Green cleaning services and equipment are a vital aspect of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Zero Net Energy initiative.
Green Cleaning Services and Zero Net Energy Programs
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings are defined as;
An energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy.
To achieve ZNE, businesses will need to focus on two core components:
- The establishment of clean, sustainable, and renewable energy sources to power the organization’s operations in excess of its demands, and;
- A sufficient reduction in energy usage to maintain an output equal to, or greater than, the requirements placed on the facility, as a whole.
Green cleaning services can help with the later through the use of technologically advanced equipment, which has been proven in multiple studies to reduce water, gas, and electrical consumption.
Reducing Energy Consumption With Green Cleaning Services
There are several cost-effective methods to reduce overall energy consumption in your business with the inclusion of green cleaning technologies and practices, including:
- Daytime Cleaning Schedules.
- Microfiber, and;
- Energy Star Smart Cleaning Appliances.
Daytime Cleaning Schedules
Daytime cleaning is an emerging trend in custodial services that improves provider-customer relations as well as request response time while significantly reducing energy consumption in office buildings that are typically unoccupied after normal working hours.
According to a recent paper published by Rutgers University;
There are numerous environmental, economic, and societal benefits associated with residential day cleaning.
Overall, day cleaning provides the following benefits:
Reduces nighttime energy loads;
Reduces nighttime use of lighting and HVAC equipment;
Lowers household energy consumption and therefore air pollution and greenhouse
gas emissions, and;
Natural sunlight makes it easier to clean
The next step is to recycle all cloth or cotton towels, rags, and mops, and replace them with microfiber, which has several proven benefits, regarding the reduction of energy and resource consumption, including:
- Reduced amounts of time required by the custodial staff to clean spaces, resulting in fewer hours in the building, and less overall energy consumption.
- Reduced water usage by 25-50% when compared to cotton or cloth alternatives.
- Microfiber does not require the use of hot water, and can often be used to clean non-porous surfaces with just tap water, as opposed to diluted cleaning chemicals that may require heat as an activator, and;
- Reduced energy consumption during the laundering process due to cloth size, and the recommendation to air dry the cloth’s or mop heads to ensure longevity.
Energy Star Smart Cleaning Appliances
Modern technological advancements have been adopted by custodial equipment vendors that have dramatically improved the efficiency of time and energy required to clean a space, especially in the area of floor care.
High-efficiency, low water consuming floor scrubbers have also been outfitted with IoT monitoring and management systems that allow for the calculation and mapping of the most efficient routes to take to clean a space, while ensuring the equipment is operating at optimal levels; reducing the amount of time required to complete a task, translating into additional energy and water savings.
Further; touchless/chemical-free cleaning systems, such as specialized UV lighting that sanitize unoccupied restrooms, significantly reduces the amount of time, energy, and water required to disinfect a space when compared to conventional methods.
Getting Started With Zero Net Energy in Your Organization
The first step to converting your organization to a ZNE building is to identify the benefits, which will revolve around health early on, with investment return coming later through improved worker engagement and performance.
According to a 2014 study conducted by the Univerisity of California, Berkley;
[sic]…on average, the certified green commercial buildings cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from water consumption by 50 percent, reduced solid waste management-related GHG emissions by 48 percent and lowered transportation-related GHG emissions by 5 percent, when compared to their traditional California counterparts.
Once the positive, end result benefits are understood by investors, property managers, and facilities maintenance & management, proving the financial advantages should be fairly simple.
NZE/ZNE significantly reduces costs associated with energy use and consumption, while allowing and organization to sell back surplus energy to local grids and providers.
According to Green Building Advisor;
Net-zero energy business models are financially attractive to investors because the large capital investments in PV, district heating and cooling, and energy efficiency are repaid over time on utility bills, generating a steady return that benefits from enhanced credit because of the utility-customer relationship.
References & Resources
- Reducing Waste With Microfiber
- The net-zero energy building challenge: Who will be next?
- Zero Net Energy Center
Zero net energy is a USGBC LEED complimentary initiative directed towards organizations that wish to take the next step towards sustainable practices to ensure the health and safety of their workers and families, as well as the future of their business.
Green cleaning services, chemicals, and tools will reduce or eliminate pressures on your businesses current resource consumption, allowing your organization to actively pursue renewable sources of energy to offset normal intake.
Contacting an experienced and certified green cleaning vendor is the first step.
If you would like to learn more about the advantages of green cleaning services for Zero Net Energy programs for your school or business, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 395-3009
In Fresno CA, call (559) 473-1790