Feature Article - April 2012
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Maintenance & Operations

Don't Reinvent the Wheel
Follow LEED Practices to Green Your Cleaning

By Tammy York

Going for LEED-EB: O & M?

"Opting for green cleaning practices isn't going to cost you any more, and you aren't going to have to clean as often," Luna said. "You can tell the difference when you walk into a LEED-certified building. It doesn't have any odors and you feel good."

LEED-EB: O & M certification parameters have several variables that need to be met such as a gross floor space of at least 1,000 square feet and that the building is a permanent structure. The building also must be occupied either at full-time equivalent occupancy or at a minimum occupancy rate for at least 12 continuous months prior to the submission for review. In addition, you must commit to sharing whole building energy and water usage data.

LEED Minimum Program Requirements (MPR) list the basic characteristics that a project must possess to be eligible for certification under the LEED rating systems. The MPR for LEED-EB:

O & M states that the LEED project building, all other real property within the LEED project boundary, any project work and all normal building operations occurring within the LEED project building and the LEED project boundary must comply with applicable federal, state and local building-related environmental laws and regulations in place where the project is located. This condition must be satisfied from the commencement of the LEED project's initial LEED-EB: O & M performance period through the expiration date of the LEED certification.

Basically, it means you need to follow all the applicable laws and regulations before, during and after submitting your project for review. Some examples of laws that would need to be followed are the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and OSHA Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness. Following the laws and regulations already on the books at the federal, state and local levels helps to establish the baseline standard.

LEED-EB: O & M certification is based on building operation performance including exterior and site maintenance, efficient and optimized use of energy and water, environmentally preferred products and food, waste stream management, indoor environmental quality, and green cleaning programs.

A green cleaning policy is a prerequisite for certification pursuant of the LEED-EB: O & M. A high-performance cleaning program includes appropriate staffing; training of maintenance personnel regarding the hazards, use, maintenance, disposal or recycling and cleaning chemicals, dispensing equipment and packaging; the proper use of chemical concentrates with the appropriate dilution systems; the use of sustainable cleaning materials, products and equipment; and the use of sustainable hard floor and carpet care products.

"The green practices are essential to being green operational building and LEED certification but more important to us is the education of those practices to others," Swofford said. "We're not perfect, but what is really important is educating our scouts and the people who use the building so they will implement the green cleaning practices into their lives. We have guides that they can take with them and we have information on our Web site so that people and our scouts learn from it and can be conscientious of the environment as well."