Environmental sustainability for going green, has become a primary focus for significant institutions and organizations, such as the World Bank and the United Nations. Despite its importance, controversies still arise regarding the cost of establishing a sustainability program and whether it has substantial benefits. However, considering that about 30% of consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom prefer sustainable brands for a better environment, not having a sustainability plan could cause your facility to lose clients.
Implementing green cleaning in the building maintenance process is an excellent place to start. It is a simple and practical step to take to achieve high customer satisfaction, preserve your employees’ health, and improve indoor air quality in an eco-friendly environment. Here are six steps you can take to set up a green cleaning program in your facility:
Assess the Current Situation
The first step to implementing a green cleaning program is to assess your facility’s current efforts toward going green. Once you’ve adequately assessed your facility, pinpointing areas that need immediate attention and actions that are costly to implement, it will be easier to set appropriate goals. Additionally, assessing your facility before implementing a green cleaning system enables you to plan effectively for its maintenance.
Although you should consider everything while assessing your facility, here are specific aspects you should double-check for better planning:
- Energy demand
- Water consumption and conservation
- Greenhouse gas emission
- Waste control
- Environmental compliance
Switch to Green Products
Assessing your facility will help you identify unsustainable products, which leads you to the next step. Choose products that are biodegradable and not toxic, and invest in equipment that saves energy and water. Beyond solar energy, there are other technologies to use in your facility, such as automation tools, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and collaborative robots. These tools enable you and your employees to better manage workloads, improve safety, and practice predictive maintenance.
Here are some green cleaning products to consider:
- Biodegradable laundry detergents made of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) dissolve in water, leaving no residues. Employees are less likely to experience allergic reactions, skin irritation, and respiratory problems, because these eco-friendly laundry detergents are free from chemicals such as phosphate, paraben, and chlorine bleach.
- Eco-friendly air fresheners made from pure essential oils contain no hazardous chemicals such as phthalates and formaldehyde, which are linked to cancer.
Validate Products for going green
Be sure to validate any products before purchasing. The global eco-friendly technology and sustainability market are expected to grow to about US$417.35 billion by 2030, according to Statistica. Therefore, you can expect to find products that falsely claim to be sustainable. With that in mind, it would be best to first determine if a product is green, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.
Consider the following factors to ensure that you are purchasing legitimately green cleaning products:
- Materials—Make sure the materials used to create the product are recyclable and environmentally friendly
- Energy usage—Consider a product’s energy consumption during its use
- Durability—Choose products that will last a long time to reduce waste and costs
- Disposability—If the products are not biodegradable, make sure you can recycle them.
Find Green Partners
Partners can provide sustainable products or utilize waste products from your facility. For instance, instead of disposing of plastics, you can partner with companies that recycle them. Green partners will provide more opportunities in your facility by connecting you to clients that want sustainable products and services. Additionally, they can keep you updated on the best sustainable products and tools you need to maintain a green cleaning facility.
Measure and communicate your progress
It is crucial to measure your facility’s sustainability efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of your eco-friendly cleaning program. You can measure the amount of energy and water consumed, greenhouse gas emissions, and the amount of waste generated.
Measuring the results and comparing them to the benchmarks you set earlier will enable you to identify areas that need improvement. It will also help you determine whether the program is working effectively and the potential savings you can achieve by going green.
Once you’ve measured and analyzed the results, communicate the progress with your employees, clients, and stakeholders. Share the results through newsletters, social media, or your website. Publicizing your sustainability efforts is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to environmental conservation and attract clients who value green practices.
Additional Tips for Transitioning to the Green Economy
Conduct a waste audit
Conducting a waste audit is a great way to identify the types and amounts of waste generated by your facility. A waste audit will help you determine the waste management practices you need to adopt to minimize waste and cut costs. Consider partnering with a waste management company to ensure you dispose of waste properly and minimize environmental harm.
Use sustainable materials
Using sustainable materials is an effective way of reducing your facility’s carbon footprint. You can use materials such as recycled paper, bamboo, or biodegradable plastics in your day-to-day operations. Avoid using single-use plastics, as they are harmful to the environment and take years to decompose.
Practice energy conservation
Practicing energy conservation will help you reduce your energy bills and minimize your carbon footprint. You can start by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and equipment. Turn off all electrical devices when not in use, and encourage your employees to do the same. Consider installing motion sensors to control lighting in your facility.
Optimizing transportation is crucial for reducing your carbon footprint. Consider encouraging your employees to use public transportation, walk, or bike to work. If you have to use vehicles, use fuel-efficient vehicles or switch to electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Conduct regular maintenance
Conducting regular maintenance is vital for ensuring your facility’s equipment and systems work efficiently. Regular maintenance will help you identify and fix any issues before they become costly problems. Proper maintenance will also help you reduce your energy bills and minimize environmental harm.
Transitioning to the green economy is not only beneficial for the environment but also for your facility’s bottom line. By implementing green cleaning and adopting sustainable practices, you can reduce your energy bills, minimize waste, and attract clients who value environmental conservation. Start by assessing your facility, switching to green products, validating products, finding green partners, communicating with employees, setting up a monitoring system, and measuring your progress. By following these steps and additional tips, you can set your route for going green and contribute to a sustainable future.
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