Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant, Michigan)
Number of students: 21,290
Square footage maintained: 5.7 million
Number of full-time custodians: 114
Annual cleaning budget: $4,195,684 (2011-2012)
Green cleaning team members: Jay Kahn, Director of Facilities Operations; William Bremer, Richard Sochacki, Robert McCormick, Brian Senn, Building Supervisors; Romanow Building Services (26), CMU (88), AFSCME, Cleaning Contractor; Arnold Sales, Lansing Sanitary, and Nichols, Janitorial Product Distributors; Isabella County Material Recovery Facility
Central Michigan University’s green cleaning program began in 2007 with the purchase of Stephen Ashkin’s book, Green Cleaning for Dummies. In February 2008, we developed our first Green Model Report, which began with only one certified green product. Today, we have 26 EPA and seven Green Seal-ertified products.
Over the last three years, we have eliminated more than 35 chemicals. In 2008, we introduced color-coordinated microfiber cloths and mops, which replaced all disposable paper cleaning products, cutting our budget by $24,000 a year. About 40 hand driers have been installed to curb paper towel use. We installed dilution-control systems on every floor of 130 buildings to ensure proper mixing of custodial chemicals. Also, CMU’s windows are cleaned using only de-ionized water so no chemicals are spilled on the ground. All buildings have entrance matting, low mercury lighting, recycling, and all 5.7 million square feet of buildings are cleaned by custodians who receive a minimum of 24 hours of training each year.
Our program’s goal is to protect the health of building occupants by reducing air and water pollution while saving money. In FY 2007, cleaning supplies cost $296,000; in 2010 supplies cost $209,000, a 29.4 percent decrease and a savings of more than $87,000. CMU is also a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Since receiving a 2010 Honorable Mention in American School & University Magazine, CMU continues to make advancements by introducing outdoor recycling, expanding our composting program to all five on-campus dining halls, applying an anti-microbial coating to all athletic and recreation areas, increasing our custodial training program from 24 to 30 hours on all three shifts, installing heated sidewalks in new buildings, and introducing LEED requirements on all new construction ensuring environmentally responsible practices.
In 2011, we added anti-microbial coating in our fitness and athletic facilities. It is designed to stop H1N1, MRSA, fungi and bacteria from growing on surfaces with no environmental impact. We have also provided extensive training to our custodians on disinfection, prevention of illnesses, germ control and cross contamination. Particularly, a registered nurse spoke to the custodial staff on sanitation against contagious illnesses. We have also doubled the frequency of bathroom and locker room cleaning. Also, we established a communication strategy to increase outreach to building occupants about health concerns through Web-based communication and by installing large signs in bathrooms discussing the H1N1 virus, emphasizing hand washing and installing more than 100 hand sanitizer dispensers.
CMU has an extensive recycling program that recycles on average 48 tons monthly. In 2004, we began recycling newspaper, magazines, cardboard, aluminum, glass, plastic bottles and jugs, and since then added styrofoam, CDs, DVDs, lamps, batteries and TerraCycle recycling. In 2008, we started competing annually in Recyclemania and more than 2,500 recycling bins were placed in classrooms and hallways. We also hosted an in-house recycling competition between the residential halls, awarding prizes totaling $10,000 to more than 600 students. To make recycling more accessible, we have placed more than 2,000 recycle bins in residential kitchenettes and suites, purchased 30-yard roll-off recycle tanks, and budgeted $15,000 annually for employing student Recycle Coordinators. This year, we purchased 100 outdoor recycling bins to place at events and high-traffic areas. In March 2010, we began a compost program using prep food waste from the residential dining kitchens. Currently we have collected more than 65,000 pounds of prep waste to be used in the two on-campus organic gardens.
In the past year, we began emphasizing custodial training to increase our custodian’s awareness of green cleaning best practices. The training given to custodians is hosted by our vendors and allows for custodians to ask questions from experts. In 2010, our custodians averaged 19.5 training hours, but this year we increased the requirement to a minimum of 24 hours of training. We currently offer more than 30 hours of in-classroom and hands-on training, as well as online training. We track the training hours received by each custodian, and reward those meet their goal with a pizza party.
