In addition, the prerequisite has been expanded to cover additional chemical products. Green programs should now include less toxic laundry and warewashing chemicals. The prerequisite also stresses appropriate selection and use of disinfectants. This means following manufacturers’ usage instructions and adhering to dwell times, but it also implies the product should only be used when needed.

“The concern is that disinfectants are being used in areas and applications that are unnecessary and could have harmful health and environmental impacts,” says Ashkin. “To minimize the misuse or overuse of disinfectants, they should be applied correctly and appropriately, only when and where necessary, to protect human health.”

LEED v4 now offers a “shortcut” to meeting the prerequisite. A second option for BSCs is to earn a third-party certification, either Green Seal’s GS-42 or ISSA’s CIMS-GB. However, it’s important to note that the building going for LEED certification must have been audited by the third-party within the last 12 months.

“If the cleaning department already has certification, it definitely is a simpler process; all the paperwork and documentation has been done,” says Ashkin. “One of the things the USGBC is trying to do with LEED v4 is make it easier for buildings to be able to go through the process. That is one of the specific intentions of including things like CIMS-GB and GS-42.”

As previously mentioned, LEED v4’s intention is to protect water resources, as well as reverse climate change. That’s why, despite whichever option cleaning providers choose to earn the prerequisite, their program should include strategies that conserve energy, water and chemicals. This could include day cleaning, cold-water carpet extraction, use of microfiber mops, or electrically activated water, says Ashkin.

The prerequisite isn’t the only aspect of green cleaning to receive adjustments. Each of the individual credits has also been updated — many with stricter guidelines.

After developing the green cleaning policy and putting the program into action, both components need to be monitored for effectiveness. As was the case with LEED 2009, janitors must perform routine inspections to identify areas of improvement. This cleaning audit falls under EQc6: Green Cleaning – Custodial Effectiveness Assessment and is still worth one point. However, LEED v4 is more stringent.

Cleaning providers can still use the APPA Leadership in Educational Facilities Custodial Staffing Guidelines for the audit, or they can use a local equivalent. The facility must score 2.5 or less (previously it was 3) to qualify.

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