A number of agencies and organizations have recently launched initiatives geared to spike the trend in green cleaning.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced it is adopting a new approach to encourage office buildings to adopt green building practices. The agency aims to reduce the environmental and health impacts of buildings and building-related products, lead by example with the EPA’s own facilities, expand understanding of green buildings and increase adoption of green building practices in areas where progress has been more limited.

The EPA hopes to adopt green building practices in existing commercial and public buildings, through existing programs like ENERGY STAR.

“We appreciate the fact that our built environment has a tremendous impact on our natural environment,” says EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in a news release. “And I am so pleased the agency is moving in a new strategic direction for green building, with a goal of spreading the adoption of effective green building practices nationwide.”

Another program serves to benefit janitors by reducing the environmental damage done in the workplace. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched the “Negotiate Green” program. The program’s provisions include: replacing toxic cleaning supplies to protect workers, land and water; pushing daytime cleaning to reduce nighttime energy use in buildings; and the establishment of labor-management environmental committees for ongoing monitoring of environmental issues in the workplace.

“We want our members to be aware of the personal hazards associated with the cleaning chemicals and then negotiate to protect them from that,” says Marrianne McMullen, assistant to SEIU President Andy Stern.

Practices such as turning off the lights, cleaning with environmentally safe chemicals and day cleaning to decrease energy usage are provisions SEIU is encouraging janitors and cleaning professionals to put in their contracts.

“This is a clear, tangible way SEIU can add value to the commercial buildings, the community and our members by ensuring greater health, safety and building a greater sense of professionalism,” says McMullen.

Other organizations are reaching out to multiple sectors of the community. The Globally Green Energy Consortium (GGEC) — a recently formed nonprofit team of policy-makers, including a former congressman and ambassador — is administering a program heavily based on green cleaning called, “Greening & Cleaning America.” The goal of the program is to provide green and sustainability programs for school boards, colleges, healthcare facilities, community centers and assisted living facilities unable to fund projects due to and budget constraints.

Some of the programs included in the initiative are water conservation solutions, energy efficient waste management, clean air quality technologies, environmentally friendly cleaning solutions, waste reduction programs and environmental management education and programs.

To help building service contractors and building managers increase sustainability and optimize performance in commercial buildings, the Building Owners and Manager Association (BOMA) International compiled a list of 24 strategic tips.

In the tips, BOMA recommends that janitors implement “dry” cleaning methods by using a broom, squeegee or dry vacuum cleaner instead of wet cleaning to limit water use.

Finally, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Foundation issued a request for proposal, looking for authors interested in developing a guide and related materials focused on the process of “The Benefits of Green Cleaning.”

The guide is aimed to serve as an in-depth white paper on green cleaning for use by those people responsible for the operations and maintenance of buildings, such as facilities managers, service providers, in-house staff and manufacturer or distributor of supplies and equipment.


Mr. LongArm, Greenwood, Mo., is celebrating its 50th anniversary of manufacturing the aluminum telescoping extension handles.

A Proposed Taxpayer Responsibility, Accountability and Consistency Act would define who can be classified as an independent contractor to avoid larger companies from misclassifying themselves as independent contractors.

According to the bill’s sponsors, the Internal Revenue Service found that 15 percent of employers misclassified employees as independent contractors. Those that misclassify workers as independent contractors can undercut other companies on prices because taxes and insurance costs are lower.

After passing through the Senate and House, the Green Cleaning Schools Act became effective May 9 in Illinois.

The act requires schools to purchase environmentally safe cleaning products for areas such as restrooms, carpets, general purpose areas, hard surfaces, glass, windows, mirrors and other products like hand cleaners and paper products.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), schools are registering for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program on average of one school per day.

With results of improved indoor air quality and higher levels of energy and water efficiency, schools have placed more of an emphasis on green practices including green cleaning.


CP To Sponsor ISSA Seminars

Contracting Profits, along with its sister publications Housekeeping Solutions and Sanitary Maintenance, are sponsoring seminars for building service contractors, in-house service providers and jan/san distributors at the 2008 ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America convention and trade show Sept. 8-11 in Las Vegas.

Sessions are broken into tracks including executive and leadership, sales, health and safety, operations and technology. Speakers and topics include:

  • Succession: Are You Ready To Pass The Mantle? by Bart Basi
  • Cleaning Not As Usual...Profit Through Diversifying Your Business, by a BSC Business Panel
  • Green Cleaning Fundamentals: Overcoming Confusion and Getting Down To Business, by Stephen Ashkin
  • Competing For Sales Talent: Finding Knockouts Not Knockoffs, by Brian Arzani
  • From Floating Cities To Your Facility: Pandemic Preparedness, by Jon Schnoor and Dave Forney

Click for more information about the convention and trade show.