One new strategy at CMU is to build greener buildings that are more custodial-friendly. Examples of this are installing ice-melt systems in sidewalks to reduce salt use and installing floors that do not need floor finishes. We also notify our building occupants of the products we are using in their buildings, and timing of vacuuming and floor care for noise sensitivity, hazardous floor conditions, and sensitivity to chemicals. Along with notification of cleaning, we track buildings that have asthmatics to schedule project work for off-hours and ensure the use of fragrance-free, Green Seal products. We also continue to promote first-shift, daylight cleaning to maximize outreach to building occupants and for energy savings. In 2010, we began requiring that any mold remediation has air-clearance samples to ensure air quality and started testing out low-impact cork flooring on campus We also wash our microfiber cloths in-house with energy-star washing machines.
Monthly, we track all green vs. non-green purchases for each building on-campus. We also analyze our product purchases and sort out the top 10 products that are the most costly in each category; green, neutral and non-green. The goal for 2011 is for 85 percent of purchases made to be EPA or Green Seal certified products, up from 80 percent in 2010. CMU presents this information along with their custodial training topics and achievements monthly to CMU’s Sustainability Committee and Building Coordinator meetings. We also began managing custodial workloads with a software program in order to track labor cost, distribute manpower, and meet customer requirements. Through our green cleaning efforts, we were able to hire three more custodians for our athletic facilities with the information gathered from CleanOps.
CMU has several policies aimed at reducing solid waste including a Sustainable Purchasing Policy that has been signed by CMU’s president. In 2011, The Green Cleaning Policy and a Solid Waste Management Policy will be put in effect. These policies are meant to extend our commitment to proper green cleaning procedures in campus buildings and to increase accountability of recycling on campus.
In the last few years, we have made outreach a critical part of our job at CMU. In 2011, the green cleaning and recycling teams had student presenters at Leadership Safari, a week-long event for more than 2,000 incoming freshman, where we show a video on how to recycle on campus and answer questions. The green cleaning and cecycling programs also have poster boards at Mainstage, CMU’s kickoff event that attracts 3,000 students each year, and CMU’s Earth Day Celebration. Along with the poster boards, we have a Plinko board that offers students the chance to win prizes, hand out fliers and display microfiber cloths and EPA-certified chemical containers. We also hold an informational table three times a week during the RecycleMania competition to talk to students about our Recycling and Green Cleaning programs and provide updates in the CMLife Newspaper.
Also, CMU has a Recycling Facebook and Twitter page as a social media tool for students. CMU also participates in the EPA Game Day Challenge and has recycling at tailgates. To provide engagement to the Mount Pleasant community, CMU helps with the recycling at the annual community event, Tour de Mount Pleasant, a bike race in the Mount Pleasant area that attracts a large amount of visitors. CMU provides the event with recycling bins and a Recycle Team to help with the ease of recycling. CMU has also started offering their old campus furniture, electronics and supplies to the community for resale. This ensures that our old computers, printers and office furniture are salvaged for use in the community rather than in landfills. Further, we have a contract to provide work for Mid-Michigan Industries, a community employment agency for people with mental and physical handicaps. They help pick up trash on campus, sort recycling and help with various recycling projects. CMU also holds a spot on our county board for the Isabella County Material Recovery Facility and our own Sustainability Committee.
To motivate and recognize custodians, we present certificates of completion to acknowledge custodians’ successful training in a variety of subjects. We also present a staff excellence award to a CMU custodian each year.
In 2009, CMU won the Recycler of the Year Award from the Michigan Recycling Coalition. In 2010, CMU was rated 89th in the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools Competition. In 2010, CMU was proudly recognized as an Honorable Mention in the Green Cleaning Award contest by American School & University.