GCA Silver Award Higher Education: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dec. 1, 2013
GCA Silver Award Higher Education: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

GCA Silver Award Higher Education: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Program Information

Total number of students: 43,400

Total square footage maintained: 15 million

Total number of custodians: 365

Total annual cleaning budget: $22 million

Green cleaning team members: Plant Building & Grounds Services (PBGS): John Lawter, Assoc. Dir.; Colette Donner, Carie Kloack, Henry Musial, Area Mgrs.; Kristin Brancheau, Business Mgr.; Bill McAllister, Garage Sr. Supervisor; Jim Ginnaty, Training Mgr.

The University of Michigan’s Plant Building & Grounds Services (PBGS) department began green cleaning in May 2009 with the introduction of the OS1 (Operating System One) cleaning program to campus.

Although the impetus for this change from a traditional zone-cleaning system was to increase building cleanliness in light of declining budgets, they have embraced the OS1 philosophy of “Clean first for health, then for appearance.” Integral to the success of the transition to green cleaning was the engagement of the campus community, including custodians, facility managers, faculty, administrators, students, staff and visitors.

Thus far, the program has resulted in the reduction in chemical use and storage on campus from more than 50 products to less than 10. Additionally, 365 full-time employees and 40 temporary employees have been retrained in the OS1 system of cleaning for health, disposing of wastes in an environmentally friendly manner, employing ergonomic practices, improving building sanitation, removing pollutants, and reducing chemical, particle and moisture residue.

They completed the program rollout in August 2013. The green cleaning system is now in all of the 236 campus general fund buildings, as well as our North Campus Research Complex and the majority of athletic facilities. PBGS also investigates other innovative green cleaning processes, including the use of ozonated water for cleaning. They are piloting an ozonated water for cleaning program.

Flat mops are used alongside two-chamber buckets that minimize cross contamination between clean and soiled water, removing 96 percent of surface debris and bacteria. The mops and buckets are ergonomically designed to help prevent employee injury. Custodians also have tools that allow debris to be picked up in restrooms without custodial staff coming in direct contact.

Disinfectants are only used within restrooms. Custodians and campus community members are encouraged to wash their hands, including through a campus outreach plan from the university’s Occupational Safety & Environmental Health department.

The use of mats at public entryways is standard practice in the (OS1) program. Mats are placed at all public campus entryways and are at least 10 feet long. Mats are vacuumed regularly and deep-cleaned on a scheduled basis. Entryways are maintained through a daily cleaning routine that includes vacuuming, dusting and mopping.

Low-maintenance vegetation is installed at public building entrances, and plants are selected based on an integrated pest management approach to eliminate pesticide applications that could be tracked into the building. Exterior walkways are maintained by blowing or sweeping pavement to completely remove dirt or other debris from pedestrian paving surfaces. Dirt and debris are also removed from the flat surfaces of paving, corners between paving and walls, the tops of walls, if visible, from under site furniture, from stair treads and risers and from handicap ramps.

U-M offers a variety of recycling programs on campus. The single-stream recycling program enables cardboard, paper, glass, most plastics and metal to be placed in a single recycling bin. Additionally, there are programs to reuse or recycle large scrap metal, scrap wood, electronics, hazardous chemicals, polystyrene, packing peanuts, writing instruments and office supplies.

All training includes instruction on safe work habits, including proper lifting, proper waste handling and removal, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), mixing chemicals and washing hands regularly.

Everyone who works with or is potentially exposed to chemicals receives information and training on the chemicals in their work area at the time of their initial assignment and whenever a new physical or health hazard is introduced to their work area. Training includes classroom instruction, handouts, discussion and hands-on demonstrations. Additionally, custodians participate in Beyond Compliance and Protect Yourself trainings while U-M Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) conducts yearly compliance trainings for all employees.

The performance of the (OS1) system is measured through the use of building auditors from U-M Plant Operations Work Management department who inspect areas cleaned by PBGS staff using the APPA “Custodial Staffing Guidelines.” Using staff from another department helps ensure an unbiased assessment of the aesthetics of areas cleaned using (OS1). During the 2012-2013 academic year, a 6 percent improvement in APPA cleanliness scores was recorded in OS1 areas vs. the traditional zone cleaning areas.

From the onset of the decision to deploy (OS1) to the UM campus through today, stakeholder engagement has been at the top of the priority list. This is not only to ensure support for the change in how buildings are cleaned, but also to educate campus users on the environmental and human health impacts of this new system. A poster campaign was launched in 2010 to educate campus about all aspects of this new cleaning system. When a new location is added to (OS1), an open house is held that features information about the program, the concept of “cleaning for health first” and green cleaning in general.

In order to broaden outreach efforts, PBGS is commissioning a series of videos on both the cleaning industry and green cleaning. The feel of these videos will be light-hearted and fun, and paired with distribution through social media, e-mail and website presence.

To date, PowerPoint presentations have been made to the following groups:

- Executive Leadership Group, composed of the university’s president and vice presidents

-Executive Planning Group, composed of deans and directors from individual colleges, schools and institutes.

-Budget Administrators Group, composed of the business managers for the colleges and schools.

-Custodial Services Process Improvement Team, composed of staff members concerned about campus custodial issues.

-Facility Users Network, composed of facility managers from colleges, schools, institutes and departments on campus.

Additionally, presentations have been made to audiences from outside UM, allowing them to reach a broader audience and spread the word about the importance of cleaning for human and environmental health. Members of the department have presented on (OS1) at the Big 10 & Friends and MiAPPA (Michigan Association of Physical Plant Administrators) conferences. Attendees included those from peer institutions who are responsible for custodial services as well as their colleagues who may be able to encourage them to further investigate green cleaning. Additionally, we have presented, from 2009 through 2012, on our experience with the program at the annual (OS1) Symposium, a national conference on best practices for (OS1) users.

PBGS’ use of the (OS1) program helped contribute to the University of Michigan Law School’s achievement of LEED Silver certification for its new South Hall as well as the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Laboratory.

In 2012, U-M PBGS was recognized with an Honorable Mention from the Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities.

Since beginning the (OS1) program, the department has achieved and maintained CIMS (Cleaning Industry Management Standard) certification and has also been awarded the CIMS Green Building Certification. Also, the program has received from the (OS1) program the Peer Influencer award for encouraging other schools to adopt green cleaning (2010), the Best Cleaning Quality Improvement Program award (2011), the Environmentor award (2012) and the Mark Reimers Cleaning for Health award (2013).

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