Page 24 - College Planning & Management, November 2017
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Sustainable Cleaning Programs on Campus
Across the country, colleges and universities have instituted green cleaning programs for the health of their campus environments as well as the people who study, work and teach in their facilities. Here is a small sampling of initiatives in place.
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY
Cornell University’s Department of Building Care works to ensure that the facilities on campus are maintained using the safest and most sustainable “Green Seal Certified” cleaning products. The university also makes sure to train all employees on the ideal usage of green cleaning products to ensure their ideal use.
Harper College
Palatine, IL sustainability/climate.php
As part of its commitment to the Climate Leadership Commitments (formerly the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment), Harper College has undertaken steps to clean sustainably using aqueous ozone technology.
The University of Tennessee Knoxville
Knoxville, TN
The University of Tennessee (UT) is dedicated to a clean, safe and acces- sible study and work environment. In order to achieve these things, UT has a Green Cleaning Program. The program began in 2006 when the univer- sity became the first in the nation to be Green Seal Cleaning Certified.
Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH
Oberlin College is a leader in the higher education green cleaning movement, dedicated to reducing the environmental impact made. The Facilities Management Department works closely with vendors to ensure that the products used on Oberlin’s campus are on the cutting edge of sustainability.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Buzzards Bay, MA
The Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) indicates that in order to build and maintain a sustainable building, it has adopted the MMA Green Cleaning Practices. This program is being piloted campus-wide. The green cleaning practices include the use of green cleaning chemicals, employing cleaning processes that benefit public health and the environment and purchasing environmentally preferable janitorial products.
are some other steps we can take to promote sustainability by us- ing cleaning tools and equipment readily available but sometimes overlooked. For instance:
Microfiber mops. Housekeeping departments and cleaning contractors often select microfiber mops because studies indicate they can be more effective at removing soils. However, microfiber also promotes sustainability because it uses less water and chemi- cal than traditional string mops.
Auto-dilution systems. An auto-dilution system is designed to dilute cleaning chemicals with water more precisely, based on the cleaning needs at hand. When mixed manually, either the custodian uses too much chemical or not enough, neither of which promotes effective cleaning; plus, it can also be wasteful and costly.
Paper products. Sustainable cleaning also involves selecting paper products that are made from recycled/recyclable materi- als. However, to help promote sustainability, consider choosing paper hand towels or toilet tissue on large rolls. Using large rolls and dispensers that hold multiple rolls can reduce overall paper consumption by 30 percent. Coreless options also reduce waste and increase the linear feet of product to ensure that paper towels and toilet tissue don’t run out.
Stretch floor refinishing cycles. At one time, many schools and universities had their floors stripped and refinished two to four times per year. Today that is simply no longer economically feasible, can have negative impacts on the environment and cer- tainly does not promote sustainability. Select high-performance floor finishes and have cleaning workers implement a system that stretches floor refinishing cycles. This includes more frequent cleaning as well as auto-scrubbing. Correctly performed, floor refinishing cycles can be extended to 18 and even 24 months.
Look to Cleaning
When college and university administrators look for ways
to become more sustainable, they often look for ways to reduce energy and water consumption, fuel consumption, etc. The action of cleaning itself and cleaning technologies are often overlooked. This is a significant oversight.
Your cleaning workers are closer to your buildings and building operations than anyone else on campus. Astute administrators should turn to them, not only to learn more about new, more sus- tainable cleaning technologies, but also to make the entire campus greenerandmoreenvironmentallyresponsible. CPM
Ron Segura is founder and president of Segura & Associates, an in- ternational janitorial consulting company based in the U.S. He has over 45 years of experience in all segments of the cleaning industry with 10 of those years spent overseeing the cleaning of over 4.5 mil- lion square feet for The Walt Disney Company. Ron can be contacted through his company website at

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