Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Going For The Gold

September 19, 2010

Like most people around the world, there is a good chance that you watched at least one Winter Olympic event in February.

If you did, you witnessed world-class athletes who have vigorously trained around the clock, adopting best practices in fitness, nutrition and technique to become the best in their respective sports.

Overcoming challenges along the way, these athletes have tirelessly worked toward the goal of standing up on the podium to accept a medal on behalf of their country.

Similarly, many cleaning professionals train for excellence in their careers.

By reading industry publications, participating in trade associations, developing best-in-class training programs and working with distributors and manufacturers to stay up to date with the latest products and technology, cleaning professionals strive to provide world-class indoor environments.

In fact, you can even help your building earn a Silver, Gold or Platinum rating through the U.S. Green

Building Council''s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Daylight cleaning is one process many cleaning professionals are using to evolve their cleaning programs or to fulfill the healthy, high-performance cleaning credit for LEED certification.

Just as the name implies, daylight cleaning requires workers to clean during the day when the building is occupied.

It is one more step you can take when developing an Olympic operation.

Daylight Cleaning At A Glance

Prevalent throughout much of Europe and Canada, daylight cleaning is now gaining steam in the United States as well.

While it can be customized to any facility''s needs — ranging from a call center to an engineering firm with sensitive blueprints and documents, for example — in a typical daylight cleaning program, cleaners generally begin working before offices open — around 7 a.m.

This allows cleaners to attend to duties in high-traffic areas early in the morning before occupants arrive.

Critical areas such as C-suites are also cleaned during this time so important meetings are not disturbed during regular hours.

Throughout the day, cleaners perform light-duty cleaning responsibilities such as general dusting, spot cleaning surfaces that are visibly soiled, emptying trash cans and vacuuming carpets with a non-motorized carpet cleaner.

If a tenant does not want his or her office cleaned, they can simply "wave-off" the cleaner, notifying the cleaner that they should return at a later time.

If there is an issue needing immediate attention, such as a coffee spill or an unstocked restroom, items can be tended to promptly rather than waiting for evening staff.

The result is a win-win for everyone involved, including cleaning staff, building occupants, cleaning managers and building owners.

Good For The Environment

According to the USGBC, commercial real estate buildings such as hotels, retail stores and corporate work places constitute 67 percent of the U.S. existing buildings market.

The waste and energy loss of these buildings has a substantial impact on the environment.

In the U.S., commercial building owners spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on energy.

Lights comprise approximately 22 percent of total energy costs.

By switching to daylight cleaning, businesses reduce the amount of electricity needed to light and heat their buildings by as much as 8 percent.

In addition to reducing the amount of energy consumed, daylight cleaning also assists in reducing the number of nighttime bird kills.

According to the Fatal Light Awareness Program, each year, more than one million birds die from window collisions stemming from confusion caused by lights shining from inside buildings.

In addition to causing significant changes to their migratory patterns, it can also cause death.

Ornithologists at the Field Museum of Natural History have confirmed that simply turning off bright lights during evening hours or closing window blinds can reduce bird kills by as much as 83 percent.

The environmental benefits of daylight cleaning are so substantial that they can contribute to LEED certification or environmental awards.

In 2009, Gulf Square Canada was presented with The Earth Award from the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada — an award that recognizes excellence in resource preservation and environmentally sound commercial building management.

"Our daylight cleaning system helped differentiate our operations from others under consideration," said Laura Newcombe, senior property manager of GWL Realty Advisors Inc. "We have always been dedicated to keeping our operations as energy-efficient as possible, and daylight cleaning is just another way we have been able to limit our environmental impact."

Good For The People

While there are many environmental benefits to daylight cleaning, there are also several other tangible and intangible benefits to the system.

One is the benefit to cleaning workers, which promotes good corporate responsibility.

There are several social benefits to a daylight cleaning program, including:

Safer commutes: Cleaning workers are often women who have to rely upon public transportation to commute to and from work. During evening hours, public transportation operates less frequently, increasing their exposure to potential crimes.

Improved language skills: Cleaning workers can sometimes have limited English skills. Daylight cleaning increases the workers'' interaction with building tenants, forcing them to communicate in English and improving their language skills.

Elevated confidence and self-image: Cleaning workers, unfortunately, are often not respected due to common misperceptions. Daylight cleaning helps personalize the task, giving tenants more appreciation for the work cleaners perform; in turn, this gives cleaners more confidence in themselves and the work they perform.

According to a U.S. News & World Reports article from October of 2004, a family that eats together stays together.

Daylight cleaning allows parents to spend more time with their children, limiting opportunities for children to commit delinquent acts or become involved with nefarious characters.

Greening During The Day

Green cleaning means cleaning in a way that reduces the impact of cleaning on the environment.

Because it also helps limit the impact of certain products and processes on human health, it is recognized as a best practice in cleaning and is something more cleaning managers are integrating into their operations.

For some, green cleaning is a mandate that comes from the top-down as businesses and building owners look for ways to differentiate their operations from the competition.

For others, it is the realization that switching from hazardous cleaning chemicals can improve the health of building occupants and the environment.

Regardless of the reason, green cleaning practices are becoming more widely accepted as best practices in cleaning.

If you have yet to integrate daylight cleaning, it is time to consider it for any best-in-class cleaning program.

As with any new process, you can expect to encounter hiccups along the way, but with the proper steps and communication, you can be on your way to a daylight "greening" program that can help win a Silver, Gold or Platinum award for your building.

Rob Kohlhagen is vice president of sales and marketing for DCS Global Enterprise, the leading consultancy for daylight cleaning programs. For more information on how daylight cleaning can improve your operations, go to or call 1-888-975-9955.