One of the biggest changes in LEED v4 is the amount of products and equipment BSCs must use to earn the Green Cleaning Products and Materials credit. This credit is still worth one point and covers the procurement of chemicals, paper and can liners. However, at least 75 percent of purchases (based on cost) must meet specific environmental standards, compared to LEED 2009 when only 30 percent of purchases had to be considered green.
“This credit is intentionally designed to raise the bar and drive green products into the marketplace,” says Ashkin.

While BSCs have to purchase substantially more environmentally friendly products, LEED v4 actually makes it easier to earn the credit because there are additional certifications available to choose from. For all product categories, LEED v4 allows products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment standard, in addition to the Green Seal and Environmental Choice certifications.

Besides these third-party standards, BSCs can use ionized water or electrolyzed water in place of chemicals, assuming those products have third-party-verified performance data.

Two other newly accepted options include Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for fiber procurement as acceptable green criteria for paper products and California Integrated Waste Management requirements for can liners.

To help find acceptable products that meet the credit, building service contractors can use ISSA’s Transpare program, which is listed as an accepted resource in the LEED Reference Guide. 


BSCs Must Invest In Green Equipment

Earning the point for the Green Cleaning – Equipment credit also means BSCs must purchase more green machinery; in this case, the amount of required green equipment has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent.

Other than the increased amounts, much of the mandates for this credit remain the same: vacuums and carpet extractors should still meet Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval, and floor scrubbers should have on-board chemical meters or use tap water to clean. In addition, all equipment should have ergonomic designs, bumpers to protect building surfaces and operate at 70 decibels or less.

One addition to this credit relates to battery equipment. Gel batteries were accepted in LEED 2009; that has now been expanded to also include absorbent glass mat (AGM) and lithium-ion batteries. However, BSCs should note that equipment that uses sealed batteries are not acceptable for cleaning heavy loads because battery life will be reduced.

For equipment that LEED doesn’t consider green, these machines should be phased out and replaced at the end of their life with products that meet the criteria. Before LEED v4, building owners didn’t know how long cleaning professionals would use equipment that wasn’t environmentally friendly, says Arny. Now, that uncertainty has been addressed.

In addition, the revised credit solely focuses on the purchasing of equipment. It no longer states that cleaning staffs are required to keep a maintenance log of repairs.

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