Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
November 2012 Feature 4

Sustainable Education Programs

Information gathering and distribution is evolving as quickly as the role of custodial professional.

November 1, 2012

Industry experts weight in on select topics surrounding educational facility cleaning programs, a topic of growing interest in the JanSan industry.

December 6, 2012 in Orlando, Florida, will mark the second session of the Sustainable Cleaning for Educational Facilities program held by the Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) in partnership with Cleaning Consultant Services Inc.

This one-day course covers all the following topics discussed and dozens more.

From a custodial operations standpoint, it is important to realize that how and what we use to clean a building has an impact on everyone who enters the facility.

From a broad environmental standpoint, how we construct, remodel and maintain facilities impacts the air we breathe, the water we drink and the ecosystem in which we live.Janitor Silhouette Mopping School Hallway

This is no minor point: Most people spend over 80 percent of their time indoors — be it in homes workplaces or entertainment destinations — and health and comfort are impacted positively or negatively depending on the condition of indoor environments.

Green cleaning and subsequent sustainable operation is a natural concern and responsibility for custodial professionals, as they know the building and its occupants better than anyone else and are already responsible for the care and custody of the property.

With a few minor changes and a broader understanding of how all the elements of building operations work together, custodial professionals are in the right position to help protect building occupants, the building owner’s investment and the environment.

Evolving Expectations

The words “green” and “sustainable” are often used interchangeably; but, green and sustainable are not the same thing.

Green cleaning relates to the chemicals, equipment and processes that are used to clean a building or facility.

Sustainable operation is a much broader and all-encompassing term that includes not only the products and processes, but long-term environmental, social and financial impacts related to the cleaning and maintenance of a facility or building.

Cleaning is no longer a simple matter of sweeping the floor and emptying the trash.

Over the last decade, the role of the custodian has evolved to include knowledge of and responsibility for health, safety, recycling, indoor air quality and security.

In addition, today’s professional cleaner must be able to recognize and service new and delicate surfaces that include natural stone, exotic woods, coated plastics, polished metals, faux fabrics and more.

Sustaining Infection Control

As another flu season bears down on us, it’s important to remember the influence this time of year can have on our facilities.

Due to the unpredictability of influenza, its severity ranges from hardly affecting populations to ferocity.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.”

AspergillusThe January to February period is primetime for flu outbreaks.

However, the official flu season encompasses all of autumn, winter and early springtime, so protecting ourselves and loved ones becomes an around-the-clock job.

Educational facilities are breeding grounds for germs, as most of us already know.

Flu season is the climax for germ transmission in many facilities, especially those with cold winter weather.

Sure, we already know that washing our hands and covering our mouths when sneezing helps.

But, a lot more can be done to help prevent illness.

Obviously, cleaning programs become the frontline of defense for all things related to the spread of pathogens, such as indoor air quality, cross-contamination, disinfection and the like.

However, many tend to forget the support programs around these subjects, including educating teachers and students and empowering them to assist in keeping a facilities clean.

Communication between facilities management personnel and other building occupants is essential to creating a solidified support system for cleaning programs.

Proper signage around restrooms and disinfection stations communicates the need for their use, also helping others understand why assistance from everyone is crucial.

Numerous educational facilities have students wipe down their desks before class begins or after class finishes to eliminate the necessity for extra manpower and place more responsibility on those using the building to help reduce the spread of pathogens.CMI Training

Empowering those who occupy commercial facilities is important in developing an understanding that cleaning is not only performed for appearance, but also for health.

Get Schooled

Sustainable Cleaning for Educational Facilities not only covers proper techniques for green, sustainable, high-performance cleaning programs, but it also defines the best implementation strategies.

Both hands-on and lecture-style teaching methods will develop attendees’ knowledge on a variety of areas and in numerous ways.

Though the course is structured around the specific needs for educational facilities, it has been attended by professionals from the healthcare and hospitality industries and is open to all interested parties.