Besides aesthetic considerations, maintaining a clean facility has numerous benefits including prolonged useful life of building components, improved indoor environmental quality, reduced exposure to pathogens, and it can even mean improved efficiency lowering energy costs. So it should come as no surprise that “green cleaning” practices are integral to more sustainable operations and maintenance of various buildings.
Under USGBC’s LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED O+M, or EB:OM) certification program, for example, an entire section/category exists relative to green cleaning. In fact, just to meet the prerequisites for certification under LEED O+M, certain policies and minimum requirements for green cleaning must be in place.
In my own personal experience, I’ve found that the folks at the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) aren’t too keen on endorsing third party rating/certification systems, such as what USGBC has developed. Therefore, IFMA has developed its own recommendations and guidelines for green cleaning. Jessica Lyons Hardcastle, writing for Environmental Leader, has more:
The guide, Sustainability How-to Guide: Global Green Cleaning, was originally published in 2009 and updated in 2011. It has been updated again to reflect recent changes and industry trends and is available for free download.
It examines green cleaning from a facility management perspective, providing the tools needed for facility management professionals to understand the benefits and make the business case for a green cleaning program. The guide also addresses the need for a more widespread use of green cleaning practices as well as the steps involved in implementing such a program for many different organization types.
What’s the Point?
In addition to having a smaller environmental impact compared to their traditional counterparts, green cleaning products can improve occupant health and wellness — and drive business benefits such as improved employee productivity.