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Sustainability

Sarasota School District Goes Green to Save "Green”

September 19, 2010
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Shrinking Budgets and Rising Demands
With attendance and usage in schools on the rise at the same time that school budgets are getting tighter, facility managers are seeking new innovative solutions to stretch their precious resources. Their decisions have to take several factors into account - how to clean faster, healthier, and in a way that’s most responsible to the environment.

Responsible for the maintenance, health and safety of 50 facilities, a lot weighs on shoulders of Jody Dumas, Facility Services Director, and Lou Stoecklin, Facilities Services Supervisor, of the Sarasota County School District. With 7,200,000 square feet accommodating 42,000 students, every night is a new mission with speed and thoroughness the keys to success.

Unfortunately, most educational institutions don’t always place a lot of emphasis on their cleaning programs and they usually get the short end of the budget. Cleaning for appearance is usually the protocol, and it’s not until complaints and illnesses start rolling in that the situation is reassessed.

“Maintaining a sanitary state in our buildings, especially the restroom, is a challenge, but it’s very important to the students,” Jody remarks. “These areas must be cleaned completely and properly to remove harmful biological pollutants and reduce the risk of disease. Cleaning for health, not just appearance, is our ultimate goal.”

With a constantly squeezed budget, they knew they needed new technologies to help them pinch the most out it, while improving quality at the same time.

Go Green to Save “Green”
Since the district was already “greening” their operations including LEED certified construction, the maintenance department began a green program of their own. This allowed them to reassess their current practices and convert to a more environmentally responsible means - one that would also save them some “green” on the bottom line.

With MRSA breakouts in surrounding Florida school districts, and government health standards that weren’t being met, it was time to throw out the old tools and look for new options to keep their district healthy.

Lou, familiar with Kaivac’s cleaning systems, introduced the concept of No-Touch Cleaning to the district. Designed to remove the maximum amount of soils, bacteria and other indoor pollutants, the Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning system combines automatic chemical metering and injection, an indoor pressure washer, and a wet vacuum into a single integrated system. After an on-site demonstration, they decided to conduct a pilot with two machines, targeting their most troubled schools.

With the success of the initial two pilot KaiVacs, Jody and Lou knew they needed to implement them in all of their facilities. The results spoke for themselves making it an easy sell to the district.

A Better and Healthier Way to Clean Green
Prior to the KaiVac, custodians cleaned the restrooms using traditional tools. No matter how hard they tried, they simply couldn’t remove enough soils and bio-pollutants.

With No-Touch Cleaning, the custodian applies cleaning solution to all fixtures and floors. After allowing the solution to dwell, they blast-rinse the surfaces in high pressure, carrying the contaminants to the floor. At this point, the custodian vacuums all liquids and contaminants with the system’s built-in wet vacuum. This process creates a liquid current that transports the contaminants to a recovery tank where it’s contained. The vacuum leaves the floor virtually dry and ready for near immediate use.

The system automatically meters chemical dispersion reducing chemical consumption by as much as 90%, saving money in chemical costs and allowing for a fool-proof process. And, in keeping with their green program, they also switched to Kaivac’s Green Seal certified products.

“When we looked at the Kaivac system, we were not only impressed with its ability to sanitize, but we were also impressed with its holistic approach to green cleaning,” remarked Jody. “Green cleaning isn’t just about using environmentally preferable products. It’s also about removing the indoor pollutants and creating the healthiest environment possible for the students and teachers,” he added.

With new cleaning technology, a more efficient use of chemicals, and better processes in place, the Sarasota County School District is well on its way to a program that is not only green, but also the best hygienic choice for the well-being of their buildings’ occupants. Able to marry cleaning for health and green cleaning, Lou comments, “Our schools are sanitized daily and very safe for students every day of the week.” The district is now looking into ATP monitoring systems to prove their success.
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