Property management companies from coast to coast are putting green cleaning programs in place, not only because it’s the right thing to do for the health of residents, employees and the environment, but also because doing so saves money in the long run. Having a green cleaning program in place is also a contributing factor in LEED certification — something that the ever-growing health and environment conscious population of renters and buyers is looking for these days.
It’s becoming a well known fact that indoor air quality is often much worse than the quality of the air outside — even in densely populated urban centers. According to the EPA, our indoor environment is two to five times more toxic than our outdoor environment, and in some cases, the air measurements indoors have been found to be 100 times more polluted. Two key culprits of indoor pollution are the building materials used and the chemical residue left behind by harsh cleaning products. While you may not have control over building materials used if you are managing an existing property, you can control the methods used to clean common areas.
Many professional cleaning contractors have developed green methods, using natural cleaning products and energy-efficient equipment to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals while reducing water and energy consumption. When searching for a green cleaning service, or if developing your own green policy with your internal service staff, be sure to take these factors into consideration:
Green Cleaning Products
Look for products that are “Green Seal” certified. And remember that less saves you more. In many cases, a different product is not required for each type of surface to be cleaned. Choose all-purpose cleaners to help keep your inventory of cleaning supplies low.
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Microfiber Cloths & Towels
Don’t cheap out on cleaning rags. The use of microfiber cloth, which can be found just about anywhere these days, will help minimize the amount of particles, moisture and chemical residue left behind when cleaning.
Yes, purchasing new energy-efficient equipment like floor buffers, scrubbers and vacuums will require some initial investment. However, most new equipment has energy and water saving features, as well as special filters and particle catchers that will help keep both the air and surfaces cleaner while saving money. Not to mention if newer equipment works better, it will help employees to get the job done faster and with greater ease— and with happier attitudes!
If you are using internal service staff for cleaning, make sure they are well versed in all of the procedures that you have put into place to protect their health while ensuring that cleaning tasks are performed effectively. Procedures should also include the environmentally responsible disposal of any cleaning materials used.
In addition to implementing a green cleaning program, there are other simple and cost-effective ways you can improve the air quality in your buildings:
— educate your residents and tenants about green cleaning, providing tips that can be applied to cleaning in their own units and spaces
— ensure proper ventilation in common areas, opening windows when weather and building security permits
— use plants in common areas, which serve to naturally filter out air pollutants while contributing to creating soothing and uplifting surroundings
Remember that not only do green cleaning practices save money over the long run, but it’s the right thing to do for your employees, residents and the environment.
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