Clean Standard for Schools: Phase 1 Completed

ISSA and its research partner, the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI), have completed phase one of their research—consisting of laboratory and limited field testing in 70 schools and two day-care facilities—to determine the best methodologies and measurement systems that ultimately will form the foundation for a clean standard for K-12 schools.

The ISSA-funded research is designed to determine which currently available measurement devices are most effective for practical field use in schools by industry professionals in determining whether a facility is clean and therefore in a state that is conducive to the health of students. Results from phase-one research (both lab and field testing in schools) suggest that adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, measuring devices appear to be a promising and appropriate approach to detecting significant differences between dirty and clean surfaces in schools. In addition, a comprehensive approach to defining “clean” and indoor environmental quality in K-12 schools is being developed.

“Based on the research conducted to date, ISSA is confident that this project will produce a scientific-based, pragmatic standard that will significantly improve the quality of the learning environment for students in K-12 schools across the nation and that will also provide ISSA members with a valuable tool to help them succeed in today’s demanding and increasingly more health-conscious marketplace,” said ISSA Director of Legislative Affairs Bill Balek.

ISSA will host multiple sessions at ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America — October 6-9, in Chicago, IL — addressing its K-12 research progress in more detail. To learn more, visit for a list of sessions.

Data generated by field testing in a major school district conducted during the 2008-09 school year will augment additional testing slated for the 2009-10 school year, ensuring that the clean standard is based on a strong scientific foundation grounded in reality.

According to the University of Maryland’s Dr. Steven Spivak, chair of the Clean Standards Science Committee and project manager of Clean Standard Research, “The testing being done is extensive in terms of including multiple commonly used surfaces that would be used in the majority of school settings. Thus, we can ensure that any standards of measurement and cleanliness levels can be reproduced in facilities across North America.”

The goal of this three-year research project is the cooperative development of a science-based clean standard for K-12 schools that will be the springboard for industry data, training, measurement, and certification programs.

In addition to testing cleaning and measurement methods, performance metric data — such as student academic performance and absenteeism rates — are being provided by the school district. This aspect of the research will study the connection between indoor environmental quality, cleanliness, and student health and performance.

“This melding of the clean standard’s research with actual student performance propels this ISSA/CIRI joint effort into a realm of scientific validity, meaningful results, and public acceptance not previously envisaged at this stage,” said Spivak.


In June 2008, ISSA and CIRI entered into a collaborative relationship to engage in an independent research initiative, the goal of which is to develop a clean standard for K-12 schools. The partnership supports one of the ISSA strategic initiatives: to identify the link between cleaning, science, and occupant health, as set forth by the ISSA Board of Directors.

According to ISSA Executive Director John Garfinkel, “Many other facility-services industries have long been based in engineering and science while our industry has largely had to prove its public-health value based on assumptions and perceptions. The development of the clean standard for K-12 schools, however, will remove any doubt about the benefits cleaning brings to facilities and their occupants, and we hope this initiative will bring the independent scientific verification many facility managers have been requesting.”

Under this collaborative relationship, each organization will do what it does best. CIRI will conduct research on measurement methods and current conditions in K-12 schools; ISSA will use the results as a basis for developing standards regarding what defines “clean” in these very important and sensitive environments.

Ultimately, it is the goal of ISSA and CIRI to increase the perceived value and importance of cleaning as it relates to the health of the occupants so that cleaning is no longer viewed as a cost to be cut, but rather an investment in an organization’s fundamental purpose for being.

About CIRI

CIRI’s mission is to raise awareness of the importance of cleaning through scientific research. Its goal is to expand on existing research, help members to be more effective, improve people’s understanding of the importance of cleaning, and influence the development of public policy. For more information, visit CIRI’s all-new Web site.


Experts Say Travel Is Key in 2009

Whether it’s a trip to visit a customer in person or holding multiple meetings at an industry event, more than 70 percent of business travelers who responded to a recent Oxford Economics survey said they see travel as having a significant impact on customer retention. This means smart executives who invest in travel will reap the rewards.

