Sustainable cleaning – make it a priority to reap the savings

Sustainable cleaning – make it a priority to reap the savings

Building and facility management teams are constantly striving to ensure their facilities perform at a superior level. Optimising efficiency and increasing productivity are usually top of mind when establishing new processes for managing facilities. Both are totally achievable when you embrace sustainable cleaning techniques.

Sustainable Cleaning

An operational aspect that has been cast into the spotlight is the introduction of environmentally sustainable practices. A key part of being environmentally sustainable is implementing green cleaning processes to reduce a building’s footprint on the environment. Reducing chemical usage, limiting water use and encouraging recycling are all important techniques to ensure your building is environmentally sustainable.

The focus for green cleaning is caring for the health of buildings and the environment and it has gained paramount importance. It is driven by the need for:

  • reduced use of chemicals
  • innovative developments in machinery
  • innovative developments in cleaning techniques.
Experience has shown that quality cleaning methods can substantially reduce repair and replacement costs in the maintenance of buildings. So that is a very compelling argument to adopt green cleaning technology.

It is exciting to see the innovation that has emerged over the last decade. For example, microfibre, once a ‘new’ technology, has become ubiquitous. Newly emerging, the introduction of water as a cleaning and sanitising solution surprised many. Havencab was the first Australian company to use this technology (the Tersano lotus pro); and we cracked the chemical glass ceiling, reducing chemical use by up to 93% for our clients.

Also project-based floor care has been impacted by the emergence of oscillating “square” floor machines that are also challenging rotary machines for growing market share. Steam vapour is finding acceptance. Spray-and-vac systems are gaining recognition as a go-to option for restroom care. Even the traditional floor pad has introduced better pads, including diamond-encrusted versions to refinish and strip hard-surface floors without harsh chemicals.

In terms of approaches, we’re also seeing the cleaning industry become better structured and organised. For example more of our clients are adopting our services of quality assurance and real-time reporting.

Standards and national representation

It is argued there are no national standards in Australia similar to the internationally recognised Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS), but ISO is a firmly embedded Australian integrated management system. The cleaning industry is a diverse mix: there are established standards for cleaning systems, for chemicals, products and machinery manufacture, training and auditing standards. However, they have all been specifically developed for particular needs, and they just don’t cover all aspects under one umbrella.

What should you look for in choosing a green cleaning contractor?

Choosing a green cleaning service contractor is no different than choosing any great vendor. You always begin by pre-qualifying all contractors interested in providing services. Use the available certifications and awards to facilitate identifying the few who are most capable. For example, in Australia contractors should be opting to pay rates determined by the Cleaning Services Award.

In addition, buyer-specific issues should to be included, such as contractor financial resources, provision of accurate real-time reporting, size of local business base, safety record, plus industry and building-type experience. As a follow-up to a prequalified short list, you could also focus on the following key issues:

  1. firstly, identify the best-available project manager, one who has great green cleaning experience in a facility like yours
  2. next, look for those businesses who can present a comprehensive and convincing cleaning system, highlighting their green cleaning practices
  3. look for companies that have a record of constant innovation, exploring better and best green products
  4. look for companies that have a record of constant innovation, exploring better and best green products
  5. look for providers of sustainable cleaning services that deliver remarkable results (you can read what our clients say about us here)
  6. finally, apply the “right price” test to the price quoted (colloquially that means that you “get what you pay for”)


Assessing the current popularity of green cleaning

With over 40 percent of companies using or intending to adopt a green cleaning product strategy the logic is clear. Green cleaning is less harmful to the environment, less harmful to the workers who handle these products, and less harmful to building occupants who come in contact with these products. We outsource contracts for just about every type of property, and the requirement for green products is now fundamental to any contract we manage. There isn’t one industry advisor, contractor, or supplier who is not advocating for a green product strategy.