While survey responses reveal a desire to use green chemicals and products, facility executives say they do not want to pay more for them. Only 32 percent of survey respondents say they would pay a higher price for green cleaning. But McFadden believes that the response requires further interpretation.

“When it comes right down to it, if two contractors bid exactly the same price, and one contractor uses green cleaning while the other doesn’t, they will most likely pick the one that offers green cleaning,” he says. “The inherent value of green cleaning is the tie breaker. Some organizations will pay a little more for value, others expect the value to be included in the price.”

Research shows that green cleaning practices offer opportunities for long-term cost savings through reduced use of water and chemicals, as well as safer work environments. According to a 2008 survey by the Ashkin Group, the total overall costs of green cleaning products — including all products and labor, and the total spent on chemicals — was reported in the range of about the same price to 10 percent higher than conventional cleaners.

“The popular impression that it takes ‘green’ to go green is no longer true,” says McFadden. “People are beginning to realize the intrinsic value of going green.”

For many BSCs, a green cleaning program is just the beginning. These contractors take a holistic view and incorporate green and sustainable measures at their own facilities, too.

Sustainability is important to facility executives and they take these measures into account when awarding cleaning contracts. More than three-quarters of survey respondents want their building service contractor to practice green initiatives in their own businesses.

“Building owners want their service contractors to walk the walk when it comes to sustainability,” says McFadden. “If you are going to sell us a green program, you should be green yourself.”

JoAnn Petaschnick is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee.

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