HFI Salutes the National Park Service During its Centennial

The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) ─ with a mission to help facilities create physically and fiscally healthy environments ─ congratulates the National Park Service (NPS) for its Centennial year August 25, 2016 to August 25, 2017 reflecting NPS achievements of the past 100 years, and transitioning to the next 100 years of stewardship, sustainability, and green cleaning.
“Though our National Parks have been called ‘America’s Best Idea’ few people realize the commitment the NPS has made to green and healthy environments,” said Allen Rathey, principal of HFI. “We want to raise awareness of their efforts and suggest emulating their example.”
According to NPS, “Environmentally responsible green cleaning practices help protect park resources by reducing or eliminating the release of harmful chemical pollutants into the environment. Green cleaning in the national parks requires using fewer and safer cleaners and more energy-efficient maintenance equipment. Such environmental leadership works to ensure successful stewardship of the nation's most important natural and cultural resources for future generations.”
Green, Healthy Cleaning ─ Stewardship Example
  • More than 60 years of dirt and lichens were cleaned from Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 2005. Only hot water (without any chemical additives) was applied to the granite surfaces using high-pressure sprayers.
  • In 1999, Yellowstone National Park started an environmentally friendly janitorial program to provide greater protection to park resources. Park staff worked with professional consultants to implement green maintenance activities, including increasing the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products. Custodial staff, supervisors, and top management received training to help reduce the number of cleaning products used by 80 percent.
  • Recent efforts at Zion National Park involve using on-site generation of cleaners and sanitizers using tap water, electricity and a small amount of salt, reducing standard packaged chemicals.

“We applaud the National Park Service’s commitment to sustainable, healthier cleaning and disinfecting practices as it protects people and wildlife, reduces landfill waste, and sets an example for future generations,” notes Rathey.
According to NPS, “Everyone can make simple changes — both at home and at work — to eliminate or reduce cleaning practices that are harmful to the environment and human health.”