Green Seal, Inc. announced that the Howard County Public School System in Maryland has the first school cleaning program in the U.S. to receive certification under the organization’s standard for commercial and institutional cleaning services.

The “Green Cleaning Program,” developed by the Howard County Public School System, qualified for certification under Green Seal’s GS-42 standard, which requires that a cleaning service use products and equipment that have less impact on the environment and that it adopt processes and procedures that help protect human health and the environment for building occupants and custodial staff.

Green Seal’s cleaning service standard also requires that custodial staff receive a specified amount of training each year, and that each building within the green cleaning program have a specific plan for cleaning. The standard provides guidance for those looking for green cleaning service options, including facilities managers, managers of LEED-certified buildings, government and university facility directors, and school purchasers.

“The Howard County Public School System has done a phenomenal job in developing and advancing their Green Cleaning Program to protect the health of their students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Arthur Weissman, President and CEO of Green Seal. “They are truly a trailblazer for schools nationwide in demonstrating how to improve cleaning services for health and environment.”

The Howard County Public School System worked with the Building Wellness Institute (BWI), an organization that helps facilities protect the health and comfort of their building occupants, in meeting the requirements of Green Seal certification.

“The Green Seal certification process has certainly been a great opportunity to enhance our knowledge and awareness of green cleaning,” said Olivia Claus, Manager of Custodial Services for Howard County Schools. “The criteria advanced by Green Seal helped us implement environmentally sound practices and enhance overall care of our buildings. Our custodial staff has done an outstanding job using green products and applying the techniques they learned as part of this process. Earning certification is great recognition of their efforts.”