A Journey Towards Greener Educational Facilities

A Journey Towards Greener Educational Facilities

Discover the hidden key to a cleaner, greener learning environment by diving into our conversation on outsourcing cleaning and maintenance in schools!

A Journey Towards Greener Educational Facilities

Schools at the Forefront of Sustainability, Health, and Equity: A Journey Towards a Greener Future

In our rapidly evolving world, the interconnected realms of sustainability, health, and equity have gained heightened attention.

Schools have emerged as powerful agents of change in these areas, serving as cornerstones of global communities.


Pioneering Research and Action

An associate professor of epidemiology spent an extraordinary sabbatical year with the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, where lessons and insights emerged around the intersection of sustainability and health within K-12 schools.

Through innovative strategies in playground design, building materials, solar panels, and more, the balance between sustainability and health is now seen as a synergistic relationship, not a trade-off.

Additionally, the Center for Green Schools has cultivated a professional network representing over 250 school district sustainability professionals since 2011, focusing on the complex role of sustainability within the educational sector.


Transformative Insights

Key reflections from this journey towards green schools include:

  • Sustainability and Health as Co-Benefits: Novel energy solutions and air handling practices demonstrate that the promotion of health and sustainability is not only possible but mutually beneficial.
  • Holistic Approach: Activities promoting sustainability also foster healthy lifestyles. LEED design strategies present "win-wins" for both sustainability and health.
  • Financial Impact of Sustainability Professionals: Schools hiring sustainability staff achieve an average annual savings of $1 million, equating to ten times their salary.
  • Growing Focus on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ): The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a greater focus on IAQ, with over a quarter of environmental health and facilities staff reporting a permanent change in responsibilities.
  • Empowering Teachers and Staff: Research needs to explore the impact of the school environment on the health and well-being of these vital community members.
  • Community Partnerships: The importance of campus-community partnerships and translation capabilities cannot be overstated.


The Path Ahead

As schools continue to innovate in energy production, indoor environmental quality, and promoting efficiency and health, the realization of sustainability's co-benefits with health is burgeoning.

Researchers and professionals are working diligently to understand the return on investment from sustainability activities and to shorten the translational pipeline.

They're exploring innovative ways to enhance the lives of students, teachers, and staff and to improve the overall well-being of communities.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) have become a primary responsibility for environmental health and IAQ-focused staff, reflecting the strategies implemented to improve IAQ.

Additional resources are needed to communicate effectively about IAQ with the school community.


Pros of Outsourcing Cleaning and Maintenance

  • Expertise and Specialization: Outsourcing to professional cleaning and maintenance service providers often brings specialized expertise in eco-friendly cleaning practices and indoor air quality management. This can align with sustainability goals and promote a healthy environment for students and staff.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Professional cleaning companies often operate with economies of scale, potentially offering cost savings compared to in-house staff. These savings can be reinvested in sustainability initiatives or other educational needs.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Outsourced providers are generally well-versed in complying with environmental and health regulations, ensuring that cleaning and maintenance activities meet or exceed required standards.
  • Focus on Core Competencies: By outsourcing these services, schools can focus more on their core educational mission, including sustainability education and community engagement, leaving the specialized task of cleaning and maintenance to experts.
  • Technology Utilization: Many professional cleaning services have access to advanced technologies and methodologies that improve efficiency, reduce waste, and minimize the use of harmful chemicals.



  1. Insights into IAQ and green schools research: What’s next? | U.S. Green Building Council. (n.d.). Www.usgbc.org. Retrieved August 16, 2023, from https://www.usgbc.org/articles/insights-iaq-and-green-schools-research-whats-next
  2. Carter, H., Sun, S., Candidate, Kensler, L., And, E., & Leischuck, G. (n.d.). Phoebe Beierle, SENIOR MANAGER OF PROGRAMS Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council MANAGING SUSTAINABILITY & INDOOR AIR QUALITY IN SCHOOL DISTRICTS: A Profile of Staff in the K-12 Sector. Retrieved August 16, 2023, from https://www.usgbc.org/sites/default/files/2023-05/Managing-Sustainability-IAQ-in-School-Districts-Report-2023.pdf



Schools are not merely educational institutions but dynamic platforms where the future of health, sustainability, and equity are being shaped.

The lessons, strategies, and ongoing research demonstrate a promising trajectory toward a more sustainable, healthy, and equitable world.

Together, scholars, sustainability professionals, teachers, and communities are turning a new page, deepening their roles in this essential mission.

If you would like more information regarding the effectiveness of high-performance infection prevention and control measures, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation on-site assessment of your facility's custodial needs, contact us today for a free quote!

In Bakersfield, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Fresno, CA, call (559) 206-1059

In Valencia, CA, or Santa Clarita, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Palmdale, CA, or Lancaster, CA, call (661) 371-4756

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Southern Valley

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Southern Valley