Green Cleaning Trend and Commercial Cleaning Impacton
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), more than 17 billion square feet of commercial buildings have achieved LEED certification, including 20 percent of new commercial buildings, with building owners adding more than 2.2 million square feet of LEED-certified space per day.
The Council says the green building trend is driven by several objectives, including:
- Reducing energy consumption and costs;
- Attracting and retaining employees and customers;
- Enhancing health, well-being and productivity.
With this trend showing no signs of stopping, understanding that your cleaning feet could be subjected to review prior to achieving certification is important in making the right partner and product selections.
LEED-certified building managers need to meet and document their use of LEED High Performance Cleaning Standards, in addition to using sustainable construction materials and energy-efficiency products and practices. The standards are designed to provide a safe and healthy indoor environment by preventing and removing indoor air contaminants. Standards include having a comprehensive cleaning plan, providing training processes for cleaning crews, minimizing the use of chemicals, and using certified floor care equipment.
"We have focused our product development efforts on building vacuums that allow our customers and end users to meet LEED standards," says Dalvin Green, product manager for Sanitaire, whose product lineup includes several machines that hold the CRI Gold Seal of Approval, the institute's highest rating.
For example, vacuums must meet the requirements of the Carpet & Rug Institute's (CRI) Green Label program that capture at least 96% of particulates of 0.3 microns and emit operating sound below 70 dBA. Meeting the sound specifications also allow many building managers to shift cleaning activities from night to day, providing the added benefit of reducing energy requirements for heating, cooling and lighting buildings at night.
The application of LEED cleaning standards and the improved indoor environment have proven effective in employee recruitment, retention and productivity. A recent Green Building Market Report by Rob Watson, a founding member of LEED, estimated the 2.5 million employees working in LEED buildings will soar to more than 21 million by 2030, resulting in an economic value of $90 billion from increased productivity.