LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that helps building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and to use resources efficiently. Certain prerequisites must be satisfied and points can be earned to achieve different levels of certification. LEED Certification has led to great strides in making building more sustainable. A high performance green cleaning program has also become a mandatory requirement for both LEED Certification and re-certification.
LEED requirements for high performance green cleaning program were added in 2009 and include:
• Provide appropriate staffing
• Train personnel in the hazards, use, maintenance and disposal of cleaning chemicals, dispensing equipment and packaging
• Use of sustainable cleaning materials, environmentally preferred products and equipment, janitorial paper products and trash bags
• Use of chemical concentrates with appropriate dilution systems
• Sustainable cleaning systems and equipment (including vacuums)
• Documentation of all materials used and equipment maintenance records
Green cleaning programs help promote happy, healthy employees who are breathing clean air through the building’s ventilation system. Residue from cleaners not approved by the EPA can cause eye and skin irritations, can be absorbed through the skin to affect health, can be accidentally ingested to cause asthma (or even poisoning), and can be inadvertently mixed to cause fatal gases and fires. No owner wants that.
In the last 5-10 years, green cleaning technology has improved exponentially. Green cleaning products have become the new standard. Environmentally preferred third-party products, like Green Seal, are designed to have positive environmental attributes such as biodegradability, low toxicity, low VOC content, reduced packaging and low life cycle energy use. Many companies are finding that purchasing green-certified products and equipment actually leads to cost savings on chemicals and other materials. Also, it has been shown that by achieving the Green Seal certification, there is enhanced staff retention and the ability to attract employees that are more qualified.
LEED Certification demonstrates an owner’s commitment to using resources widely and creating occupied spaces that are healthy and sustainable. More and more, tenants are demanding owners to conform to high performance green cleaning standards and LEED Certification. Being environmentally responsible not only protects employees, tenants and customers, it makes long-term sense. And it can add up to long-term savings of dollars and cents. [More information on LEED is available at http://www.usgbc.org.]
ESC is proud to provide ongoing services to Constellation Place, the recipient of many distinguished awards and honors, including The TOBY International Office Building of the Year Award in 2009, LEED Gold Certification in 2010 and the International TOBY Earth Award in 2014. Click here to learn more about ESC’s comprehensive green cleaning program.