Many people who work in office environments spend 80-90 percent of their time inside buildings, and buildings trap pollutants. Valencia’s Green Cleaning program has helped improve our air quality, along with the Share the Air Campaign and our choices of paints, carpets and furniture that have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and high quality air filters.
The College’s Green Cleaning program, first piloted in 2006, strives to be toxin-free, while using less energy, water and chemicals. One way we strive to achieve this is by purchasing only Green Seal labeled products that are certified toxin-free –like the GoJo bathroom hand soaps used throughout the College.
The cleaning program has recently focused on altering cleaning methods that will increase conservation and safety. For example, old-fashioned mopping has been largely eliminated at Valencia, as it uses a large amount of water and exposes staff to contamination when wringing out the mops. Currently, self-propelled scrubbing equipment is used as a safer alternative, with dust mopping as needed.
High dusting in classrooms with shake dusters is now accomplished with the use of backpack vacuums with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration for high areas – thereby reducing dust in the air and entryways into all buildings are equipped with walk-off mats to reduce the occurrence of loose particles entering the building.
Other updated cleaning methods include carpet cleaning techniques that greatly reduce the amount of water that is used, thus reducing drying time and improving indoor air quality. The College has also improved the processes for maintaining hard floors in a way that eliminates the need for harsh chemicals and reduces the amount of dust created during routine maintenance.
Melvin Scott, West Campus custodial supervisor, and one of the pioneers of Valencia’s Green Cleaning program, also notes that all Green Seal certified cleaning solutions are dispensed at lower concentrations than what is recommended by the manufacturer. This procedure conserves resources and reduces risk to staff and occupants.
Valencia’s highly successful Energy Education program focuses on minimizing energy use while maintaining human comfort and indoor air quality. To facilitate this effort, cleaning schedules are arranged around class schedules and after hours cleaning is reduced as well.
These new processes, combined with our efforts, create a cleaner, safer work environment for both employees and students.
Thanks to our “Green Cleaning” custodial team and the College’s investment in sustainability, we can all breathe easier!
For more information about or to offer suggestions for our Green Cleaning Program, contact Deborah Green, director of sustainability, at email@example.com or at extension 1830