The residential facilities department at the University of Maryland has been involved in greening of the campus residential halls for more than 10 years. The initial push to greening occurred in 1999, when the Resident Hall Association (RHA) requested that a recycling program be provided in the residence halls. At that time, the department reviewed what was needed in conjunction with student leaders and Resident Life and placed paper and can recycling containers in all lounges. In 2004, Building Services began looking at methods to improve the indoor environment, and with the support of Resident Life (RL), began the conversion to green cleaning practices.
Greening of the department’s housekeeping program began in earnest in November 2004 through trial installation of chemical dispensing units and conversion to selected Green Seal-certified cleaning chemicals in two of the campus’ high-rise residence halls. This trial installation and use provided an ideal setting to assess the effectiveness of the new Green Seal product and dispensing units, as well as the type/level of staff training required for implementation.
This first trial affected about 700 campus residents and involved 15 housekeeping staff members. In preparation, three hours of classroom training and one hour of one-on-one training was provided prior to start-up of the trial program. The training was designed to help staff understand the purpose for each new chemical, and the procedures to be followed to reduce overall chemical use and improve the quality of work delivered. Following purchase of the new Green Seal products, installation of the dispensing/dilution units in each housekeeping supply closets and staff training, the trial program officially began in September 2005.
As part of the greening program, the Residential Facilities, Building Services department was assessed independently and earned the CIMS-GB with Honors designation from ISSA. The department was the first in the country to earn this designation. The department was supported in this effort by the RHA and RL departments, who helped in pushing the department forward to provide a healthier indoor living environment for the residents.
During the last several years, building services has supported education initiatives for the campus as a whole by holding green cleaning symposiums with guest speakers and vendors demonstrating products. Additionally, the University of Maryland is the ongoing sponsor of the Campus Sustainability Conference held annually, with more than 20 universities and colleges in attendance.
Currently, the university is working with RL to enhance the recycling programs in the residence halls by testing in-room recycle bags provided to students. It is also testing corridor recycling containers to make it easier for residents to recycle.
Other initiatives are geared toward improving indoor air quality. The school currently is testing the effectiveness of the IonatorXP from Active Ion. The hope is to begin to eliminate the number of chemicals used and reduce exposure to residents. Additionally, it is testing the use of diamond pad technology in the floorcare process. This process would greatly decrease the use of floor finish strippers and the need to apply floor finish. If all works as planned, the new high-rise residence hall, which will be LEED gold-certified, will be a virtually chemical-free building.
Cleaning procedures and strategies:
Since it clean where students live, the building services emphasis is to improve the living environment. In order to better understand the residents, the department has a close working relationship with Resident Life (RL) and student groups; Resident Housing Association (RHA) and Student Government Association (SGA). These groups provide ideas or desires, as well as problems that are brought from students. Through this relationship has come a strong recycling program in the residence halls, implementing in-corridor containers with messages for recycling, and testing in-room recycling bags. Two full waste sorts were conducted with an outside consultant, who utilized student labor to complete the sort. Additionally, RL and RF (residential facilities) is a strong supporter of RecycleMania, and Earth Day activities.
Building Services provides bathroom products in the traditional residence hall settings. As the responsible party in these supplies, all of the toilet paper and paper toweling is Green Seal-certified. Additionally, anti-bacterial soaps have been eliminated and restrooms use Green Seal-certified foaming hand soap.
Policies or Processes
In the initial implementation of the green cleaning/sustainable effort in the department, several training sessions were held in a formal setting. It was important to bring all employees to the same level of understanding concerning cleaning methods; as part of that effort it used the IEHA Frontline Training program. Employees completed 10 hours of Frontline instruction on the methods and purpose of cleaning and how they affect the well-being of the building occupants.
All employees received “one-on-one” training prior to implementation of changing to green cleaning products and processes. As part of orientation for new employees, there is a four-hour training session that must be completed prior to being introduced to the work site.
Notification of the positive aspects of the green cleaning program was communicated to the residents through Resident Life (RL) and RHA.
Building Services has converted all products to either Green Seal-certified or borenewable products in all of its operations. In cleaning the university’s recreation center, it has converted fully to microfiber use, and operates machines that are effective at providing high production rates and a safe cleaning device that the operator “steps-up-on” rather than rides on.
Building Services wants to improve indoor air quality as well as worker well-being by testing several “chemical free” cleaning and maintenance processes. The first product is the use of the Ionator EXP as a daily cleaning device, in the resident living environment. We are in the process of introducing this device, and have a current test ongoing in two residential buildings. Another related test is to look at the use of the diamond pads in the floor care process, with the goal to reduce the amount of floor finish and added floor care products to achieve a clean and glossy appearance.
The test will look at the efficacy of the cleaning and effectiveness of removing daily soils. The goal is, if successful, is to open the new high rise residential hall using the IonatorEXP and diamond pads, thus effectively making the building chemical free.
The department’s in-house IPM program is designed to reduce use of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals while emphasizing use of non-pesticide techniques and strategies. The overall program objective is to minimize the environmental impacts of the department’s pest-management operations, and help protect the health of both employees and building occupants.
Recognition and Certification
In 2005, the department’s integrated pest management and housekeeping programs were accepted into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP). This partnership represented the first of its kind between the EPA and a housing program in higher education.
In October 2009, the department’s Housekeeping and Urban Biology programs were awarded the Cleaning Industry Management Standards – Green Building Certification (CIMS – GB).
Story of innovation—Training: It was important to bring all employees to the same level of understanding concerning cleaning methods; as part of that effort it used the IEHA Frontline Training program. Employees completed 10 hours of Frontline instruction on the methods and purpose of cleaning and how they affect the well-being of the building occupants. All employees received “one-on-one” training prior to implementation of changing to green cleaning products and processes. As part of orientation for new employees, a four-hour training session must be completed prior to being introduced to the work site.
Number of students: 28,311 (undergrad); 11,870 (grad)
Square footage maintained: 2.1 million
Number of full-time custodians: 120
Annual cleaning budget: $615,000 (Operating); $5.1 million (labor)
Green cleaning team members: Jon Dooley, Director of Residential Facilities; Jeff McGee, R.E.H. Asst. Director, Building Services; Keith Smith, R.E.H., Asst. to the Asst. Director; David Hill, North Campus Mgr.; Juan Escobar, South Campus Mgr.; Mike Hamilton, Mgr. Urban Biology; Cheryl Nelson, Jolinda Matthews, Manuel Soto, Val Grant, Veronica Stubbs, Gladys Leiva, Supervisor; S. Freedmand and Sons, Janitorial Product Distributor; Scott Lupin, Director, Office of Sustainability