Traditionally, cleaning in commercial settings has been a task accomplished out of sight and out of mind — that is to say, during the night shifts. But according to Miguel Villa, director of business development, St. Moritz Building Services Inc., Pittsburgh, commercial cleaning is finally seeing the light of day.

“Ten years ago, most buildings were cleaned during second and third shift,” says Villa. “Today, we’re embracing cleaning during the first shift.”

What’s driving this dramatic shift to day cleaning? Contrary to old misconceptions, day cleaning yields enormous energy savings while supporting healthy, green cleaning practices. What’s more, day cleaning increases both customer and employee satisfaction. However, one must consider many factors for it to be effective.

“A day cleaning plan is difficult to implement, and it can be difficult to get people on board,” says Villa. “But when you do it right, you never want to go back.”

For Villa, “doing it right” means having the right priorities and the right equipment.

St. Moritz Building Services employs around 1,300 janitors across 17 states. They’re responsible for cleaning scores of businesses with floor space totaling roughly 37 million square feet. Of that, about 5 million square feet is cleaned during the daytime.

To meet the demand, St. Moritz works with its distributor, Paper Products Co. Inc., in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, to keep as many as 1,000 vacuums in rotation. ProTeam vacuums are Villa’s tool of choice. “ProTeam is the Cadillac of vacuums,” says Villa. “It’s the best of the best as far as we’re concerned. They get abused, they are run hard daily for hours.”

Villa’s ambitious day cleaning strategy requires a fleet of vacuums that are durable, but also efficient. Even more than usual, day cleaning must be accomplished as quickly and unobtrusively as possible. That’s why Villa relies on a variety of ProTeam vacuums.

“It’s got to be the best tool for the space,” he says. “For the lion’s share of work, we use the ProForce 1500XP upright. The Super CoachVac backpack vacuum replaces traditional broom and pan work in many areas — only they’re more efficient, a lot easier, and so much better for indoor air quality. They can also cover much more square footage. During regular business hours, a ProTeam GoFree Flex Pro cordless backpack vacuum removes the risk of tripping on a cord. Eliminating the cord has been pretty awesome.”

With the right equipment, day cleaning can also forward a contractor’s green cleaning and indoor air quality goals. ProTeam products are certified with the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval.

“A lot of buildings are moving towards LEED certification, and we can help them by adopting healthy high performance practices,” says Villa. “When it comes to green cleaning, ProTeam is very aware.”

The right approach — along with the right equipment — has changed the perception of day cleaning among facility executives and janitors alike.

“Customers’ appreciation of cleaning actually increases because they see it happen,” says Villa. “The building occupants get tidier because they know the building cleaners.”