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You’ve already switched to natural cleaning formulas, recycled paper towels, microfiber cloths and
products that have minimal packaging
– so now what? Take a look at your cleaning machines. This equipment can reduce
energy and water consumption, support
indoor air quality and protect workers
Vet Your Vacuums
Vacuums should be effective at remov-ing dirt from carpet without contaminating
the air with particles. Look for models that
are Seal of Approval/Green Label certified
by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). This
program ensures that vacuums maintain
high soil removal, won’t damage the pile
and keep dust locked into the chamber.
CRI also offers a separate certification
for carpet extraction equipment. “
HEPA-like filters improve indoor air quality, and
disposable, sealable bags are essential to
contain the particulate during bag replacement,” adds Gary Tourre, Senior Sales
Technical Trainer for Staples.
Particularly with the rise in day cleaning,
machines shouldn’t create noise pollution
for workers or put users at risk of hearing
damage. Under the LEED category for the
High Performance Green Cleaning Program
(EQ3.1), the credit recommends that vacu-
ums “operate with a sound level of less
than 70 dBA (A-weighted decibels).”
If your facility has large expanses of car-
pet, using a vacuum “with variable power
levels will reduce energy consumption as
well as lower sound levels,” Tourre notes.
Straighten Up Scrubbers
Scrubbers don’t need to use excessive
amounts of product, water or power to get
your floors to sparkle. Tourre recommends
“an optional precise dosing system to minimize the use of cleaning chemicals. Foam-activated scrubbing systems and electrically
converted water systems can further reduce
the need for chemicals.” It’s also possible to
use plain tap water if soiling is light.
“Orbital scrubbers with rectangular
heads minimize the amount of chemicals
Step Up Your Green Cleaning Program
Are your janitorial machines supporting your sustainability goals?
BY JENNIE MORTON
and water needed,” Tourre adds. “Floor
pads for both orbital and disc-type
machines eliminate the use of chemicals to
remove floor finish as well.”
If you have propane-powered equip-
ment, LEED recommends models that
have “high-efficiency, low-emissions
engines with catalytic converters and
mufflers that meet the California Air
Resources Board (CARB) or EPA standards
for that engine size.” These should likewise
operate under 90 dBA. Points are also
available for automated scrubbers with
variable-speed feed pumps.
Green cleaning is so much more than
the type of soap or machines you use.
Your maintenance staff deserves to complete their tasks without the risk of injury.
“Ergonomic equipment reduces back
strain, repetitive stress injuries and other
ailments caused by manual methods,”
stresses Tourre. The LEED EQ3.1 language
also emphasizes that “powered equipment
[should be] ergonomically designed to
minimize vibration, noise and user fatigue.”
For wand tools, like dusters or brushes,
“adjustable handles that consider the
operator’s height are helpful in reduc-
ing hand and wrist injuries,” says Tourre.
Budget permitting, upgrading from walk-behind to ride-on equipment is also better
for operators because it reduces fatigue
and accidents. As an added bonus, Tourre
adds, riding machines can also increase
productivity by up to 40%. B