Even the cleaning is green at Western Michigan University

From energy efficient buildings to a fund that supports energy saving projects, sustainability is a big deal at Western Michigan University. That goes for the way the school cleans its buildings, too.

WMU has a green cleaning policy that has led it to be one of only four universities in the nation to be recognized for custodial practices in its buildings. 

After a yearlong effort, WMU has become Green Seal Certified for its commercial and institutional cleaning services. To obtain certification the university went through extensive documentation and an on-site visit by Green Seal. The nonprofit helps organizations be greener by offering specific standards they are to meet.

WMU had to formulate a green cleaning policy, get standard operating procedures in order, perfect a training plan for new hires and on-going training for team members. It also identified ways to reduce waste and the use of chemicals. 

The department also uses cleaning products, equipment and processes that reduce the exposure of building occupants and facility management personnel to potentially hazardous chemicals.

Two major changes that occurred in WMU's processes were the switch to a water-based, cleaning system which allowed the university to basically eliminate daily chemical cleaners, with the exception of disinfectant, and a change in floor care procedures that allowed WMU to eliminate the use of floor stripper and finish.

"A lot of people were engaged with policy and product changes, and they educated 167 custodians who clean 54 primary buildings every day," says Peter Strazdas, associate vice president of Facilities Management. "This certification validates the cultural shift to a more sustainable campus environment with our cleaning practices and products."

Source: Deanne Puca, Western Michigan University
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