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Sustainability

Change when you clean to go green

September 19, 2010
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Green is surely the buzzword of the day.

By now you know we are not talking about the color and we are not implying a lack of experience, instead we are spotlighting environmental responsibility.

Building service contractors are weary about the implementation of new technologies, waiting until these technologies prove their worth.

Green technologies are now proven to lead to greater efficiency and a greater return on investment.

Today, being green is a business requirement.

Green also refers to the desire to be more environmentally responsible in each aspect of your building operations.

Building service contractors use recycled paper, natural chemicals, motion sensors, and recycling programs as a beginning to their green programs.

Consider Day Cleaning
There are many more strategies that can be implemented to reduce your building’s environmental impact.

For example, buildings in both private and government sectors are illuminated for employees conducting daily business.

At night, the same lights and energy are used solely for cleaning, with minimal difference in the cost per kilowatt hour and the same environmental impact.

Therefore, it is clear that Day Cleaning is your gateway to environmental and fiscal responsibility.

To raise awareness of those responsibilities, San Francisco and Los Angeles asked building owners to turn off the lights for an hour on a specific night.

While an initial step, so much more can be achieved if you are truly serious about going green.

In the 1920s, green was not a consideration.

To the contrary, the availability of night work was considered a hallmark of success as concerns about environmental responsibility had not yet entered the public sphere.

There were many valid reasons for cleaning at night.

The equipment was bulky and intrusive, many chemicals, such as ammonia, had noxious odors and the noise levels of equipment made cleaning during the day impossible.

While these pitfalls are well-known, a recently published article by the Arizona Republic, titled “Night shift soon to be listed as probable cause of cancer,” stated that the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, will add overnight shift work as a probable carcinogen.

This is yet another reason to consider Day Cleaning.

In years past, it was perceived that making the change to green technologies and Day Cleaning was something that cost building service contractors time, money and effort.

Chemicals and recycled paper were typically more expensive, and unfortunately, less effective.

Green technology has now reached a tipping point and is not only environmentally responsible, but also cost-effective.

As we have advocated, Day Cleaning can also be the answer to the proper implementation of a truly environmentally responsible solution.

Today, we have quiet machinery, green and user-friendly chemicals, and a shortage of workers willing to work overnight shifts.

With Day Cleaning, staff is easier to find, security is stronger, cleaning costs are substantially lower — as much as 20 percent — and the electricity cost is approximately 13 percent lower.

Follow the trend
More of the world will likely continue to move toward Day Cleaning.

It fits into the 21st century as Night Cleaning fit into the last century.

If our industry continues to try to build around a workforce that does not exist today, we, as an industry, will cease to exist.

As an industry, we need to recognize the reality of our changing workplace and implement the Day Cleaning philosophy.

Day Cleaning has proven results that can be found in every public and private sector.

Factors that contribute to the success of Day Cleaning include improved battery technology, significant lowering of the decibel levels of vacuum cleaners, and improved employee retention.

The efforts of equipment manufacturers have eliminated many of the complaints typically associated with Day Cleaning.

Today, Day Cleaning is neither disruptive nor noisy.

In fact, customer satisfaction levels are higher.

The most important concept to remember when introducing a Day Cleaning program is that it is not just Night Cleaning done during the day.

Simply changing the time that cleaning is done does not make it a Day Cleaning program.

Instead, you need to reevaluate how you perceive cleaning and how that service is best delivered.

There are many items that play vital roles and can make Day Cleaning successful, such as personnel, training, equipment, chemicals, communication, and cleaning specification.

Workloading, evaluations, and experience can make the difference in the proper implementation of a Day Cleaning program.

Implementing the change
Here is a list of things to keep in mind for a winning implementation:
  • Cleaning between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. is considered Day Cleaning.
  • Day Cleaning allows for customized services for the building owner, manager, and tenants.
  • Marketing the awareness of change allows both the client and tenant ample opportunity to understand both the green and financial advantages. Additionally, it is important to prepare the building occupants for the conversion that is in planning. By informing them, they can express any concerns they might have about the conversion, thus avoiding any potential problems.
  • Day Cleaning is perfect for two “cross-over” shifts. Cross-over shifts allow for additional coverage over the lunch period and allow an early start to care for special areas, such as executive areas, entry lobbies, and restrooms.
  • Personality becomes a vital part of the cleaner’s skills. How a worker is perceived becomes an extremely important part of the interaction between service staff and the client staff.
With Night Cleaning, the cleaner has no idea of the likes and dislikes of those they serve, while with Day Cleaning, the customer sees the work being performed and realizes that the cleaner is a trained professional who knows what he/she is doing.

The benefits of a Day Cleaning program are enormous.

A transition to a daytime cleaning program could save as much as 20 percent on electricity and other cleaning related costs.

Employee turnover drops dramatically and tenant complaints are significantly reduced.

Your competition will be green with envy over your custodial program.

Your company will be green — flush with money — from your savings in labor and utilities, and so will your customers.


Ian G. Greig is CEO and Christopher M. Mowen is COO of Daniels Associates Inc., an agency that designs and implements innovative solutions that save energy, reduce operating costs, and improve building performance. For more information,visit www.danielsworldwide.com.
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