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Asumag 1035 Paper Towel Sticker
Asumag 1035 Paper Towel Sticker
Asumag 1035 Paper Towel Sticker

GCA Grand Award Higher Education: University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Dec. 1, 2014
The University of Washington Building Services (previously Custodial) Department’s (BSD) green cleaning excellence has been honored with two prior Green Cleaning Awards: the Grand Award for 2007 and the Co-Grand Award for 2010.

Program Information

Total number of students: 43,732

Total square footage maintained: 11,500,000

Total number of custodians: 256

Total annual cleaning budget: $3,000,000

Green cleaning team members: Gene Woodard, Dir. Facilities Services, Building Services Department; Sattia Sear, Assoc. Dir., Building Services Department, Custodial Services and Recycling & Solid Waste; Scott Spencer, Assoc. Dir., Building Services Department, Custodial Services and Recycling & Solid Waste; Emily Newcomer, Assoc. Dir., Recycling & Solid Waste; Xpedx (supplies) and Walter E. Nelson (equipment)

The University of Washington Building Services (previously Custodial) Department’s (BSD) green cleaning excellence has been honored with two prior Green Cleaning Awards: the Grand Award for 2007 and the Co-Grand Award for 2010. Since that time the department has focused on sustainability, merging custodial services with the Recycling & Solid Waste Department and adopting a range of green practices. A formal “Green Cleaning Policy” was established to both protect the environment and reduce exposure of building occupants and custodial personnel to potentially hazardous chemical contaminants that adversely impact air quality or impede occupants’ well-being.

In 2009 the BSD switched from cotton rags to microfiber cloths, minimizing the need for cleaning chemicals and minimizing water usage. Currently, the department employs 42 walk-behind auto-scrubbers that electrically convert water into a cleaning solution used to scrub the floors. Procyon, a soap-free, odor-free, hypo-allergenic, non-toxic with no volatile organic compounds and no off-gassing, is used for carpet care. “Dry” steam vapor technology is also used to sterilize without chemicals.

Almost the entire BSD staff perform on dayshift, realizing significant electrical savings across 173 buildings. Only about 13 staff remain on the swing and graveyard shifts. Custodial staff vanpooling also conserves energy. An innovative “MiniMax” recycling program boosts waste diversion by helping university employees manage their own waste/ recycling ratio via a 28-quart recycling bin fitted with a 3-quart mini garbage bin inside. The program was recently augmented with centrally located composting bins, and restroom paper towels are composted. Last year UW achieved a 61 percent waste diversion rate, up 3 percent from the previous year.

Annual custodial training covers seven key procedures, focusing on elements such as microfiber cloths and mops, the 3M chemical-proportioning system, squirt (yes) versus spray (no) bottle solution dispensing, and operation of water-only floor machines.

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