Janitorial Services: Key Players in Achieving LEED Certification

Jason Hunt
November 24, 2023

Janitorial services are often overlooked when it comes to sustainability, but they play a vital role in achieving LEED certification.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building rating system that recognizes buildings that are designed, constructed, and operated to minimize their environmental impact.

Here we will answer vital questions that determine how janitorial services play a pivotal role in helping achieve LEED certification.

Understanding LEED Certification

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.

The certification process is based on points earned in several categories, including energy efficiency, water usage, air quality, and cleaning and maintenance protocols. The more points a building earns, the higher the level of certification – from Certified, Silver, Gold, to Platinum.

Role of Janitorial Services in Achieving LEED Certification

Disinfecting in home

Green Cleaning Program

The janitorial industry has evolved to adopt green cleaning practices for a greener future, and more sustainable cleaning practices. The green cleaning program allows janitorial service providers to tune their practices to align themselves better in helping achieve LEED certifications for buildings.

Their contributions may seem minimal, but are impactful and scale with time. Here are the components of the green cleaning program.

Green Cleaning Products

Green cleaning products are made with non-toxic ingredients that are safe for people and the environment.

They also use less water and energy than traditional cleaning products. There are quite a few manufacturers who focus on green cleaning products with special consideration of the effects they have on the environment.

When choosing green cleaning products, it is important to look for products that are certified by a reputable third-party organization, such as Green Seal or Environmental Choice.

These certifications help to ensure that the products meet certain environmental standards.

Indoor Air Quality Management

hand holding built-in large air conditioner remote control in the hospital

Another key area where janitorial services can contribute is the Indoor Environmental Quality category. Proper maintenance and cleaning are essential to ensure good indoor air quality – a critical factor in LEED certification.

For instance, using low-emitting cleaning products and equipment can reduce indoor air pollutants, providing a healthier environment for the building’s occupants.

Additionally, regular cleaning and maintenance of HVAC systems by janitorial services help optimize the system’s performance and maintain indoor air quality.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This is because buildings trap air pollutants, such as dust mites, mold, and pollen.

Janitorial services can help to reduce these pollutants by using green cleaning products and practices that are designed to remove them from the air.

Some of the things that janitorial services can do to improve indoor air quality include:

  • Using green cleaning products that are made with non-toxic ingredients.
  • Vacuuming and dusting regularly to remove dust, pollen, and other allergens from the air.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly to remove bacteria and viruses.
  • Maintaining good ventilation in the building.
  • Avoiding the use of harsh chemicals and fragrances.

Waste Management

Garbage pile in trash dump or landfill

Janitorial services also play a crucial role in effective waste management – another significant area for earning LEED points. This involves implementing a robust recycling program, reducing waste generation, and managing waste in a manner that reduces the impact on the environment.

The EPA estimates that businesses can reduce their waste by up to 70% by implementing recycling and composting programs.

There are a number of different sustainable waste management practices that janitorial services can implement, including:

  • Recycling: Recycling helps to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfills and incinerators. Janitorial services can help businesses implement recycling programs by providing recycling bins and educating staff on how to recycle properly.
  • Composting: Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials into nutrient-rich soil. Janitorial services can help businesses to implement composting programs by providing composting bins and educating staff on how to compost properly.
  • Food waste donation: Food waste donation is the practice of donating leftover food to local food banks or other organizations that can use it to feed people in need. Janitorial services can help businesses to implement food waste donation programs by providing food waste donation bins and educating staff on how to donate food waste properly.

Energy-Efficient Equipment

Renewable energy. green revolution.

Janitorial services can play a vital role in helping businesses achieve their LEED certification goals by using energy-efficient equipment. Energy-efficient equipment uses less energy to operate, which saves businesses money and reduces their environmental impact.

The EPA estimates that businesses can save up to 30% of their energy consumption by implementing energy-efficient practices.

There are a number of different types of energy-efficient janitorial equipment available, including:

  • Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters: HEPA filters remove even the smallest particles from the air, helping to improve indoor air quality. HEPA filter vacuum cleaners also use less energy than traditional vacuum cleaners.
  • Floor polishers with variable speed motors: Variable speed motors allow users to adjust the speed of the floor polisher based on the type of flooring they are cleaning. This helps to save energy and extend the life of the floor polisher.
  • Microfiber cleaning supplies: Microfiber cleaning supplies are highly absorbent and can trap dirt and grime without the use of harsh chemicals. This helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to clean surfaces.

In addition to using energy-efficient equipment, janitorial services can also help businesses to save energy by:

  • Turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
  • Unplugging electronic devices when they are not in use.
  • Using natural light whenever possible.
  • Closing blinds and curtains during the summer to keep out the heat.
  • Opening blinds and curtains during the winter to let in the sunlight.

By using energy-efficient equipment and following these tips, janitorial services can help businesses to save energy and reduce their environmental impact.

Staff Training on Sustainable Practices

happy businesswoman giving presentation on natural resources to his colleagues

Janitorial services can also help businesses to achieve their LEED certification goals by training their staff on sustainable practices. This training can help staff to understand the importance of sustainability and how to implement sustainable cleaning practices in their work.

Some of the topics that can be covered in janitorial staff training on sustainable practices include:

  • The importance of sustainability and the benefits of sustainable cleaning practices.
  • How to choose green cleaning products.
  • How to use green cleaning products safely and effectively.
  • How to implement sustainable waste management practices, such as recycling and composting.
  • How to conserve water and energy while cleaning.
  • By training their staff on sustainable practices, janitorial services can help to ensure that their clients are able to maintain a clean and sustainable environment.

Maintaining LEED Certification

Importantly, achieving LEED certification is not a one-time event. Buildings need to maintain or improve their standards to keep their certification during periodic reviews.

Continuous implementation of green cleaning practices and efficient waste management is crucial, emphasizing the ongoing role of janitorial services in maintaining LEED certification.

Benefits of Working with a Janitorial Service Committed to Sustainability

Green cleaning bucket with cleaning products

There are countless benefits to working with a janitorial service that is committed to sustainability. These benefits include:

  • Reduced environmental impact: Janitorial services that use green cleaning products and practices and implement sustainable waste management programs can help businesses reduce their environmental impact. This can lead to several benefits, such as improved indoor air quality, reduced water consumption, and reduced energy consumption.
  • Cost savings: Janitorial services that are committed to sustainability can help businesses to save money on their cleaning costs. This is because green cleaning products and practices are often less expensive than traditional cleaning products and practices. Additionally, sustainable waste management programs can help businesses to reduce their waste disposal costs.
  • Improved reputation: Working with a janitorial service that is committed to sustainability can help businesses to improve their reputation. This is because customers and employees are increasingly looking to support businesses that are committed to environmental responsibility.

The Bottom Line

Janitorial services, with their critical role in green cleaning, indoor air quality management, and waste management, are key players in achieving and maintaining LEED certification.

By embracing sustainable practices, these services not only contribute to healthier, more efficient buildings but also play a significant role in the broader movement towards sustainable development.

Ultimately, by understanding and leveraging the potential of janitorial services, building owners, and managers can strive towards their sustainability goals, and achieve or maintain the prestigious certification.

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