As eco-minded practices flood the nation’s homes and cities, businesses have been called upon to implement environmentally friendly practices as well.  Through numerous local and worldwide programs, businesses are learning more and more about what they can to do to ensure that their impact on the environment is a positive one. 

There are many ways to help the environment within the commercial environment.  As most businesses have noted in the past few years, it’s important to install energy-efficient equipment, monitor energy use, encourage environmentally friendly programs such as recycling, etc.  But far too few businesses have yet implemented sound eco-cleaning policies.

The Beginning

In the mid-1990’s, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) implemented its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.  As a result of these standards, 7 World Trade Center became known as the first “green” office building by earning a Gold rating based on a point system which considered such features as the use of environmentally friendly construction materials, construction site pollution control, water efficiency and use reduction, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) reduction, adherence to minimum indoor air quality standards, outdoor air delivery monitoring, indoor chemical and pollutant control, etc.  As the first green building, 7 World Trade Center set the bar for the future of commercial building and sustainability.

 The Benefits

As commercial industries, builders, and business owners concentrated on finding new and innovative ways to increase environmental friendliness within the workplace, one of the primary focuses became commercial cleaning methods.  And, as those methods were analyzed and changed, the many benefits, for both building occupants and the environment, became evident.

 First and foremost, the use of eco-friendly cleaning products, equipment, and methods, are dedicated to guaranteeing the continued health of the planet.  The use of CFCs was destroying the ozone layer, and non-biodegradable products were polluting both the water and the air.  The eco-cleaned environment is one which reduces the impact on the environment by ensuring that every piece of equipment and product used efficiently cleans without emitting harmful gases and without damaging the environment. 

 Numerous studies have been conducted on how the work environment impacts the health of the nation’s workers.  These studies have uncovered a host of health problems caused by cleaning methods or by the lack of attention to cleaning procedures.  Toxic product fumes lead to headaches, illnesses, and breathing problems; the increase in chemicals have led to consumer sensitivities and allergies; and the lack of proper filtering in air cleaning systems and vacuum equipment has led to such irritants as mold and bacteria flooding the environment.  It’s clear that the eco-cleaned business presents its workers with fewer environmental hazards.

 Pure and simple, the eco-cleaned commercial environment benefits both business owners and workers.  Environmentally friendly cleaning products, supplies, and equipment guarantee that building occupants experience fewer health problems thereby increasing business productivity; reducing health care costs, lost work time, and absenteeism; increasing employee morale, satisfaction, and retention; and making time management and, therefore, business management more efficient and cost effective.

 Finally, the eco-cleaned commercial environment wins points with the community.  Consumer trends indicate that a health and environmentally conscious nation has come to incorporate an awareness of eco-minded practices into their selection of products and services.  As consumers seek to find ways to support a sustainable environment, they look for business partners who share their dream of a healthy planet.  Some studies show that many consumers will refuse to do business with a company or purchase products which are not implemented or manufactured with the environment in mind.  It just makes good business sense for every commercial environment to explore eco-friendly policies.

 The Future

There’s no doubt that the future of the planet rides on the ability of consumers and businesses alike to live and work in ways that result in as little harm as possible to the environment.  This means that the future of eco-cleaning practices, methods, and products must welcome new and innovative ways to ensure environmental safety and sustainability. 

 For now, there is no legal requirement to ensure that commercial or residential environments use sound eco-cleaning practices.  However, the future of the environmentally friendly landscape indicates that such requirements may be down the road.  To that end, commercial certification may be implemented in the near future.  Still, many businesses, even those who do not seek certification, are looking into implementing green cleaning practices just because it’s the right thing to do.  With numerous financial, health, and environmental benefits, it makes sense to eco-clean and reap the rewards.