As a custodial professional, either in-house or by contract, you spend a lot of time focused on the bottom line.
Any change to your brand or your service has to either save you time and money or differentiate your business enough to make the effort worthwhile.
A certified green cleaning service can be one of those differentiators.
Adding sustainability to your portfolio can improve your service and set you apart from competitors.
The GS-42 Certification
The green cleaning policy requirement in the new LEED EBOM Version 4 has two options: Either the building must have an in-house cleaning policy, or it must be cleaned by in-house staff or a building service contractor (BSC) that is certified under GS-42 or Cleaning Industry Management Standard for Green Buildings (CIMS-GB).
Green Seal is the non-profit, independent organization behind GS-42 certification, and we’ve seen a steady increase in demand for certified green cleaning services across the board.
This trend can be attributed to a number of factors.
First, green cleaning can save an operation time, and we all know time is money.
Following the procedures for regular maintenance and quick attention to spills can prevent lost hours from breakdowns and special treatment later.
Better training and working conditions results in greater staff satisfaction and retention, meaning less of your time is spent recruiting, hiring and retraining.
This addresses one of the largest controllable expenses most companies face.
Green cleaning can save you money.
Although sustainable cleaning involves much more than just using green products, when you switch to certified green cleaning chemicals you will be able to reduce the number of products needed in inventory, thus lowering your investment in supplies.
And offering a green cleaning program will usually lead to more efficient processes and procedures.
Greater efficiency means more time available to clean more square footage which puts more money straight onto your bottom line.
Green cleaning can set you apart — it’s a market differentiator.
With so many companies vying for the same business, having a competitive advantage has become a necessity.
Green certification for your commercial cleaning service or property adds a unique credibility to your value proposition.
“The cleaning business is a tough competitive market,” says LeRoy Dock, president of GSI Eco Healthy Cleaning. “Anything you can do that can bring value will help increase sales.”
Many services we’ve heard from say they have been hired because of their certification.
Achieving credible third party certification for your service can be the tie-breaker that results in more business for you.
Green cleaning protects your clients’ environments.
A sustainably-cleaned building provides a healthier place for people to live, work and play.
That can mean less sick days for tenants, a reduced demand on local utilities and a better relationship with the community.
It also increases your professional image and value proposition in the eyes of the tenant.
It allows you to develop a partnership with them to promote the environmental sustainability of their facility.
Green Seal has seen facilities from airports to retirement homes specifying green cleaning in request for proposals.
They often have different reasons for wanting to go green, but the demand is there and it increases daily.
They are seeing the benefits and the ROI, and are promoting their sustainability as a differentiator.
A Few Examples
Hospitals and healthcare facilities like Charlotte NC Surgery Center and Mountain Empire Surgery Center in Tennessee.
Using green products reduces the health impacts on already vulnerable populations.
Colleges and universities like the University of Maryland, Harvard University and George Mason University.
Utilizing green cleaning procedures in classrooms and dorms can improve attendance and academic performance, and according to the College Board, 68 percent of high school seniors say their enrollment is influenced by a college’s environmental policy.
Stadiums like the Nationals Ballpark in Washington, the first Major League Baseball stadium to be LEED-certified.
High-profile public buildings like stadiums are always looking for ways to promote their community awareness and may face pressure from their host cities to minimize environmental impact.
Government buildings like the Federal Trade Commission building, Homeland Security and the Census Bureau in Washington.
Government purchasers often have to abide by environmentally-preferable purchasing mandates.
Airports like those in Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey.
Well-defined, property-specific cleaning procedures are particularly beneficial for large, multi-facility operations.
The green cleaning policy changes in LEED are a very good trend in the facilities maintenance world.
When a property is cleaned in a sustainable way, tenants and clients win, services win and the environment wins.
The demand for certified green cleaning services will continue to rise, and those facilities and services that can prove their sustainability in a credible way will have the market advantage.
Linda Chipperfield is the vice president of marketing and communications at Green Seal. The original “Green Seal of Approval” was created in 1989 to help safeguard the health of people and the planet. As an independent, science-based standards developer and certification body, Green Seal identifies products and services that are environmentally responsible and provides public education for creating a more sustainable world.