Today you can find anyone from building owners, to facility managers, to children, discussing aspects of sustainability. With such green saturation into everyday life, it is not surprising that the question of the day has changed from, “Will we be discussing sustainability?” to “How can we maximize our sustainability efforts”?
To answer the question of the day, the first source you should seek answers from is your janitorial service company. Most midsize to large janitorial contractors have resources you can use to maximize sustainability in your facility. Here are three tips to get greener results from your janitorial service:
Tip #1: To Be or Not to Be … a Janitor
Ok, the title is a cheap play on Hamlet’s immortal soliloquy, but many property and facility managers ask this question. The idea of getting more out of the janitorial staff gets tossed around like a Caesar Salad–one tong goes in bringing the subject up while the other turns it over burying the idea with doubt. Truth is, somewhere in the leafy lettuce mix your cleaners can do more to help your sustainability plan.
Take energy management for example. After-hour plug loads are a big energy drain. Janitorial companies are accustomed to practices that ensure plug loads are not disrupted by the cleaning staff.
For example, facility managers or the janitorial companies often place red dots on outlet fixtures to indicate the outlet is off limits for vacuums, buffers and janitorial equipment because they are a part of a circuit, which sensitive equipment is plugged into. Green dots are used to signify “safe for use”.
You can apply this same system to your energy management plan. Equipment left on (after hours) wastes energy and costs money. A simple solution. Place green dots on equipment or switches that are acceptable for cleaners to turn off. Place yellow dots to indicate “call to notify” equipment was on, and place red dots to indicate “never turn off”.
Train the cleaning staff in this simple system, and you have an effective plug-load reduction system for after hours. Better yet, you are using resources that you are already paying for.
Tip #2: Leverage your Cleaning Company’s Audit System
If you are dealing with an established, successful janitorial services company it is likely the contractor is using an electronic audit system to manage quality. Value-driven contractors will often allow you to use their system for sustainability audits. Vektr is a great example of such a system. Vektr is a web and smartphone based auditing system. The power of Vektr is its ability to create custom audit templates. This means you can create an audit for any focus area you desire. Take for example the High Performance Cleaning System audit required by LEED-EBOM, which dictates use of the APPA rating system. With Vektr, you can use a custom template designed for the APPA rating system.
Using your janitorial provider’s electronic audit system is an efficient way to ensure compliance to your building’s green standards without adding any cost.
Tip #3: Use Sustainable Cleaning Schedules/Workloads
There are two sustainable cleaning schedule/workloads your janitorial company should be able to offer you (if they have the sophistication to offer it).
- The first is team cleaning your facility(s) as opposed to “zone cleaning.” Team cleaning uses specialists who perform specialized tasks throughout the entire facility while zone cleaning puts one cleaner in an area to perform all tasks.Team Cleaning vs. Zone Cleaning
Here is where the efficiency lies in team cleaning. When a person repeats the same task as they do in Team Cleaning, they become more skilled and more efficient than one who tries to multi-task as in zone cleaning. With Team Cleaning less equipment is used, and since the teams’ workflow is concentrated on single a floor or area, you can keep the lights off on the other floors or areas until the actual cleaning occurs. With zone cleaning, you have to use more equipment and since the zone cleaners are distributed throughout the buildings, lights and air handling systems have to remain on through the entire shift increasing your energy costs.
- The second sustainable approach is day-time cleaning. Day cleaning shifts the dry work performed by cleaners to the day and wet work to the early mornings or early evenings when few or no occupants are in the building. Day cleaning can help you achieve up 7-10% reduction in your facility’s energy costs.
The next time you hear the question:
How do you maximize sustainability?
Do not hand them a Caesar Salad, regardless how green the salad is. Instead, explain three specific tips for how to leverage their janitorial services company to maximize green!
“My salad days, When I was green in judgment”
-Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, Act I, Scene 5
In 2011, Marc's team won the large company category, "Best in the Industry" marketing materials from the Building Service Contractor Association International (BSCAI). Marc also directs Varsity's proposal writing, sales process and tools development, marketing campaigns, corporate website SEO performance and customer support center.
Marc has spent his career developing strategic capabilities that enhance value to customers and the company. A Lean Sigma Green belt himself, he developed the company's Lean Sigma offering, providing an innovative solution to customers' need to lower cost while raising quality. He led the development of JanOPS, an industry-leading janitorial operating system, which brings standardization and service consistency to large campus and geographically disperse national accounts.
Prior to this position, Marc was responsible for strategic management at Varsity. He has initiated or directed multiple strategic technology initiatives, ranging from a corporate website, a corporate intranet, a web/smartphone based quality control system, a learning management system, a corporate content manager and knowledge wiki, salesforce.com deployment and customization, and an Android app which facilitates the GROW sales process he has developed.
Marc is the author of several leadership and management training manuals, field guides, marketing collateral and case studies. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and holds a bachelor degree in English/Technical Writing and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Idaho State University. Marc enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and golf. He is happily married, and he and his wife Victoria enjoy raising and spending time with their four children.