Spring is the perfect time to shift to more sustainable cleaning methods. Larger buildings consume a high volume of resources daily in both products and energy. Choosing sustainable cleaning practices can significantly reduce your environmental footprint and energy usage while supporting the health and wellness of the planet and building occupants. Here are some avenues to get you started.
Monitor indoor air quality.
The combination of insulated structures and the presence of certain products and substances can impact the quality of the air in your building. It is not uncommon for the air inside to be more toxic than the air outside. Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out. Consider a schedule that balances your energy usage and temperature control, allowing natural airflow with open windows.
Include environmentally sourced consumables.
The EPA developed a program that promotes using materials recovered from municipal solid waste and generated a guide of resources to consider. To avoid causing unnecessary waste, source sustainable multiuse cleaning items like refillable spray bottles and microfiber cleaning cloths. Trade out restroom paper products for post-consumer fiber products. Even the type of paper office supplies you stock has environmentally conscious alternatives. Small changes like this can make a big difference in high-traffic office buildings.
Replace harsh cleaning chemicals.
Perhaps the most commonly referenced method in green cleaning, phasing out harsh chemicals for cleaning, is an effective step in sustainability measures for your building; these products range from corrosive drain cleaners to artificially fragranced soaps. Avoid products with an extensive list of ingredients and opt for plant-based and eco-friendly solutions. When researching where to start, look for companies that support customers striving for sustainability certifications, such as LEED.
Avoid antibacterial soaps and cleaners.
This method sounds counterintuitive, but the FDA has stated that over-the-counter antibacterial soaps and cleansers do not necessarily work better than regular soap and water. The antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaners that many people think are necessary don’t clean hands better than soap and water. It also adds to the risk of breeding resistant bacteria that survive friendlier chemicals, which results in the need for harsh cleansers. Look for natural soaps with a lower foam rate as they are gentler on drains and pipes.
Research cleaning companies.
It’s essential to investigate companies that claim they prioritize sustainable cleaning or green cleaning to avoid being greenwashed. Greenwashing is when companies use misleading information about their products or processes to sound environmentally friendly. Consider partnering with a company that has obtained certifications from trustworthy third-party organizations such as Green Seal. These organizations certify cleaning companies based on whether they meet rigorous testing standards, including effective, sustainable cleaning and disinfecting procedures and energy-efficient equipment.
Energy management is key.
Knowing the traffic in your building and which areas see more use is a great place to start when considering sustainable cleaning practices; this kind of data helps with determining steps in your overall energy management plan. Creating a cleaning schedule that also considers the amount of time, power, and type of equipment used can help lessen your environmental footprint.
Do you want a little more insight on how to get started with your building’s energy management and sustainability efforts? We can help. We offer services to help you take steps tailored to your budget and facility. Connect with us today about your sustainability goals!