Including sustainable practices utilized in the cleaning operation begins with detailing who handles the sustainability program, says Lee. The firm may have a sustainability manager or it may take a council-type approach to sustainability solutions. If a contractor has an employee trained as a LEED AP or appointed to handle sustainability questions, it should be documented in the bid.

“We need to remember we’re just talking about cleaning,” says Ashkin. “Their goal should always be effective cleaning. Contractors need to figure out how they use these programs to justify a higher quality, more effective, green cleaning program.”

So while it’s helpful to detail the green chemicals being used or list the sustainable equipment on board, it’s also important to detail how these tools will  provide a facility with sustainability solutions, such as energy savings, for example.

“The biggest expense we always have is electricity,” says Mabrey. “So property managers are always looking for opportunities to keep electrical consumption down. Anything BSCs can do to capture the manager’s attention as they prepare their bid on electrical consumption, water consumption and so on is a real plus. It really makes their bids look better.”

Bids should show how janitors practice sustainability as they carry out their jobs. A good example is sharing how employees are trained to shut off lights and other pieces of equipment as they move through a building.

“This strategy can help 99 percent of the buildings out there,” says Ashkin.

Other energy-conservation strategies include cleaning more during daytime hours or using cold water to clean.

Sustainable Solutions = Cost Savings

But it’s not enough for a BSC to claim their operation offers sustainable solutions, warns Ashkin. It’s critical to quantify every statement they make with facts.

“If I am a building owner I would find it more valuable if a contractor was going to charge me 5 cents more per square foot to clean my building, if that same contractor could help me reduce energy consumption by 6 percent,” says Ashkin. “Even though they are charging more to clean the facility, they actually save me money by reducing my electrical consumption.”

The bid should show how the BSC will be a sustainability partner, says Lee. If the contractor has any third-party certifications, such as CIMS, Green Seal 42 or others, they should list those in their bids.

“I think a contractor then needs to focus on the top three to five ingredients they recommend for a successful, sustainable cleaning process,” says Hewett. “If it’s not asked for in the RFP, a contractor needs to say, ‘These are the strategies we believe lead to the most sustainable cleaning.’ It may be day cleaning, green chemicals, equipment that uses less energy and more.”

Remember to disclose the savings facility managers can expect from each practice, he says. For instance with day cleaning, a BSC might share how studies have shown day cleaning can cut costs by 5 to 10 percent savings through energy, time and labor savings.

Green chemicals rank as one of Hewett’s top sustainability practices. But it’s important to disclose what it really means to say a BSC uses green chemicals. They can do this by saying: “Here are the chemicals we use, here are their benefits, here’s the rating they have that proves they are green. Quantify what that really means to the facility,” Hewett says.

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