The Three Steps Facility Managers Need to Know When Transferring to Green Cleaning
While traditional cleaning products have served us well for decades, we now know that many contain ingredients that are potentially harmful to cleaning workers, building users, and the environment. This becomes all the more serious if these products are misused or not used as instructed.
One of the most significant problems with traditional cleaning products is that so many of them contain volatile organic compounds, commonly known as VOCs. These chemicals have been linked to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and the onset and exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
This is why transferring to green-certified cleaning solutions and green cleaning procedures are some of the first and most important steps a Facility Manager can take. These changes make their facilities more environmentally preferable, healthier, and safer.
And we have the research to prove it.
For instance, a 2015 study from Harvard University looked at IAQ which is directly related to the cleaning solutions used to maintain a facility, among other factors, and how IAQ impacts people. This topic has been explored many times before. However, the Harvard researchers took an entirely different approach.
Instead of looking at the problems of poor IAQ, they focused on the benefits of good IAQ, in situations where there were fewer VOCs and other pollutants in the air.
According to their study, “people who work…in offices with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores—in such crucial areas as responding to a crisis or developing strategy—than those that work in offices with typical levels.”*
Cognitive function refers to fundamental functions of the brain, including reasoning, awareness, perception, judgment, and intuition. Whether the facility is a school or a place of business, protecting cognitive function should be a top priority.
Aware of these benefits, more and more Facility Managers in California are turning to Service by Medallion to help them develop a green cleaning program. Typically, we advise them to do this in three stages:
- Transfer to healthier, green cleaning solutions. Managers and their contract cleaners should conduct an audit, evaluating all cleaning solutions currently used in the facility and determining which can be replaced by green-certified products. Efforts should also be made to reduce the overall number of cleaning solutions used in the facility. This frees up storage space, makes for easier training of cleaning workers, reduces packaging and transport needs, benefiting sustainability, and can help reduce costs.
- Review cleaning equipment currently in use in the facility. Green cleaning is far more than just cleaning solutions. It also involves vacuum cleaners, floor machines, carpet extractors, and other tools and equipment used for cleaning. It is essential to use vacuum cleaners, for instance, that have high air filtration systems. These prevent dust and contaminants from being released into the air during the vacuuming process. A Service by Medallion representative can help Facility Managers select more environmentally preferable cleaning equipment, tools, and cleaning solutions to be used in their facility.
- Green transparency. Discuss the transfer to green cleaning with building users. An effective green cleaning program requires that all stakeholders—management, staff, cleaning professionals, and building users—be aware of the program, the value of the program, and why it is being implemented—and that is to protect human health.
Put Service by Medallion to work for you. For more information on this topic or help with any building cleaning and operating need, contact a Service By Medallion Business Solutions Specialist at (650) 625-1010.
* “Green office environments linked with higher cognitive function scores,” press release, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, October 26, 2015. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/green-office-environments-linked-with-higher-cognitive-function-scores/.