“…green for a reason”
The ‘Green Clean Team’
Why have a GREEN building?
A green building, also known as a sustainable building, is a structure that is designed, built, renovated, operated, or reused in an ecological and resource-efficient manner.
Green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently; and reducing the overall impact to the environment.
A green building can have serious economic and health benefits as well as helping to take better care of our environment. Many are now requiring buildings to be certified to renew leases. There are also many legal reasons to maintain a green building.
Perhaps your building is not new and cannot receive the highest certification, however, you can still become a shade of green.
Environmental and Health Issues
Professional janitors use a number of cleaning and maintenance products as they perform their work. Janitors use general purpose cleaners bathroom and tile cleaners, and glass cleaners on a daily basis. They may use products such as carpet cleaners, dusting aids, floor wax strippers and floor polishes on an occasional or periodic basis. Each year about six out of every 100 professional janitors are injured by the chemicals in the products that they use. Burns to the eyes and skin are the most common injuries, followed closely by breathing toxic fumes. Repeated long-term exposure may cause chronic illnesses or allergic reactions to workers who are exposed to chemicals regularly.
Additionally, tenants wash tons of liquid cleaners down the drain, which may eventually flow into our rivers and ocean, or end up on agricultural land. For example, researchers found that approximately 75 percent of the antibacterial hand soap ingredient, triclocarban, persists during wastewater treatment and accumulates in municipal sludge, which later is used as fertilizer for crops.
A commitment to green cleaning can potentially help agencies, municipalities, or companies improve safety and reduce health risks associated with the use, storage, or disposal of chemicals used in traditional cleaning and it may even improve attendance
What is Green Cleaning?
Green cleaning involves using green or environmentally preferable products and practices. Green or environmentally preferable products include products that are certified to contain lower or insignificant amounts of toxic or hazardous chemicals and have reduced or minimal adverse environmental impacts. Green or environmentally preferable cleaning practices refers to methods and practices that reduce the exposure, of both janitorial staff and building occupants, to toxic or hazardous chemicals and the release of polluting chemicals into the environment.
Many green janitorial products, such as general purpose, bathroom, glass or carpet cleaners, are available that have received independent third-party certification regarding their overall performance and environmental impact.
Additionally, facilities can potentially reduce regulatory, procedural, and financial burdens by switching to green cleaning products and practices.
Indoor Air Quality
Traditional cleaning products may contain ingredients that are toxic or hazardous, including some chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). VOCs may be added to cleaning products as the active or functional cleaning ingredient or as a fragrance. Some VOCs may be toxic when in contact with skin or when inhaled. Additionally, non-visible particles of a size that can be inhaled may be formed during the use of some cleaning products.
Exposure to toxic or hazardous ingredients and inhalable-size particles is cause for concern as adverse health effects may result that include skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, rashes, and even cancer.
Because a custodian is in close proximity to the use of the chemicals, he or she will experience the greatest risk. Other workers entering areas being cleaned or working nearby and building occupants can also be exposed to varying levels of VOCs and inhalable-size particles after cleaning products are used. Generally, these volatile chemicals and particles are diluted or removed through regular building ventilation or removed from the air by settlement on surfaces.
But many building are cleaned after core work hours when ventilation systems are not in operation or greatly reduced, potentially heightening exposure of janitors or staff.
An emerging concern is the use of antibacterial chemicals, triclosan and triclocarban, that break down slowly and can build up in the environment.
These chemicals are found in many antibacterial consumer products. Additionally there is concern that widespread use of these products may help create germs resistant to antibiotics. Avoid products with persistent chemicals.
Laws and Policies
There are many laws and policies which affect upper management in an agency, municipality, or company, while others directly impact janitorial management and staff.
Changing cleaning practices and using less toxic products can improve safety and reduce health risks to workers and occupants and can reduce certain regulatory requirements, which can save organizations money.
GREEN is doing what we should do.
Choosing less-hazardous products can minimize harmful impacts to custodial workers, improve indoor air quality, and reduce water pollution.
Indoor Air Quality:
Indoor air quality can be affected by volatile organic chemicals that are present in some cleaning products. Products with corrosive, carcinogenic, and irritating chemicals should be avoided.
Buying cleaners in concentrates and returnable or reusable packaging reduces packaging waste.
Buying less-hazardous cleaners may reduce your hazardous waste costs when it comes time to properly dispose of any leftover cleaners.
Green is A Conscious Choice…
Fernic Building Maintenance is a full service janitorial company established in 1992 by Luis Pardo. Fernic has built a solid reputation based on its “old fashioned” customer-centric approach. Fernic offers the highest quality work at the most affordable and competitive rates.
Fernic’s staff is highly trained, knowledgeable, and certified in the latest “green” building techniques.