Building service contractors in New York and Vermont may need to check what green products they are currently using and update accordingly.

All New York state schools are required to use environmentally preferable products if they aren’t currently doing so, starting September 1. The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) has announced that it will allow only Green Seal- and Environmental Choice-certified products and not products bearing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Design for the Environment (DfE) Formulator Initiative.

“DfE has not established a standard or set of criteria that products must meet to be recognized. Furthermore, the recognized products are not certified to a standard,” stated OGS in the “Proposed Guidelines and Specifications on the Procurement and Use of Environmentally Sensitive Cleaning and Maintenance Products for Elementary and Secondary Schools in New York State.”

Also in green regulatory news, Vermont has awarded contracts to three manufacturers to provide environmentally preferable cleaning chemicals and products for the cleaning of all state-owned facilities. The state’s Department of Building and General Services (BGS) decided upon products by Enviro-Solutions, Peterborough, Ontario; EnvirOx LLC, Danville, Ill.; and Spartan Chemical Co., Inc., Maumee, Ohio, because they meet safety, health and environmental criteria, and also meet basic cleaning needs, says Judy Jamieson, senior purchasing agent for BGS. The contract is in effect for two years.

Feeling The Burn Of High Gas Prices

Near record-high gas prices have been shrinking building service contractors’ profits. With gas priced at more than $3 a gallon in most regions of the United States, 40 percent of BSCs have seen a 30 percent increase in gas-related costs, according to a recent survey conducted by AlturaSolutions Communications, Chicago.

Gas prices are about to get even worse as oil giant BP was forced to shut down Alaskan pipelines due to corrosion. This will reduce domestic oil production by 8 percent. As a result, experts are predicting an increase of 3 to 5 cents per gallon.

During this time, BSCs should remember that high gas prices also affect their employees. At Scrub Inc. in Chicago, workers take public transportation and are then picked up at designated meeting spots by company vans so employees can avoid driving their own cars and save money on gas.

“This is not central London where all sites are easily accessible by mass transit lines,” says Alan Berkowitz, sales manager for Scrub. “If we have a job in the suburbs, it’s very hard for our employees to get there. This is our way to solve it.”

Green Accolades
  • SCA Tissue, Neenah, Wis., has earned the Environmental Choice Program (ECP) certification for all five of its paper mills. Last fall, SCA became the first American sanitary paper manufacturer to earn the ECP designation when its mill in Menasha, Wis., became certified. The certification now has been extended to mills in Flagstaff, Ariz., Alsip, Ill., Barton, Ala., and Greenwich, N.Y.

  • The Ashkin Group, Bloomington, Ind., received the 2006 Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Children’s Health Protection. The group is being recognized for its accomplishments working with the Healthy Schools Campaign in developing a green-cleaning program for Chicago Public Schools.

  • United Receptacle, Pottsville, Pa., has become a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.


The Senate failed to pass a bill that would have cut inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates and that would also raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in nine years.

Many small business owners oppose what they call the “death tax,” saying heirs are often forced to sell the business to pay the high tax. Under the proposed legislation, estates worth up to $5 million ($10 million for a married couple) would be exempt from taxation while inheritances above that would be taxed at 15 percent. Under the current law, the estate tax will be phased out completely by 2010, and then reinstated in 2011, with a tax rate of 55 percent on estates larger than $1 million.

In addition, the proposed bill would have increased the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next three years.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products
, Winchester, Va., has announced that ABCO Broom & Mop Manufacturing of Miami has requested a settlement of Rubbermaid’s patent infringement lawsuit against ABCO.

Under the terms of the settlement, ABCO will cease selling the products that were at issue in the lawsuit, and has agreed to pay Rubbermaid an undisclosed royalty for previous sales of certain products.

In the July issue of Contracting Profits, “A New Look at LEED,” Brophy Services owner Tim Brophy was incorrectly listed as Tom Brophy.