Work with knowledgeable vendors
Unless you’re an expert on the subject, try to identify vendors or service providers that have experience with green cleaning. This is a lot easier than trying to teach them (the vendors). Experience with LEED-EB and the green cleaning “roadmap” it offers is a real plus.
Assess your current situation
Before starting your program, determine your starting point by conducting a simple audit. This will help you recognize all opportunities for improvement and build a better plan. Also, as part of your plan you may need to evaluate your cleaning budget. Unfortunately, you may be paying the same amount per square foot as the building next door, but many are only paying for acceptable appearances and minimal tenant complaints. Today, while green cleaning products and services are competitively priced compared to traditional products, you may find that you need to invest more in cleaning to achieve the health, performance, productivity and other potential benefits to be had. Please consider it – you may find an outstanding return on the investment.
Have a comprehensive plan
Recognize that while simply switching to a few “green” products or equipment is a good thing, this is not enough. For best results, implement a comprehensive program that includes the chemicals, paper, equipment, entry mats, tools, etc. And keep in mind that 80% to 90% of the cleaning budget is labor, so don’t forget training and winning the “buy-in” from your janitorial staff. Remember, change is hard and the people on the ground level can make or break your program.
Engage the building occupants
The real objective of a green cleaning program is to help us become “stewards” of our buildings – caring not only for the structure, materials, finishes, office equipment, etc., but ultimately ensuring the wellbeing of the people in our buildings. Being good stewards requires that individual occupants recognize and take responsibility for their actions. For example, by properly separating their recyclables from the trash, or minimizing crumbs and other food sources that attract pests. Education and ongoing communication is essential to help everyone recognize that unless we each do our part, we can’t create the healthiest, most productive building with the least environmental impacts.