Apply for the Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities!

Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities DeadlineAugust 28, 2013 – Schools and school districts from coast to coast are demonstrating innovation, expertise and a commitment to health through green cleaning. Every year, we highlight schools and universities whose green cleaning programs have gone above and beyond to protect the health of students and staff without harming the environment.

We are looking for exemplary green cleaning programs in schools all across the country. Achieve recognition and highlight your school’s green cleaning program! Apply for the 2013 Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities »

This award, presented in collaboration with American School & University MagazineHealthy Schools Campaign, and the Green Cleaning Network, recognizes the efforts of schools around the nation with outstanding green cleaning programs. Through national recognition, it honors schools and their partners that embrace green principles and practices in their maintenance operations.

School Child

The judging criteria for this award is based on the Five Simple Steps to Green Cleaning outlined in HSC’s Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools. Winners will be profiled in a special supplement in the December issue of American School & University Magazine.

Applications must be received by September 6, 2013. The deadline is just over a week away, so get those applications in soon! Don’t miss this opportunity to spotlight your school’s green cleaning program!

Learn more and download the application »

LEED-EBOM v4 Passes – Good News for Green Cleaning!

Bloomington, IN – August 23, 2013 – The members of the USGBC finally approved the new version of their LEED Rating Systems after 3 years of effort, 5 rounds of public comments and thousands upon thousands of comments.

Overall, I am very pleased with how the changes to the cleaning prerequisite and credits will affect the cleaning industry; along with its impacts on building occupants, cleaning personnel and the environment.

While it is not perfect, it does include some important improvements to keep LEED on the leading edge (forgive the pun). This is especially true when it applies to the cleaning industry in which we helped increase the required purchases of Green chemicals, paper and plastic liners from 30% to 75%, and doubled the required purchases of Green equipment.

We also added new compliance options such as including EPA’s Design for the Environment Program (DfE) and Ecoform’s Transpare program, which creates more flexibility for both manufacturers and purchasers; and created options for new innovative technologies such as devices that create cleaning solutions from water. One of the things I am most proud is that V4 expands the scope of responsibility for cleaning personnel to consider how they affect the building’s energy and water consumption – a real step forward and something that we will continue to encourage.

LEED Version Four

All together we believe the totality of these improvements will help reduce the cost of Green Cleaning products, reward manufacturers who continue to invest in new innovative products, encourage service providers to provide better training and support for their workers, and continue the cleaning industry’s contribution to sustainability. So let me thank all of the USGBC staff and volunteers for their hard work. It is greatly appreciated and will truly make an important difference.

For those of you coming to Las Vegas for the NFMT Vegas 2013 Conference on September 17th and 18th, I hope you’ll find time to attend my session on “Green Cleaning: Getting Vendors to Implement Changes to LEED-EBOM v4″. The session will be on Wednesday from 10:00 – 10:50am. And while the ISSA Convention isn’t until November, I will be doing an update on LEED-EBOM V4’s Impacts on the Cleaning Industry as well, plus another program to begin a discussion of the future of Green paper products.

And for any of you in the New York City area, I hope you’ll find time to come to the Green Sports Alliance’s annual Summit which begins this Monday, August 26 and runs through Wednesday, August 28. There will be some great sessions and tours of local professional stadiums. I am moderating a panel on Green Cleaning that will include Jim Jones, who is Assistant Administrator at EPA, and several professional stadium managers. I think sports create a huge opportunity for us to begin mainstreaming Green Cleaning and Green issues in general. And besides, hanging out with the professional sports teams will be fun!

By Stephen Ashkin, The Ashkin Group – Originally published in DestinationGreen, August 23, 2013.

6 Winning Strategies for Green Cleaning

Green Cleaning Award

Bloomington, IN – May 21, 2013 – The Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities was created through collaboration between American School & University magazine, the Green Cleaning Network, and Healthy Schools Campaign. Each year, the award recognizes the efforts of schools around the nation with outstanding green cleaning programs. Through national recognition, it honors schools and their partners that embrace green principles and practices in their maintenance operations.

The following are the “lessons learned” from the winners of the 2012 Green Cleaning Awards for Schools and Universities. These tips may make an important impact on buildings, their occupants, and the environment—and most are feasible, readily available, and affordable. These six lessons provide all BSCs—even those that don’t clean schools—with valuable examples of how they can make their own operations more sustainable.


6 Lessons Learned

1. Products
In 2012, every winner used an assortment of green chemicals, paper, equipment, tools and other products, but so did every entrant. Thus, it is clear that green products are widely available, meet performance requirements, and are cost-effective. Innovations in this area included efforts to reduce product consumption by using those that have higher performance and greater durability. The use of microfiber products is expanding (although concerns are increasing about quality because of the lack of any product standards in this category). And there is growth in the use of devices that ionize, ozonate, electrolyze, and otherwise turn water into cleaning solutions.

2. Training
Every program provided training to custodians; after all, it is the law. But the winners went beyond the minimum OSHA requirements and those for new employees. Innovations included training custodians on how they can reduce energy, water and waste while increasing recycling and composting. The winners went above and beyond by engaging and providing training to students, staff, visitors, and other stakeholders on what they can do to create a cleaner, safer and more healthful environment.

3. Outreach
The winners worked to engage others through their schools, districts and campuses. Posters, newsletters, competitions, events, and social and traditional media helped make green cleaning and sustainability efforts clear, visible, and frequent. Innovations included garnering the “public” support of senior leaders in the school or university, as well as in the community, to give credibility and importance to the issue.

4. Teamwork
One of the more important lessons from the winners was teamwork that includes the entire institution and not just the custodial department. Schools and universities, large and small, urban and rural, are dealing with budget and staffing cuts. So working constructively with teachers, students, staff, parents, and others was a key to success. Innovations varied from those actually engaging students in cleaning to higher-level engagement on green teams to help administer, manage, and expand programs. Just imagine what could be achieved if schools elevated participation on the green team to the same level as being on the basketball or cheerleading squads.

5. Formula
Cleaning is a process, and the winners took the concept to the next level. They had a “formula” for everything, including the process of cleaning, selecting and reviewing products on an established basis, training of custodians, outreach to stakeholders, building the team, and more. This year’s winners scored high in all areas. Innovations in this area included clear and written processes and expectations, along with efficient execution that measured progress and identified opportunities for improvement.

6. Verification
Although it was common to find the use of independent third parties such as Green Seal, EcoLogo, EPA’s DfE Program and the Carpet & Rug Institute to verify product claims, the leaders did much more. For example, several of the winners used third parties such as Green Seal and ISSA to verify the performance of their entire cleaning program, including products, training, and management systems. Innovations in this area included the use of new technologies, such as ATP meters to measure soil on surfaces. The use of such measurement tools objectively determined how clean surfaces really were, so resources could be applied effectively in an effort to create and maintain buildings that are most conducive to learning.

For more information on the Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities and to see the list of 2012 winners, visit

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