Green, LEED, sustainability — whatever term you call it, there's no escaping the fact that end users are embracing environmentally friendly cleaning products and getting pretty savvy with procedures.

Last month I had the opportunity to tour Target Field, the LEED for New Construction certified home of the Minnesota Twins (and also considered the greenest ballpark in the United States). It was amazing to learn about some of the green cleaning techniques building service contractor Marsden Bldg Maintenance is implementing there: pressure washing seats with recycled rainwater, composting used paper towels and laundering 1,000 soiled microfiber cloths onsite so they can be used again after the game.

But Marsden is just one example of how sophisticated end users are becoming with green. As end users continue to progress, distributors need to make sure their customers don't outpace them.

This month's cover story, "Green Credentials," profiles two green leaders: WAXIE Sanitary Supply and Nichols. By earning LEED certification for their own facilities these distributors learned firsthand what their customers experience when putting together a required green cleaning program. This knowledge gives WAXIE and Nichols an inside edge over their competitors.

If LEED certifying your own facility sounds like a steep mountain to climb, start small: join the U.S. Green Building Council or have a staff member become a LEED-Accredited Professional. For those who already have taken a first step, it's no time to stop and rest. Green and LEED are constantly changing. New revisions to LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance will be released in 2012 and most likely will include changes to the cleaning portion of the certification.