In 2013, the UW-Madison Division of Housing won the Green Cleaning Award from American School & University. The honor not only recognized the staff that works so hard at providing a healthy place for residents to live, it created an increased awareness of cleaning and sustainability on campus and beyond.

Leaders within our residence hall facilities found ways to continue to advance our green cleaning. One of our Capitol Projects Supervisors implemented the installation of new piping within the buildings. This ensures that the water-based product could be accessed on every floor using the same production unit, instead of having to install a production unit on each floor. The piping in the plumping structure saved us $300 per floor, which allowed us to purchase production units for more of our halls, expanding where green cleaning can occur.

Commitment to advancing the benefits of green cleaning, this idea and solution allowed us to use the water-based product in all of our halls more quickly than we thought we’d be able to. This has been a tremendous benefit and advanced the green programs.

Campus partners — outside the Division of Housing — also began looking at whether the change in cleaning product could benefit other departments throughout UW-Madison. We even got calls from facility cleaning managers from other universities, reaching out to congratulate us on our success in this area.

The publicity and positive recognition renewed the enthusiasm of staff who posed questions of their own about changing processes or re-examining products. Personally, my excitement grew when I was able to share our experience and program details in webinars sponsored by Healthy Schools Campaign. I was a presenter at the 2014 ACUHO-I/APPA Housing Facilities Conference where I spoke about the impact that a water-based cleaning product had on our program.

As was the case a year earlier, other facility managers from across the country began reaching out to learn more about our program and how they could implement similar changes. That level of interest from outside the university reconfirms that we are moving in the right direction with our processes.

Overall, the program has been a huge success. But we still continue to look for ways to improve our overall cleaning programs, and we are excited to explore other green and sustainable initiatives. 

JODI KRAUSE is the Assistant Director Housekeeping at University of Wisconsin — Madison and a founding member of Healthy Schools Campaign’s National Green Cleaning Schools Leadership Council. Jodi has worked in the custodial and maintenance field for more than 20 years. She’s currently oversees the UW-Madison night shift custodial crews, manages budgets and directs the university’s Products, Equipment & Testing Committee. Jodi has also been involved with her department’s sustainability programs for over 10 years.