This is part one of a three-part article on engineered water.

When Perfect Building Maintenance (PBM), shifted from chemical cleaning solutions to engineered water technology, the company cut down on more than just the number of products used. It also created a safer atmosphere for clients and employees while saving time and money.

PBM, with its headquarters in New York, has been in business since 1923. PBM prides itself on providing safe, quality cleaning services, using the newest technologies and techniques along with environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Engineered water technology, as it applies to cleaning facilities, electrically converts tap water into highly charged acidic and alkaline water. When this water mixture touches dirt, it breaks the grime into miniscule particles that mops, cloths or other cleaning equipment can easily remove. In some cases, this process can also eradicate disease-causing pathogens instead of covering them with the residue that chemical cleaners leave behind.

PathoSans, the maker of the engineered water system PBM adopted, produces a Green Seal GS-37-certified cleaner (PathoClean) and a disinfectant (PathoCide). PathoSans’ system takes soft water, salt and electricity and performs an electrolytic process on those ingredients. PBM installed its first unit in February of 2015.

“We used a minimum of four different cleaning products before. Those four could be a combination of any of the following: a glass cleaner, an eliminator spray, an all-purpose cleaner, a neutral floor cleaner or a foamy restroom cleaner,” says Keith Altschuler, project manager for PBM. “Now we’ve condensed that down to two products, plus we produce the cleaning solutions on site.”

The only task a PBM worker needs to do, once the system is installed, is to add a handful of salt periodically. This is the same type of salt used in a water-softening system, says Altschuler. The building he oversees measures 2 million square feet and requires just two 50-gallon tanks of engineered water for the majority of its cleaning needs. Buildings with less square footage can order smaller units, he says.

As this technology relies solely on water and salt and eliminates the need for harsh chemicals, the environmental aspect is huge, says Laurie Dove, senior vice president of PBM.
 
“It isn’t harmful even if accidentally ingested, which is a huge plus for safety,” says Dove.

Because this engineered water product is produced on site and on demand, it scores highly in environmentally responsible standards. For example, these solutions produce a very low carbon footprint, since building service contractors like PBM that have adopted this technology no longer participate in the transportation, ordering, managing or storing of chemicals. Container disposal has also been eliminated, because the existing containers are constantly being replenished from the building’s water line.

The decision to use engineered water technology fit well with PBM’s corporate goal of being the greenest cleaning company in the United States, says Dove.