School kids in front of lockers in elementary school hallway

Advocacy organization Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) and global eco-certification nonprofit Green Seal announced that they are partnering to create a verifiable program for healthy and sustainable facilities management procurement and practices for schools and universities nationwide. 

Combining the success of HSC’s Green Clean Schools program with Green Seal’s technical and certification expertise, the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program will provide facility managers and staff with verifiable standards, education, tools and resources to accelerate the uptake of practices that promote healthier and more sustainable school environments.

Green Seal is recognized for its rigorous certification standards for best practices in greening products and spaces. The program will explore adapting and expanding Green Seal’s standard for cleaning services (GS-42) into a comprehensive schools-focused tool to support continuous improvement in facilities operations. It will expand the community of practice among school facilities managers, leveraging their expertise and commitment to health and sustainability in order to transform the market. 

The Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program will continue to build on HSC’s popular “5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools,” provide educational programming at ISSA North America, and rely upon the esteemed Steering Committee members, who represent leadership in green cleaning at schools and universities across the U.S.

In addition to green cleaning, the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program will allow for an expanded scope to cover areas ranging from indoor air quality monitoring to integrated pest management and beyond. The program will provide school and university facilities managers and custodial teams with:

- Education, standards and implementation guidelines

- A network to accelerate the adoption of best practices

- Recognition of the leaders who achieve success

"This new partnership with Green Seal will help expand upon our work in green cleaning for schools and universities,” says Rochelle Davis, president and chief executive officer at Healthy School Campaign. “We've been building up a network of facility directors across the country, and we're excited to be able to offer them a certification to evaluate and improve their programs — and ensure all students attend schools that support their health and wellness.”

More than 76 million students attend U.S. schools and universities each day, representing 23 percent of the American population. Properly implemented, green facilities management practices reduce exposure to toxic chemicals and asthma triggers, boost attendance, save money, increase the lifespan of facilities, and significantly save carbon emissions. 

Facilities staff are particularly susceptible to health problems from frequent exposure to toxic chemicals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 6 percent of school custodians are injured on the job each year due to chemical exposures.

Nationwide, schools report that health is a key driver for green cleaning. More than 96 percent of K-12 schools implement some level of green cleaning, and nearly a third implement green cleaning to a very large extent, according to the HSC and ISSA 2018 National Education Facilities Cleaning Survey. More than 70 percent of schools report that access to customizable green cleaning training module outlines, customizable green cleaning procedures and customizable sample green cleaning policies would help them improve their green cleaning practices.