CLEVELAND, OH – Going “Green” can be daunting for any organization. While there are many benefits, (notably a healthier workplace, improved value for facilities, and reduced liability, legal costs and insurance risks, among others), questions still exist. Companies wonder where to begin and spend a great deal of time searching for responsible partners they can trust to help them become more environmentally responsible and sustainable.
Greener, Healthier with Less Waste
The 850,000 square foot Lockheed Martin facility in Akron, Ohio and its management firm Ohio Realty Advisors were looking for a cleaning partner to help them reduce waste and improve the overall working environment. They had lofty goals for cleanliness, improving air quality and keeping their workers healthy and happy. GCA Services Group, Inc. has helped them achieve these goals and more since beginning work in January 2009.
“We are very pleased that GCA has implemented their CustomGreen cleaning program at the site,” said Gregory M. Hipp, Senior Property Manager with Ohio Realty Advisors. “We have already recognized some of the benefits of the program including a notable reduction in waste water. Ultimately, we are happy with GCA’s CustomGreen program and very excited to have our housekeeping on the leading edge of green technology.”
GCA is a leading national provider of quality facility services. Their proprietaryCustomGreen program offers a holistic approach to cleaning that includes using environmentally-friendly materials and procedures, and focuses oncleaning beyond appearance, resulting in both a cleaner and healthier facility. GCA’s proprietary low-impact environmental cleaningprogram has helped countless clients achieve such environmental honors as Platinum, Gold and Silver LEED certification. Many of the facilities they clean for different clients have been named the cleanest in their respective industries. The program aims to deliver what the company calls its “Triple Bottom Line” of environmental, economic and social benefits.
Another key to GCA’s expertise is continuousopen communications with their clients. They work closely with clients like Ohio Realty Advisors to establish a cleaning program that exceedstheir needs and environmental objectives, and communicate with appropriate staff every step of the way to explain and coordinate activities. As they continue to work together, GCA implements their GCAware™ and Quality Management programs, which closely monitor, track and create reports on daily and periodicactivity for their clients.
The GCA CustomGreen Program
GCA’s CustomGreen program is unique. Beginning with ongoing training of all custodial staff on the use of sustainable chemicals, products, tools and equipment, the company works hand in hand with its clients and selected vendors to build cleaning protocols specific to their facilities’ needs and specific environments. “One of our main objectives with implementing the CustomGreen cleaning program is to never sacrifice cleaning quality or effectiveness in relation to conventional methods,” said Jason Lee, GCA’s Training Manager and LEED Accredited Professional via the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), who oversees the sustainability objectives for the company.
“CustomGreen is about listening to our customers and being their partner in creating spaces that are clean, healthy and environmentally sustainable,” said Bob Norton, CEO, GCA Services, Inc. “We view green cleaning as our responsibility to leave the environment a little better off than we found it, and we think our program gives us the opportunity to help other organizations do the same.”
Once the client’s needs are determined, GCA associates implement standardized low-impactcleaning processes and procedures, developed by GCA staff, including USGBC LEED-accredited
Another important component that gives pause to many companies looking to be greener is cost.
“There are several economic, social and environmental intangibles that cannot be forecast until several months following implementation. These include waste diversion, improved air quality, reduced carbon footprint, improved occupant health and reduction of natural resources, thanks in part to proper implementation of the GCA CustomGreen cleaning program” said Lee.
Once on the job, GCA associates perform numerous green cleaning tasks, including custodial cleaning and maintenance, indoor air quality monitoring, management of recycling programs, duct cleaning and many others.
“A lot of pride and commitment goes into each tailored program, especially our custom approach to helping clients create a green cleaning system that answers their specific cleaning challenges,” said Lee.
For many clients, including the Lockheed Martin facility managed by Ohio Realty Advisors, their program has resulted in a noticeable difference in quality of environment.
Proven Track Record
While going green is currently a hot topic, GCA has been delivering environmentally sustainable programs since 2003. Along the way, they’ve been critical members of many influential groups. These include the aforementioned USGBC, as well as the International Facilities Management Association, Building Owners and Managers Association and the Diversity Council, among others. Further, the organization is GREENGUARD indoor air quality compliant and uses Green
Seal Certified (or equivalent) chemicals and LEED-approved equipment or products when deemed appropriate.
This pedigree has another key benefit for many of GCA’s clients. Those who have earned or are considering applying for LEED certification can rest assured that GCA’s CustomGreen program more than satisfies LEED requirements for green cleaning. One of GCA’s clients, the Oregon Health and ScienceUniversity’s (OHSU) Center for Health and Healing, chose GCA in part because of their history of contributing to LEED success.
"Being a high use, LEED Platinum, medical office building, with surgery suites, clinic spaces, wet labs, retail space including a gym as well as a heavily used conference center, our needs are unique and our standards are high,” said Lynn Purdy, CBRE, Building Manager for OHSU Center for Health & Healing. “GCA’s high level of service and consistent high quality is what really differentiates them from the rest of the pack. GCA is always willing to go the extra mile in providing outstanding service and we have never regretted our decision to partner with them."
The Complete Package
By listening to their customers and building each specific program under the CustomGreen umbrella, GCA Services has created a model green-cleaning program for the facilities maintenance industry. By offering a comprehensive, holistic approach and taking each client’s specific challenges into account, GCA has developed highly effective sustainable cleaning methods that work to protect occupant health and safety while greatly reducing the potential risks to the environment.