Sustainable cleaning is not an all or nothing proposition. It's about making improvements in your cleaning program that are environmentally preferred and better for the health and safety of all the people that use or work in your facility. At Hillyard, we have identified five levels of sustainability that can help your cleaning program become more sustainable. Each level builds on the previous level.
Use the Sustainable Cleaning Survey to see what it takes to get on the path to a sustainable cleaning program. Contact your Hillyard account manager or one of our Hillyard LEED-AP O&M-accredited professionals for more assistance. E-Mail a Hillyard LEED-AP here.
Use institutional cleaners, hand soaps and floor care formulas that are certified by Green Seal™. Look for products certified by the USDA for their biobased content. And, look for sports floor care coatings that are MAS-certified green.
At a minimum, use paper products that meet EPA guidelines for post-consumer fiber content. Green Seal™ paper and tissue standards exceed EPA guidelines.
Use trash can liners made with resins that contain at least 10% post-consumer content.
Green Seal™ is an independent, non-profit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment. Green Seal™ has no financial interest in the products that it certifies or recommends or in any manufacturer or company. Green Seal's evaluations are based on state-of-the-art science and information using internationally recognized methods and procedures. Green Seal™ provides credible, objective, and unbiased information whose only purpose is to direct the purchaser to environmentally responsible products and services. Green Seal™ cleaning product standards include:
Institutional Cleaners, GS-37
Institutional Floor Care Products, GS-40
Institutional Hand Cleaners, GS-41
Tissue Products, GS-01
Paper Towel Products, GS-09
Use vacuums certified by the Carpet & Rug Institute to clean your carpet and protect indoor air quality. Vacuums that qualify for CRI's Green Label must pass performance tests on three key measures: soil removal, dust containment, and carpet appearance retention.
Vacuums should operate at less than 70 dBA sound level and capture at least 96% of particulate 0.3 microns in size.
Use extractors capable of removing sufficient moisture so carpets dry in less than 24 hours. Look for the Carpet & Rug Institute Seal of Approval, which tests soil removal, water recovery, and appearance retention.
Autoscrubbers need to be equipped with variable-speed pumps that optimize the use of cleaning solutions. They need to operate at less than 70 dBA sound level and use environmentally preferable gel batteries.
Buffers and burnishers need to be equipped with guards, vacuums or other devices designed to capture fine particulate. And, they need to operate at less than 70 dBA.
Use equipment with 1/2 gallon per minute flow rate to reduce water consumption and over-saturation. Use battery-operated equipment with extremely quiet operation.
Redistribute workloads, redefine daily cleaning processes, and implement high performance systems to improve the outcomes of daily cleaning and extend the time between major restorative cleaning projects.
Identify and document in a cleaning plan high traffic, high impact, higher frequency cleaning areas and lower frequency cleaning areas, then balance your workloads accordingly.
Microfiber captures more dirt, drastically reduces chemical use, lasts longer than conventional string mops, and takes less effort to use. With microfiber flat mop systems, your staff is always cleaning with fresh solution.
Investing in 12 to 20 feet of high quality mats at each entry point reduces the amount of soil tracked into your building, lowering the burden on the cleaning department.
CCAP is a computer-based program that helps you manage and analyze your cleaning program. It's perfect for helping you make the transition to green cleaning. Hillyard CCAP can help:
Assign and Balance Workloads
Monitor and Assess Quality
Generate Critical Reports
Currently, Green Seal™ is the only independent, third-party organization certifying sustainable cleaning programs. Green Seal™ has published a standard, GS-42, Green Seal Environmental Standard for Cleaning Surfaces.
GS-42 establishes requirements for in-house cleaning programs and external cleaning services to provide a green cleaning program for commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings. The focus of GS-42 is general cleaning activities and does NOT cover highly specialized areas like operating rooms, IT clean rooms, etc.
GS-42 embraces five key areas:
Products, Supplies & Equipment
Cleaning Procedure Requirements
Green Seal™ has instituted an annual monitoring process as part of maintaining certification to help cleaning operations stay on track while giving service providers input and assurance that their green cleaning procedures are being periodically evaluated.
GS-42, because it is a third party, science-based standard, can help set cleaning operations apart from others. Not only does it offer greater peace of mind for doing the right thing, it elevates your cleaning program and becomes a powerful differentiator and marketing tool.
Implementing a sustainable cleaning program can be one part of a comprehensive green building strategy. Other components can include:
Energy & Water Conservation Strategies
Flooring Surfaces Made with Recycled Content
Increasing Natural Light Levels
Water Conservation Strategies
Today, more and more organizations are looking to the United States Green Building Council for guidance in greening their organization. The USGBC is a tremendous source of useful information. Additionally, they have certification levels that organizations can pursue if interested.
The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation's foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote facilities that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Green Building Rating System
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.
LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Get more information at