Q: It seems like every company wants to be seen as green or offer green products, but what does sustainability really have to do with vacuums and other cleaning equipment?
A: Being green or sustainable is about how much waste is added to landfills, whether products are harmful to the natural environment, and how much water and power are consumed, but those factors only scratch the surface.
At heart, sustainability is the awareness that there is a finite amount of natural resources on this planet. Given those limited resources, how do we consume? Choosing green is choosing priorities, products, and processes that are people-friendly and planet-friendly for the long term. In fact, it might be easier to ask, what factor of life does sustainability not touch?
The U.S. Green Building Council describes the facilities that meet their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards as “high-performing buildings”. The USGBC’s idea of “green” includes anything that makes a building more efficient at using its resources to fulfill its purpose, whether or not there is a direct, measurable impact on the surrounding natural environment.
Maybe a green maintenance practice is one that is designed to make janitorial service company workers more comfortable in their jobs, like the LEED requirement that vacuums be ergonomically designed to reduce user-fatigue, because worker fatigue hurts productivity. Another requirement that vacuums have advanced filtration is meant to benefit the health of building occupants by improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
The widespread acceptance of the USGBC’s sweeping definition of what makes a facility green and sustainable lets us know that this is not a passing trend for tree-huggers and activists. It is a pervasive push towards a higher standard of excellence and innovation. Green and sustainable, in the end, are synonymous with efficient, productive, durable, and cutting-edge… and, yes, that even applies to vacuum cleaners.
ProTeam® celebrates 25 years with the Scholarship Essay Contest. From May 1 to June 30, a cleaning professional or dependent can enter to win one of three $1,000 scholarships. Compose an original 300- to 500-word essay on the topic “Why I Want to be the Recipient of a ProTeam Scholarship” and submit it along with a name and email address to the ProTeam Facebook contest page www.facebook.com/ProTeamVacuums, or to email@example.com. Full contest details and rules are at www.pro-team.com/contest.
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