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Vacuums: New York School Districts Make Smooth Transition to Green

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In September of 2006, a state legislated mandate required all public elementary and secondary schools in New York State to clean green. Similar legislation has been passed in Illinois and is on the horizon for other states. Efficient vacuums with a high level of dust capture are required by the mandate.

When the deadline came for New York, one school district was ready. Years before, the Locust Valley Central School District in Locust Valley, New York, had begun purchasing equipment that would help improve the overall indoor air quality in the district’s seven buildings.

A key component was finding a vacuum that would effectively capture the fine dust that can lead to asthma, allergies and other illnesses. The ideal vacuum would also be versatile enough to be used on the district’s 600,000 sq. ft. of carpet, resilient flooring, wood floors and terrazzo.

Henry Alilionis, the Director of School Facilities and Operations for the district, was introduced to ProTeam® vacuums through a vendor named Joe Carbone of Essential Maintenance Products.

“Before ProTeam, we used all different types of equipment, from dust mops to inefficient upright vacuums. We constantly faced clogs and worn out beater bars,” says Alilionis. “We had even used other brands of backpack vacuums before, but they were uncomfortable. Then came ProTeam. When we were shown the correct way to wear a ProTeam backpack, we realized that it was a design that had been perfected. It was extremely comfortable, the cords were longer, and the staff began to love them immediately.”

Complaints Drop Off
Before ProTeam, dust complaints at Locust Valley were minor but frequent, simply due to the fact that the staff wasn’t always able to do minor tasks like clean tight corners, wipe down the window ledges, and clear dust off computer screens or bookshelves.

“Now, with the ProTeam tool belt, we can vacuum everything fast and effectively, even chalk trays, under desks and the tops of light fixtures,” says Henry. “Complaints about dust have dropped off dramatically.”

Dust Goes Down
“A ProTeam vacuum is the ideal dust removal tool,” says Henry. “Soon after we started using ProTeam vacuums, we could see the very fine dirt and dust wasn’t being left behind.”

All ProTeam vacuums feature a Four Level® Filtration process that captures 99.97 percent of particulates measuring one micron and larger, including dust mites, mold, pollen and more. With a high-powered motor and advanced suction, ProTeam vacuums have all been tested by the Carpet and Rug Institute as exceeding high standards for soil removal and dust retention, allowing every vacuum to be Green Label certified.

ProTeam is also a partner with the American Lung Association to educate the public on the importance of indoor air quality. The Locust Valley Central School District now uses ProTeam’s True-sealed HEPA and ULPA vacuum, the LineVacer®, which captures even smaller dust, allergens and particulates.

“Our indoor air quality has improved, there’s no doubt about it,” says Henry.

After ProTeam, the filter maintenance for the air handling systems in the district dropped by 20 to 40 percent.

ProTeam vacuums are also being used in an integrated pest management system.

“Like most schools, we don’t use pesticides, so we need to get to the source of where the pests are at,” says Henry. “We use ProTeam’s Integrated Pest Management tool kit so we can precision clean where pests might be located. It works.”

On The Go
Recently, Locust Valley acquired one more ProTeam tool to reach hard-to-access places, the new GoCartVac™.

The GoCartVac features a high-powered vacuum on a rolling cart base with a 20 foot-electrified hose. The GoCartVac can run continuously on battery reserves for over one hour and recharges when plugged in, even when still in use.

“In a room full of desks, there’s not a lot of spare outlets to plug into,” says Henry. “The GoCartVac allows us to fill the gaps in foyers and in the aisles of our auditoriums. It’s so popular that we often have to track it down to see which of our staff took it.”

As a focus on better indoor air quality becomes widespread in schools, Locust Valley Central School District offers an example on how a user-friendly, high-filtration, versatile vacuum can make a school more green and healthy.