Building service contractors operating green-cleaning programs rely upon third-party organizations to verify that their cleaning products are indeed green. Green Seal and Ecologo are two of the more familiar green-product certifications currently available, but soon there will be another alternative.

In late August, Greenstar Certified, Western Springs, Ill., launched its Web site, and will soon begin accepting green product applications for review.

Greenstar is differentiating itself from other green certifications by focusing on protecting human health as well as the environment, says Steve Beicos, a Greenstar representative. Greenstar is aiming for a more global standard and the organization researched ecolabelling standards in both Europe and the United States, says Beicos.

Greenstar will not serve as a testing agency; rather, companies will have to submit product data — listings of all ingredients involved in the manufacture of the product — to Greenstar for its review and consideration.

For now, Greenstar will focus on reviewing and certifying cleaning chemicals, but Beicos says he wants to hear from industry members about how the standard can be expanded.

“We’re open to suggestions from the industry on other things,” says Beicos. “Part of the process is that people can submit suggestions for other products.”

Colorado BSC’s Building Certified LEED-EB

By Lisa Ridgely, Associate Editor

For building service contractors, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) certification not only helps the bottom line in energy savings and client gain, but it’s also the right thing to do.

Take it from Porter Industries, a contract cleaning company in Loveland, Colo., which earned a LEED-EB 2.0 Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in August. Its 9,000-square-foot facility, built in 1997, is mostly offices and some warehouse.

“We wanted to do LEED because it’s a documenting process,” says Greg Jones, head of business development for the company.

Porter’s building earned 14 of 14 points possible for its green-cleaning program, which puts the company in the position to assist clients in not only green cleaning, but also achieving a LEED-EB certified building.

“We thought it was important from a marketing standpoint that we needed to do it for our building, to go through it and understand it,” Jones says.

LEED-EB certification forces companies to take a holistic approach to their facilities, he adds. The entire process took 18 months — but could take three to six months for companies that want to take the fast track.

Porter Industries is only the eighth company in the country, and the first for-profit, privately owned building in Colorado, to receive the designation.

Owners Bob and Marilyn Stone have a history of staying ahead of the energy efficiency curve, and chased the designation to support their belief in building green, to enhance the facility’s value and — most importantly — to challenge the industry.

“We wanted to challenge the jan/san industry and say, ‘It’s possible,’” Jones says.

Safe and healthy cleaning practices are of great value to the industry, and Porter wants the industry to recognize that those services are more than just a commodity sold to the lowest bidder.