As we originally reported back in October, service providers can now be certified under GS-42, Green Seal's Environmental Standard for Cleaning Services.

Green buildings and green cleaning of buildings are experiencing phenomenal growth in the United States. Much of this surge toward sustainability has been fueled by environmental standards for green buildings and their maintenance, and green cleaning chemicals. But there has been a significant gap in this cadre of standards. Until now. Green Seal, Inc. has just completed the first standard for services provided to clean buildings.

GS-42 provides an objective set of criteria for reduced toxicity, waste, and exposure based on a practical blend of sound environmental science, industry best practices, extensive stakeholder input and consensus.

"This standard seeks to encourage both in-house and external cleaning services to establish a green cleaning program that protects human health and the environment," said Arthur Weissman, Ph.D., Green Seal President and CEO.

Green cleaning, for the purposes of this standard, encompasses all indoor activities typically required to clean commercial, public, and industrial buildings. And because it defines an environmentally responsible cleaning service, the standard could be used as the basis for specification as well as certification. Thus GS-42 provides a market incentive to service providers to offer environmentally responsible cleaning services and a clear, reliable tool for purchasers to determine which services are environmentally responsible.

The standard specifies green chemicals, supplies and equipment as well as cleaning procedures and mandates employee training and communication with building owners and occupants. It requires that a building-specific Green Cleaning Plan be implemented. To verify compliance, Green Seal will conduct on-site audits of a sample of the facilities cleaned by the service.

Green Seal would like to acknowledge the support of the following organizations, who made possible the development of the standard: Advanced Vapor Technologies, Aquastar, Bay West (Wausau), BSCAI, Coastwide Laboratories, Ecolab, Enviro-Solutions, JohnsonDiversey, Kaivac, National Chemical Laboratories, PortionPac, ProTeam, Racine Industries, Spartan Chemical, and Stearns Packaging.

GS-42 is available at www.greenseal.org.