Bill Griffin, President of Cleaning Consultant Services, is an author and green cleaning expert with more than 40 years of experience in the cleaning industry and a lot of valuable information to share about green cleaning— particularly green floor care. His trailblazing talk at the Green Clean Schools Summit in July 2015, hosted by Healthy Schools Campaign, focused on the future of floor care in schools. Griffin shared insight about the future of green cleaning and valuable insider tips on how schools can clean their floors with health in mind in a room full of 90 green cleaning leaders from across K-12 and university communities and the cleaning industry. And now we’re sharing some of those insights and tips with you!
A school’s floors make up the largest surface in the building, which means the way they are cleaned has the potential to make an incredible impact. When it comes to floor cleaning, Bill identified two major changes that can make the process greener and healthier. One is completely free, while the other includes a possible investment in new technology.
Map It Out
“Examine the needs of the floor area, versus treating it based on surface material alone,” advises Griffin. So if a floor area is high traffic, it should be cleaned more frequently. If another floor is made of the same surface but is in a less-used area, it should be cleaned less frequently. This common-sense approach to floor care can streamline workforce management while minimizing the use of potent chemicals—and it requires no upfront investment, only a simple change to cleaning procedure. To help manage this change and develop realistic service schedules, Griffin recommends using a color-coded fire evacuation map of each building that highlights light-, medium- and high-service needs.
Emerging Technologies in Floor Care
In his presentation at the summit, Griffin recommended schools explore newer and healthier alternatives such as engineered water, nano coatings and diamond impregnated floor pads. Engineered water is the process by which tap water from a faucet in the school is treated with a proprietary piece of equipment and turned into a cleaning agent without the use of chemicals. “Nanocoatings and diamond floor pads reduce or eliminate the need for many steps in the maintenance and restoration processes of hard flooring,” says Griffin. That means “no more stripping or refinishing and less burnishing means a reduction in labor, supply and energy costs, less products, steps to the process, a reduction in energy use, less equipment needed and less water and chemicals going into the waste stream.”
If you would like to learn more about green cleaning equipment, check out Step 3 of our 5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools, which provides more detailed guidance on choosing the right equipment, including the latest floor cleaning equipment.
Green Cleaning Is a Journey
Still, it’s not about finding one miracle solution or piece of equipment to solve your budget, health and environmental concerns, warns Griffin. “An effective, sustainable cleaning program should not be based on one or more products, but on looking for and finding way to continually improve the processes that are used in a facility,” says Griffin. “It’s a journey and a mindset, not a product and a purchase.”
We’re grateful to Griffin for sharing his enthusiasm for green cleaning, expertise in healthy cleaning processes, and generous sense of humor with us at the Green Clean Schools Summit in Seattle last July. At the Summit, school participants alone represented the cleaning of more than 1 million square feet of school facilities and protecting the health of more than 700,000 students. Having all of these leaders together in one room was an exciting moment for green cleaning in schools, and we hope to keep that conversation going in our blog and as we prepare for next year’s Summit, too.
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