Sustainability  >  Buildings  >  Green Cleaning

Green cleaning

Facilities Management is proud to announce that we have fully implemented our Green cleaning practices here at the University.

What is green cleaning, you ask?  “Green Cleaning” is a term that had been coined to describe away cleaning using environmentally friendly ingredients and chemicals for household, industrial and commercial cleaning. Green cleaning products do not contain chemically reactive and toxic components that can emit volatile organic compounds or be absorbed through the skin.  Both of these issues can cause respiratory and other adverse health problems. The custodians know that Green chemicals are much safer for them.

Although change is sometimes hard to accept, the custodial staff here at Creighton has embraced the need for this change and have really done an outstanding job making these cleaners work. There is still the call for the old cleaners now and then, but most of the custodians have been very accepting of this new way of cleaning.

As some may know, using green chemicals can be more labor consuming. Since certain ingredients have been removed from these chemicals it takes more time to make them work. In the custodial business we call that “dwell time”. There is a certain loss of efficiency at first, but as time progressed everyone found a routine on how to use their time wisely and still make the chemical work to their advantage.

We have worked diligently to find the most cost effective cleaners for Creighton University. When we approached our vendors with the idea of going green, they immediately set about searching for the best quality products and competitive pricing they could. When we settled on the products we wanted, they equated to the same price we were paying for our core, non- green chemicals. However we did need to remove all the old products and restock the campus with the new. We have cut out at least 75% of our old inventory. This involved a jump in quantity of product delivered and money spent. It is still too soon to see if it will even out in the end, but it should become a significant savings for Facilities in the future.

Even with the implementation of green cleaners, we still must retain non-green products to maintain the campus buildings. There are no true Green disinfectants so we must use this product for health and safety standards. Other products are used only with strict supervision from managers and supervisors and are used only when necessary.  All non green products that are requested must be approved by the custodial manager or directors. The probable percentage of these products that are used is very minimal, ten percent at the most.

Many people probably do not know that when the Harper center was completed we started with all green products. Our electric powered cleaning equipment such as vacuums are certified by the Carpet and Rug Institutes Green label testing program and have a sound level of 70dBA or less. All powered hard surface equipment have the same sound requirements and are equipped with dust capturing guards and other devices that capture fine particles. The carpet extractors and automatic floor scrubbers are equipped with on board metering devices that optimize water output and cleaning chemicals. All equipment that contain on-board batteries are environmentally preferred gel batteries.

As time progresses, we will purchase only environmentally preferred cleaning equipment for the entire university.  Unfortunately, these pieces do cost more to purchase, but the end result is a cleaner and more healthy environment for all students, faculty, staff and visitors to our beautiful campus.

Here at Creighton University, our custodians are trained not only to be excellent cleaners, but they are also trained in all safety aspects of the job, and as representatives of the university, Facilities management hold our staff to the highest standards possible. As we evolve with our “Green Clean” mission, we will continue to strive for excellence, not only in our cleaning products, but also in the way we do business as a whole.