Sonoma Country Day School

Dec. 1, 2010
2010 Green Cleaning Award winner of the School Districts Honorable Mention

On February 1, 2010 Sonoma Country Day School hired Select Building Services to convert its traditional cleaning program into a green cleaning program that complies with the Healthy School Campaign.

Within a six-month period, a five-step process was implemented:

-Step 1: Switch to green cleaning products. Through a vendor relationship, the school inventoried all cleaning products and started replacing non-compliant products as they were depleted. Cleaning solution dilution systems were installed in all janitors’ closets. The process is completed and the school now uses only three cleaning products on a daily basis. Other than restroom disinfectant, two of these products are Green Seal-certified.

-Step 2: Introduce green equipment and supplies. The school follows the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) certification guidelines in the purchase of cleaning equipment and Green Seal certification for supplies. Backpack vacuums are equipped with HEPA filters and have a gold rating. The carpet cleaning extractor also is gold-rated. Non-certified equipment and supplies must clean with minimal use of resources without harming the environment.

-Step 3: Adopt green cleaning procedures. SCDS has invested in both indoor and outdoor matting, the timely maintenance of the school’s heating and air-conditioning system, and ample recycling and trash containers. A team cleaning approach divides the cleaning into four specialized functions, and has facilitated training and worker satisfaction. The school has a strong recycling program; a trash can and a recycling bin are next to each other when possible. Dusting is done with HEPA filter-equipped vacuums with dusting tools and microfiber towels.

In restroom cleaning, the school uses 1-gallon pump sprayers with a disinfectant, which air-dry to provide a touchless process for the cleaning of urinals and toilets. Color-coded sponges are used to clean restroom sinks. Microfiber mops are used in individual restrooms and are changed with each cleaning. Hard-surface floors are machine-scrubbed and recoated quarterly, avoiding the need to strip and refinish.

Weekly high burnishing with a passive dust-control-equipped burnished keeps floors at a high appearance level and prevents rapid deterioration.

-Step 4: Use green paper and plastic products. An inventory was taken of all dispensers and paper products. Old inventory is used up and old dispensers are being replaced. New dispensers were installed that meet sustainability and health standards; they are stocked with Green Seal-certified products.

-Step 5: Share the responsibility.

The instructor, Tina, is a 2010 fellow at the Leadership Institute for Ecology and Economy, Tina will spend the year studying local food systems, energy and waste management, water uses, business practices, transportation and social justice. She looks forward to bringing the best practices she learns back to the SCDS community.

-Compost, Recycle and Trash Stations

There are two food courts and there is a compost, recycle and trash station in each one. The compost is used in the school garden when needed.

-No Trash Day

The school’s Student Council declares a No Trash Day each year. On No Trash Day, students are encouraged to bring only recyclable, disposable items. All trash cans are turned upside down or covered with signs declaring No Trash Day.

Facility Management and Custodian Dept. Communication

A Select Building Service representative and school facility representative meet weekly to review the ongoing green cleaning program and other issues affecting the cleanliness, health and safety of the school. Relevant communication received by school staff is communicated by e-mail and phone.


The custodial supervisor meets with cleaning staff nightly to review cleaning-related issues and receive input from custodial staff. Select Building Services provides 24/7 accessibility to its custodians and customers by phone or e-mail.


-There have been no reported injuries related to the green cleaning program from any school departments.

-There have been no reported health complaints related to the green cleaning program from any school department.

-School staff and parents have communicated to the school administration and facilities department the significantly improved cleanliness and appearance of the school since the establishment of the green cleaning program.

Select Building Services wishes to recognize:

-Jacquie Rabinowitz, chief financial officer, for making the decision for a cleaner, healthier and safer school environment in choosing a building service provider specializing in green cleaning, and her ongoing support in the implementation of the green cleaning program.

-Jeff Herberg, facilities manager, and Joel Vargas, facilities assistant, who listened to our ideas, authorized testing of dispensers, reviewed costs, and did their due diligence and supported the green cleaning program 100 percent.

-The custodians who “make magic happen” every night by providing a clean, healthy and safe learning environment.

Story of innovation—No Trash Day: The student council declares a No Trash Day each year; students are encouraged to bring only recyclable, disposable items. All trash cans are turned upside down or covered with signs declaring No Trash Day.

Program Information

Number of students: 250

Square footage maintained: 80,000

Number of custodians: 6 (full- and part-time)

Green cleaning team members: Santiago Sosa, LEED AP, Service Contractor; David Aguilar, Head Custodian; Francisco Angel, Leticia Gonzalez, Alejandra Gonzalez, Eliana Hermosillo, Staff Members; Select Building Services, Cleaning Contractor

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