Facility leaders share their thoughts on what to expect this year and beyond
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Not all product distributors and service providers offer the same things, so it is important to inquire specifically about offerings. This is especially true for new and small suppliers. Ask the service provider if it offers complete janitorial services, or just daily and routine cleaning. Some janitorial companies are not well-prepared to do complete floor maintenance, especially for stone floors or periodic deep carpet cleaning, which requires specialized equipment. And others may be prepared to do everything, including recycling, landscaping and even light maintenance.
It's also worth asking product distributors about the inventory of the green cleaning products available. It may be beneficial to have multiple lines of green products to ensure the best prices, especially for high-volume products such as chemicals, sanitary paper and plastic liners. This can help combat price increases and inventory shortages that can cause unexpected cost increases.
Ten years ago, when LEED for New Construction was still in its infancy and LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) was still being developed, it would have been understandable if a vendor was unfamiliar with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and LEED. But today, it is unimaginable to find a supplier touting expertise in green cleaning that is not. This is especially true because a comprehensive green cleaning program should, at a minimum, be built around the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) requirements.
So ask if the vendor is a USGBC member and try to determine the real level of involvement with and knowledge of LEED. For example, find out if the company just pays its dues in order to place the USGBC logo on its sales literature, or is actually knowledgeable about the USGBC and LEED. Ask if the company's green cleaning program meets the requirements of the current version LEED-EBOM, and find out whether the company is staying on top of the revisions currently taking place in anticipation of LEED 2012. If so, which prerequisites, points and policies can it deliver? Ask if it can help with the actual submission documentation, which could be very valuable if the building is in the LEED program.
How to Select Green Cleaning Vendors: Ask About Range of Services, Knowledge of Standards