5 Green Cleaning Tips For Commercial Properties
As commercial properties focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices, it is important they focus on their commercial cleaning services. Property managers can look beyond utility and energy savings programs to green cleaning to make commercial properties more eco-friendly. While green cleaning practices won’t lower utility bills, it normally improves indoor air quality and counts towards LEED Certification.
One challenge with adopting green cleaning practices, is the overall ambiguity of that term. What exactly is green cleaning? While there are many definitions, it generally means adopting sustainable cleaning products and procedures that are designed to preserve human health and environmental quality. For example, using a naturally derived all-purpose cleaner instead of a traditional all-purpose cleaner.
While creating a green cleaning process can be complicated, here are some of the top green cleaning tips for commercial properties that managers can require from their cleaning contractors.
1. Use Safer Standard Products
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made it easier than ever to find commercial green cleaning products. Property managers can quickly search over 2,000 products in the Safer Choice Standard Product Guide. All of these products have undergone rigorous testing and been designated as safer alternatives to traditional cleaning products for humans and animals.
Rather than simply requiring janitorial contractors to use green cleaning products, property managers can use the guide to specify exact products. This extends beyond all-purpose cleaners into almost every area of building maintenance. Product categories outside of traditional cleaning products include:
- Brick and Masonry Cleaners
- Window and Glass Cleaners
- Degreasers and Appliance Cleaners
- Oven/Grill/Barbecue Cleaners
- HVAC Maintenance
Property managers can make commercial properties more green by mandating vendors use Safer Choice Products. Require pressure washing contractors to use green brick and masonry cleaners. Make sure mechanical contractors are use green HVAC cleaning products. Stressing the use of Safer Choice Standard products is number one on our list of green cleaning tips for commercial properties because it extends to almost every area of building maintenance.
2. Require Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Although most paper towels are made from recycled materials, they still end up trash cans after a single use. Instead of paper towels, property managers can require cleaning contractors to use microfiber cleaning cloths. While they are more expensive, microfiber clothes are superior to paper towels in virtually every way. For reference, a case of 216 ULINE microfiber cloths costs $450.
Despite their cost, microfiber cloths offer many advantages over paper towels, and not just in terms of sustainability. Microfiber clothes are washable and reusable. Meanwhile paper towels are discarded after a single use. Often times, they can be washed with just water, eliminating the use of detergents. From a cleaning perspective, microfiber cloths are also superior to paper towels. They effectively collect dust without the use of cleaning products and when cleaning products are necessary, they require less than paper towels.
3. Turn Off The Lights
Although the lights have to be on for contractors to clean, it does not It can be costly, however, to keep all the lights on during after hours cleaning. This is especially true in high rises. By only using lighting as needed during cleaning, property managers can lower utility costs. In effect, this makes the entire building cleaning process more green.
Often times, this is achieved in high rises by systematically cleaning one floor at a time. While this type of approach requires coordination between building engineers, property managers, and cleaning contractors, it is worth it. According to ServiTek, a pioneer in efficient janitorial and facility engineering services, this can reduce utility costs anywhere from 5% to 10% annually.
4. Communicate Changing Cleaning Needs
This green cleaning tip for commercial properties is all about property managers being efficient with their cleaning RFP’s. To illustrate this point, consider this scenario:
A janitorial contract calls for weekly bathroom cleaning and common area carpet vacuuming three times per week. A tenant moves out of the 9th floor of a building, leaving it vacant for 6 months. Due to the vacancy, there is almost no foot traffic on the 9th floor. This presents an often unrealized green cleaning opportunity.
Property managers should coordinate with their cleaning contractor to reduce the frequency of services on the 9th floor. Cutting back to cleaning the bathrooms every week reduces the amount of cleaning products being used in the building. Vacuuming once a week releases less allergens into the air and reduces energy use. At the same time, the lights on the 9th floor have to be turned on once a week, instead of 3 times per week.
5. HEPA Filtered Vacuums
Last but not least on our list of green cleaning tips for commercial properties, are HEPA filtered vacuums. While these vacuums are not green in the sense of being made from natural products or reducing energy use, they do improve indoor air quality. This because these specialized filters trap harmful particles that reduce indoor air quality. In fact, WebMD reports they can provide allergy relief when used regularly.
Common airborne particles that HEPA filters trap include pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and tobacco smoke. The process of vacuuming kicks these particles into the air. HEPA vacuums work by trapping these particles in the vacuum exhaust. They also throw less dust and microscopic dust mites back into the air while vacuuming.
This is another area where property managers can specify in cleaning RFP’s that HEPA filtered vacuums are required. Thankfully, these are not expensive, a base model Dyson Ball Multifloor costs $189.99 and offers whole machine HEPA filtration. Consequently, this is one of the more cost efficient green cleaning tips for properties to roll out.
Find Green Cleaning Contractors Using BidSource
Use BidSource to have the Property Manager Insider team connect you with a local cleaning contractor that specializes in green cleaning for commercial properties. All the commercial cleaning contractors we partner with have capacity and experience working with property managers.