled tissue paper and towels that are bleached without the use of chlorine.
  • Implement a recycling program – and get all building employees and occupants involved.
  • Create a communication program – open the green doors and get occupants and building employees on the same page about green cleaning and green maintenance.
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