“We definitely see our members confirming these results when they choose to travel to an event and their competitors stay home,” says ISSA Director of Industry Outreach Dianna Bisswurm. “Some people tell us that our annual convention is the best investment for them because hundreds of their customers already pay their own way to be there and meet with top executives who don’t make it out to the field otherwise.”

Businesspeople who rely on travel to meet with customers seem to agree. According to a report by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of those surveyed said that increasing travel while others are cutting back creates an opportunity to build market share and new customer relationships. Just over half also reported the belief that companies that reduce their business travel will give an advantage to competitors who maintain their travel commitment.

Also reported by the USTA: 82 percent of companies surveyed believe that business travel is important to achieving their business results while 81 percent believe that more client contact is necessary in a slow economy. A majority of respondents (59 percent) strongly agree that in-person contact grows their business.

“When customers and employees see the leadership team standing front and center and delivering the message, it demonstrates that management cares about them and considers them essential to weathering the storm,” says John Baldoni, author and publisher on Harvard Business Publishing’s leadership blog Leadership Matters. “Cancelling such meetings, except when there are no other alternatives, sends the message that employees and even vendors and customers are expendable.”

Business travelers told Oxford Economics that nearly 40 percent of their prospective customers are converted to new business with an in-person meeting, further reinforcing the need to selectively travel to retain and maintain accounts. The conversion rate without an in-person meeting is about 16 percent.

In addition to the value of meeting with customers at an event such as ISSA/INTERCLEAN®, the ability to access valuable education and networking also increases the productivity of those who go. Business travelers surveyed by Oxford Economics report that meetings, events, and incentive travel positively impact morale and job satisfaction (79 percent each), job performance (77 percent), status within the firm (71 percent), and compensation (68 percent).

Meetings and events are strategic tools that can deepen employee relationships and contribute to the overall health of a company. In today’s tight-budget environment, if sending staff to industry events generates a 5 percent increase in employee retention, it correlates to a 25 percent to 85 percent increase in profitability.

“Today we’re hearing that it isn’t so much about attending an industry event, but about which staff member is the most appropriate to send,” says ISSA Director of Member Services Anthony Trombetta. “The best budget use is sending someone who can turn those seminars and new contacts into new business or improved efficiencies when they return.”




Just one of the many seminars at this year’s ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America that no self-respecting building service contractor will want to miss:

Wednesday, October 7,
11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
Become a Bidding Genius—Ways to Win Over New Customers
With Steve Spencer

You’ll knock the socks off prospective clients with these proven techniques from a master of cleaning and interior maintenance. From walk-throughs to answering RFPs and RFQs to putting together a bid package that will stand out in your customer’s mind, you’ll find it all in this session.




September 21, CIMS I.C.E. Workshop. Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Marlborough, MA (hosted by the New England Sanitary Supply Association).

October 5-6, CIMS I.C.E. Workshop. McCormick Place South, Chicago, IL (held in conjunction with ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America 2009).

October 6-9, ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America 2009. McCormick Place South, Chicago, IL.

October 27-28, Ninth Antimicrobial Workshop. Doubletree Hotel Crystal City, Arlington, VA.


  Welcome New ISSA Members!


AM Services

Ameri-Kleen, Inc.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

ASAP Solution, Inc.

Broom Service, Inc.

Cardinal Building Maintenance

Commercial Cleaning Specialists

Grupo Guepa, S.A. de C.V.

Klintek Maintenance

Limpieza Del Puerto, S.A. de C.V.

One Stop Facilities Maintenance

Osaka-Unique Co. Ltd.

Premier Maintenance, Inc.

Pritchard Industries, Inc.

Professional Maintenance Systems

Provost Building Services, Inc.

Quality Assured Cleaning

Service Complete, Inc.

Tensoactivos De Colombia Ltda.

Total Services N.V.

Trend Property Care Pty. Ltd.

Individual ISP Members

Cheryl Johnson, Arizona State University

Eric Ramalin, Loyola Marymount University

All information in "ISSA Reports" is furnished by ISSA. ©2009. All rights reserved.