A recent Contracting Profits survey indicated that 29 percent of building service contractors clean healthcare facilities. As this article points out, this market is primed for growth because more facilities are looking to outsource cleaning operations to focus on their core services. Not surprisingly, our same survey found that 40 percent of BSCs plan to expand into this sector. With so much BSC involvement in this market, it’s important to note a new LEED designation offered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

LEED for Healthcare is for new hospitals, medical offices and other healthcare facilities. For the most part it follows LEED for New Construction guidelines, but some criteria has been tweaked for healthcare needs, such as housing vulnerable occupants and increased potential for cross-contamination. Since it’s modeled after LEED-NC, contractors can get involved by earning one point through the Innovation in Design credit for creating a green cleaning program.

Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC), which collaborated with the USGBC on LEED for Healthcare, outlines specific ways BSCs can tailor green cleaning programs in medical facilities. For instance, when cleaning around sensitive occupants, GGHC emphasizes the use of products that are fragrance-free and discourages the use of air fresheners, deodorizer sprays and urinal blocks to help prevent poor indoor air quality.

While LEED for Healthcare is only for new buildings or major renovations, the industry may eventually see a certification designed for ongoing operations in healthcare facilities that includes specific guidelines for green cleaning. GGHC is undergoing a pilot program to test criteria for day-to-day operations by using the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance guidelines as a starting point. From there, the scope will be expanded to include products and procedures relevant to healthcare facilities, according to the USGBC.