At the University of Washington, Gene Woodard has only been able to partially implement OSG technology. Woodard and his team succesfully piloted three different OSG technologies. After each type of technology was used, the staff was very happy with the equipment and the results. However, Woodard struggled to justify the investment as the university faced tighter budgets.

“After we had the third pilot program with the same results, and the staff loved it so much, yet again, I didn’t want to take it away from them,” says Woodard. “We were able to keep that equipment in that area, but we struggle to find a way to invest in more equipment for the rest of the university.”

Cost has been a factor for Woodard. Savings on human health and the environment are not direct budget items. As a result, they have had to find ways to quantify those savings and how they fit into their university’s sustainability and metrics goals, while also coming up with other areas to sacrifice spending.

Thomas implemented OSG technology at the Clarke County School District where she worked before moving to her current position at UGA. Like Woodard, Thomas had a lot of buy-in from her staff after she initially tested OSG, and then implemented it in a brand-new school building.

“OSG became our new building standard, which posed a problem when folks got moved to older buildings where we weren’t yet switched over to OSG,” says Thomas. “When they went into our old buildings, they would ask, ‘Where’s that magic water?’ Once you implement it, people have positive experiences with it and will spread that message. The key to our success was having those champions ensuring the rest of the staff, parents and building occupants that what we were using was doing its job.”

Finding Help

Instead of meeting with manufacturers or distributors about OSG, Thomas recommends starting with a pilot program. Managers considering the technology should also look to peers and neighboring facilities that may be familiar with OSG, for advice.

“Schedule a visit to see the technology in action. This will help build a basic knowledge base to evaluate whether this will work for you,” says Thomas. “Neighboring districts and universities are always happy to show their latest technologies and talk with anyone who is interested in what they are doing.”

Testimonials from other departments carry a lot of weight, but there is also plenty of research available on the efficacy of OSG technologies.

Manufacturers will often have studies available for review, but managers often question the reliability. Instead, ask for customer referrals and reach out to those facilities for candid feedback. Also, ask your peers for any papers or data they might have found when doing their own research. Lastly, distribution partners are always a valuable source for information.

“The best source for research may be your distributor,” says Montag. “Most manufacturers will tell you all the positive stuff. The distributors will tell you both sides. They have a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace and can give you the answers you need.”

Nicole Bowman is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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