Many large corporations, hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations are placing significant emphasis on developing sustainable buildings. This movement, which emphasizes buildings that are certified with the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, is great for the environment and helps organizations demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
Although they are essential components of any LEED-certified sustainable building, there is more to sustainable building design than just using toxin-free green cleaning supplies and sustainable building materials. Human health is rapidly becoming a key priority for everyone — including architects, building engineers, and product manufacturers — across the sustainable design and construction industry.
In one of its Spring 2018 articles, the USGBC reports:
“From designs that bring nature’s healing effects into the workplace, to lighting that regulates energy levels, industry leaders and clients are prioritizing occupant health alongside energy and resource conservation.”
But, how can companies improve human health without relying on conventional cleaning methods? The answer lies in green cleaning and health-focused cleaning methods and processes.
The Advantages of Green Cleaning for Sustainable Buildings
One benefit of using green cleaning methods that focus on improving human health in your facility is that they provide points that you can count toward earning your existing building’s LEED certification — no matter whether the facility is LEED Certified™, LEED Silver®, LEED Gold®, or LEED Platinum®. The more certification credits you earn, such as the Green Cleaning credits, the higher your certification will be. For example, LEED Certified™ is the lowest rating, requiring 40-49 points and LEED Platinum® is the highest, requiring a minimum of 80 points.
Although no certifications are required for new constructions once you achieve a LEED certification, existing buildings that achieve LEED certifications fall under the Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance rating system. This means that the sustainable building certification must be recertified every three to five years (depending on the specific building type or categorization).
As a company that is International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) Cleaning Industry Management Standard for Green Buildings (CIMS-GB) certified, Pro Clean is dedicated to helping our clients maintain their LEED Existing Building: O&M certification. We abide by the LEED Green Cleaning Policy, the purpose of which is “To reduce levels of chemical, biological, and particulate contaminants that can compromise air quality, human health, building finishes, building systems, and the environment.”
What to Consider When Green Cleaning a Sustainable Building
When cleaning a sustainable building, there are specific factors that need to be kept in mind concerning how the building needs to be cleaned on a daily basis. This is particularly true for organizations in buildings with LEED certifications. Unfortunately, however, not all companies put a lot of thought into how the facility will be cleaned once it is built or when an existing building becomes certified. This leads to issues when it comes to trying to disinfect the work environment to promote human health.
Green building features are surprisingly important when it comes to green cleaning. For example, is the sustainable building designed in a way that is accessible for cleaning? What types of surfaces do you have concerning sustainable building materials? While an unfinished wooden wall may look attractive, it can’t be disinfected properly due to the nature of the wood’s surface. Or, a concern for restrooms is whether the surfaces are painted or tiled. Painted walls can’t be disinfected and cleaned like a tiled wall or floor.
Also, how is the building physically being cleaned? For example, at Pro Clean, we use Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) “green label” certified vacuum cleaners. Our ProTeam backpack vacuum cleaners are equipped with a four-filter system that removes up to 99% of all dirt, dust, and bacteria from your environment. Our team of ManageMen Operating System 1 (OS1) certified cleaning experts also use environmentally-conscious green cleaning products, processes, and equipment to ensure compliance with the strict LEED green cleaning standards.
To learn more about green cleaning for your sustainable building, please contact us today. To learn more about cleaning for health, get our complimentary resource by clicking on the link below.