Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Taking cleaning and science CIRI-ously

May 2, 2011

ATLANTA — The spring session of the 2011 Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) Science Symposium, which ran from April 27-29 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center, went off without a hitch.

Although opinions differed at times and some became passionate in their convictions, it was understood that all were present for a common goal: A professional and informative debate on the connection between green cleaning and science.

Attended by dozens of industry individuals, including manufacturer representatives, in-house professionals, service contractors, certification body councils and consultants, the two-day event sought to solicit a discussion on the relationship between clean and green.

In drawing connections between the need for science-based research as it relates to effective green cleaning, the 23 panel speakers presented ideas that sparked dialogue on myriad aspects of what green is, how it will be measured, the health benefits of sustainable operation and the future of the green movement.

One notion receiving widespread attention by those present was the idea of green confusion, often referred to as greenwashing.

It was agreed that science-based research and analysis is the most viable way to cut through the green tape.

The keynote address for the interactive event was presented by Dr. Richard Shaughnessy, program manager for indoor air research at the University of Tulsa.

Among the highlights of Dr. Shaughnessy''s address were notions that the level of cleanliness depends on building type, "clean" and "green" should be compatible and the need for a federal definition of "green building standards."

According to Dr. Shaughnessy, problems with schools and cleaning include:

  • Too few staff
  • Outdated equipment
  • Lack of effective training
  • General lack of understanding by end-users.

"Schools should be cleanable, have good ventilation and maximize natural daylight," noted Dr. Shaughnessy.

An undeniable conclusion was reached to the overriding question presented at the conference, "Green, clean and healthy: Are they mutually supportive or mutually exclusive?"

Green, clean and healthy conjunctively combine to promote safe indoor environments.

And, as was echoed by many in attendance, when "green cleaning" becomes just "cleaning," we will know we have won.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the next CIRI Science Symposium: Cleaning Effectiveness and the Science of Antimicrobials and Disinfectants, which will take place from November 9-11 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center.