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In this article we discuss

  1. What is Green Cleaning?
  2. Why to go for Green Cleaning?
  3. Green Cleaning in LEED

What is Green Cleaning?

Green cleaning refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients and procedures which are designed to preserve human health and environmental quality.

Why Green Cleaning?

Conventional cleaning products may contain bleach, ammonia and other chemical agents that leave your home or office looking clean, but pollute the air quality. Many ingredients found in household cleaners can cause eye irritation, skin irritation, lung irritation and have been implicated as possible contributes to asthma and cancer. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals simply due to the fact that they are smaller and still growing

Green Cleaning products are

  • Non-toxic
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Biodegradable
  • Hypoallergenic i.e. less allergenic
  • No harmful fumes
  • Septic tank safe
  • Free of petrochemicals, chlorine bleach, phosphates, nitrates, borates, kerosene, phenol, lye, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, ammonia, formaldehyde, etc.
  • No animal testing
  • Recyclable packaging

LEED and Green Cleaning

LEED O+M addresses green cleaning widely in the prerequisites and credits. In BD+C and ID+C projects can score Innovation credit by incorporating Green Cleaning policy. Following are the prerequisite and credits associated with Green Cleaning in LEED O+M

1. EQ Prerequisite – Green Cleaning Policy

In order to comply with the prerequisite projects much establish a green cleaning policy.

What is expected in a Green Cleaning Policy?

The green cleaning policy defines the actions necessary to reduce the level of chemical use, protect the life of the building, increase indoor air quality, and reduce the environmental harms caused by traditional cleaning programs. A good policy identifies responsible parties and outlines how to measure progress toward the goals. The requirements of the green cleaning prerequisite align with already-established third-party certifications. These certification programs outline the practices, procedures, products, and equipment of a viable green cleaning program.

Projects can use USGBC template for Green Cleaning Policy available in http://www.usgbc.org/resources/eqp-green-cleaning-policy-template

2. EQ Credit – Green Cleaning – Custodial Effectiveness

To achieve this credit project has to audit the implementation and effectiveness of Green Cleaning Policy.  The Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) has developed a standard auditing procedure that managers can follow to monitor cleaning performance over time. Trends can thus be identified and best practices shared with custodial staff, creating a continuous improvement process.

3. EQ Credit – Green Cleaning – Products and Materials

This credit requires that projects should purchase green cleaning products such as floor finishes and strippers, disposable janitorial paper products, and trash bags. Green Cleaning products should contribute to 75% by choice.  Green Cleaning products should meet the requirement of the following or equivalent international standard

  • Green Seal
  • EPA Safer Choice Standard (Previously Environmental choice)
  • UL Eco logo

4. EQ Credit – Green Cleaning –Equipment

This credit requires projects to use of high performance cleaning equipment. High-performance green cleaning equipment typically uses less energy and water and often requires less abrasive cleaning compounds or less toxic cleaning chemicals, thereby protecting the indoor air quality of a building and limiting occupants’ exposure to chemicals. In addition, it may require fewer repairs, be more effective, and cause less damage to building surfaces.

This credit requires the purchase and use of green cleaning equipment that is certified for efficiency and ergonomic design to minimize vibration, noise, and user fatigue and thus reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal or repetitive stress injuries. At least 40% of the powered cleaning equipment should comply with the requirements of Green Cleaning Equipment

Mr. K M Bazeeth Ahamed is an USGBC LEED Faculty & consultant in Green Buildings. He has completed his Post Graduation in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology in 2002 and has spent 12 years in Academics, Research, MEP Contracting, Energy Audits and Green Building Consultancy.

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