Sustainability is no stranger to the University of Maryland (UMD). It is engrained in the university''s campus, culture, curriculum and community.
UMD''s promise is to take responsibility for future generations and to sustain the natural environment.
This dedication is written in the university''s strategic plan and is demonstrated through leadership from the Office of Sustainability, established in 2007 to facilitate the development and implementation of sustainable policies and practices.
Yet, before the Office of Sustainability, there existed a Facilities Master Plan to operate campus facilities efficiently while protecting the environment.
In 2006, the Department of Residential Facilities led the change to Green Seal-certified products and equipment for the cleaning and maintenance of the campus'' residence halls and recreational facilities.
Now, facilities management — responsible for cleaning many of the campus office, laboratory and academic buildings — has followed suit by significantly increasing its use of Green Seal-certified products and equipment.
Continuing its leadership on campus, the Department of Residential Facilities applied for ISSA''s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification.
During the process of applying, ISSA introduced its Green Building (CIMS-GB) certification.
The Department of Residential Facilities building services staff already had been looking at other industry green certifications and was not finding a clear, cost effective option.
CIMS-GB came along at the right time, offering an easy-to-digest cost structure and alignment with UMD''s strategy and the objectives of the Department of Residential Facilities.
"The fact that CIMS-GB criteria meet or exceed the U.S. Green Building Council''s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Operations & Maintenance (LEED:O&M) criteria is a huge plus to UMD," says Jeff McGee, assistant director of building services for the Department of Residential Facilities.
CIMS-GB already has the Department of Residential Facilities set up for what''s ahead: A newly constructed, 750-bed residence hall — Oakland Hall — currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2011.
While the campus standard established in 2007 is that all new construction and major renovations achieve a LEED Silver certification, the goal set for the design and construction of Oakland Hall is to achieve LEED certification at the Gold level.
The CIMS-GB certification and knowledge of LEED requirements gives McGee an important seat at the table with architects and designers planning new construction and renovation projects.
McGee and his staff are heavily involved in the planning and construction of the new residence hall, providing architects and designers with their input regarding design and surface materials.
"We look for ease of maintenance, especially when it comes to floor surfaces and restrooms," McGee said. "It''s important we get involved because [building services] accounts for at least 11 to 12 points toward certification. We can help ensure the building earns LEED Silver, if not Gold."
Like the existing residence halls, the new hall will be cleaned using four core cleaning products.
This simplified product inventory, a CIMS-GB requirement, has reduced costs for the UMD Department of Residential Facilities building services because staff are no longer managing and using more than 20 products to clean buildings.
The products also are healthier and safer for staff and students.
It has always been the number one goal of the Department of Residential Facilities building services staff to provide students with a healthy indoor environment, but prior to CIMS-GB certification there was no way to validate that its cleaning program was green or sustainable.
CIMS adds value with a comprehensive checklist and third-party recognition.
"A lot of organizations can say they have a green cleaning program, but can they demonstrate that?" asks Keith Smith, assistant to the assistant director of building services for the Department of Residential Facilities. "CIMS allows us to show students what we are doing, such as how we''re trying to improve their indoor air quality."
The sustainability-minded campus community often approaches McGee and Smith with questions about facilities operations and with ideas for how to make the campus more sustainable.
Smith says one student proposed a change to a residence hall''s recycling program that resulted in keeping 25 percent more plastic out of the waste stream.
So how does UMD''s Department of Residential Facilities building services department work on the CIMS principal of continuous improvement?
"We''re just trying to stay ahead of the students," Smith said.
David Frank is a 30-year industry veteran and the president of the American Institute for Cleaning Science. AICS is the registrar for the ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standards certification program.