Green Cleaning Standards Help Ensure Contractors Meet Cleaning Goals

By Casey Laughman, Managing Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Green Cleaning Programs Offer Greater Efficiency As Part Of Overall Sustainability PlanPt. 2: Western Michigan University's Green Cleaning Program Helps In Push For LEED CertificationPt. 3: This Page

If you're hiring an outside vendor, it's critical to make sure that it conducts its training and management programs in a manner that's compliant with the green cleaning standards you want to meet.

One way to do that is to adopt a program such as the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) developed by cleaning industry association ISSA. CIMS will be an alternative compliance path to the green cleaning section of LEED-EBOM v4.

CIMS, says Dan Wagner, director of facility service programs, ISSA, is intended to provide a way to manage your cleaning program to make sure it's living up to what you want to achieve, regardless of who cleans your facilities.

"From an in-house perspective, this basically lays out all the pieces of their program," he says. "From a contractor perspective, it's about being able to have third-party validation that you can, in fact, partner with your customer in pursuing LEED certification or in simply going green and making that commitment to sustainability. From an end-user perspective, it offers a level of assurance that the contractor they hire can do exactly what they want, which is make sure that their facility is cleaned in as healthy, environmentally friendly manner as possible."

Another alternative compliance option is Green Seal's GS-42. The main difference between the two programs is that while CIMS-GB is a specialized area of an overall cleaning process management system, GS-42 was built from the ground up as a green cleaning standard.

While Green Seal has been certifying products for years, the expansion into offering a standard shows how simply being careful what you buy isn't enough to be green, says Mark Petruzzi, director of outreach, Green Seal, pointing out how LEED-EBOM's requirements for green cleaning have changed.

"Products are important, but now they're taking that one more step and saying that a program is an important part," of green cleaning, he says.

Ensuring you meet green cleaning standards such as CIMS-GB or GS-42 generally means you can't just hire the cheapest contractor or budget a minimal amount for cleaning and expect green results. But, like other sustainability efforts, when it comes to cleaning, spending a little more up front can pay off in the long term, Strazdas points out.

"People should stop thinking short-term and start thinking long-term," he says. "People need to believe that, buy into that and support that."

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  posted on 12/17/2012   Article Use Policy

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