DAVIE, FLORIDA, USA - JULY 27, 2018: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold level certification sign inside building

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is now beta-testing a new credit program specifically designed to address COVID-19. The goal is to ensure effective cleaning and disinfecting are taking place as facilities reopen and people return to the workplace.

The pilot program, LEED O+M v4.1, is authored by Stephen Ashkin, an expert on green cleaning. The credit covers several items all centered around creating, implementing, and using green cleaning best practices to meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines relative to COVID-19 and preventing the spread of this disease.

According to Ashkin, some of the key points and best practices covered in the pilot credit program are the following:

- Using EPA N-List disinfectants, proven effective at eliminating the pathogens that cause coronavirus.

- Working with cleaning solutions certified by the EPA Safer Choice, Green Seal, and UL Ecologo programs.

- Verifying the performance of cleaning technologies such as ionized water, electrolyzed water, and aqueous ozone, and ensuring they meet Green certification standards.

- Procedures for quantitatively testing the cleanliness of surfaces.

- Developing strategies for promoting and improving hand hygiene, including prioritizing soap-and-water hand washing over the use of hand sanitizers where possible.

- Proper and regular use of personnel protective equipment (PPE), including eye protection, masks, gloves, and gowns for all cleaning personnel.

- Realizing the potential hazards of disinfectants and other chemical products and the need for proper disposal of these products.

- Training custodial workers on the basics of infection control, the science of cleaning, and being able to answer occupants’ fundamental questions about infection control, prevention, and Green Cleaning procedures.

“I wanted this last point included in the program because our customers are coming to us for answers, we are their go-to people,” says Ashkin. 

Ashkin is also asking for help from the industry.

"Because this is a pilot program, I am eager to hear from those in our industry about the program, what more should be added, and their own experiences addressing the challenges COVID has presented us," he said.