Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
UCalgary’s green cleaning program achieves honours in industry certification
The University of Calgary recently became only the second university in Canada to be awarded a unique green cleaning professional designation.
The Cleaning Industry Management Standard Green Building certification is offered by ISSA, the leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide, and will allow the university to automatically secure maximum points for green cleaning when registering for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
The achievement is the culmination of a two-year journey to "green our clean" by professionalizing caretaking operating procedures, equipment, products and training, ultimately in an effort to ensure a safe and high-quality environment for everyone on campus.
“This designation sets us apart, particularly as a post-secondary institution in Canada,” says Steven Gasser, associate vice-president, Facilities Management. “It shows our long-standing commitment to sustainability and recognizes that we are positioned to perform to the highest green cleaning standard in the industry.”
The team pictured above includes, from left: Patrick Okafor, manager, caretaking; Chin Nay Suy, caretaking staff; Boguslawa Rebosz, caretaking staff; Mike Kassam, associate director, caretaking; Tsering Palmo, caretaking staff; Cui Lan Chen, caretaking staff; Carlos Salinas, caretaking staff; and Nduka Ezechukwu, caretaking supervisor.
Green cleaning is all about maintaining high-quality human and environmental health. The university uses EcoLogo or Green Seal rated cleaning products that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and mostly scent-free, along with ergonomically designed tools for staff to reduce repetitive strain injuries.
“We’ve partnered with industry and collaborated across campus to make sure our products and practices are aligned with the university’s operational sustainability goals,” says Samuel Whyte, caretaking program manager, Facilities.
Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
Red, yellow, blue and green cleaning
The university’s caretaking staff are currently trained as specialists in four areas, articulated through four colours: red for washrooms, locker rooms; yellow for classrooms, laboratories; blue for offices, lunchrooms; and green for public spaces like elevators and hallways.
Caretaking’s team cleaning system ensures that products, tools and equipment don’t cross-contaminate, keeping our campus environment both clean and safe.
A professional caretaker training curriculum also ensures that staff are kept current on the latest industry standards and methods, can provide feedback on tools and practices — from comfort to effectiveness — and access development opportunities.
“We want the university to feel confident in our service,” says Michael Love, director of caretaking, Facilities. “Our people are professionals; we are working to the highest standard to provide our staff and everyone on campus with a safe and healthy environment.”
Did you know?
- Green cleaning saves on water: microfiber cloths create mechanical friction, so you need less water/chemicals to remove dirt.
- UCalgary’s caretaking department works with Environment, Health and Safety on campus to ensure that hand sanitizer is available throughout all of our university campuses to reduce the spread of germs, and also to ensure that equipment meets decibel levels conducive to green cleaning standards.
- One of the early stages of the green cleaning initiative saw the introduction of a matting system at all entrances. The program improves indoor air quality by trapping dirt/dust on the outside of building entrances.
To learn more about sustainability on campus, visit the sustainability website.