A growing number of companies are seeking the benefits of “green cleaning” as a way to enhance employee health and productivity and to have a positive impact on the environment, according to ABM Industries Incorporated (NYSE:ABM), one of the United States’ leading facility services contractors.
The need for green cleaning is acute: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans on average spend 90 percent of their time indoors – and poor indoor air quality conservatively costs the U.S. economy $60 billion of lost worker productivity every year. The problem is also widespread: The World Health Organization estimates that the air quality in one of every three buildings is so poor that it has a negative effect on the health of its occupants.
ABM Janitorial Services, a subsidiary of ABM Industries, launched its comprehensive green cleaning program, ABM Green Care™, in 2006 to help companies and other organizations address these challenges and to achieve LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. The LEED Green Building Rating System was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to establish standards for sustainability in building operations and design. ABM Janitorial Services currently cleans 6.3 percent (14.6 million square feet) of the 233.1 million square feet of commercial LEED Certified space in the United States.
The ABM Green Care program will be showcased November 19-21 in Boston, Massachusetts during the USGBC’s annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo at booth 433.
The Benefits of Green Cleaning
Green cleaning is effective cleaning that protects the health of building occupants without harming the environment.
“Green cleaning emphasizes the use of environmentally preferable products and services that, in comparison to traditional cleaning products, do a better job of protecting the health of workers and other building occupants and have a reduced impact on the environment,” said Alan France, director of quality and sustainability for ABM Janitorial Services. “But it also entails taking a more holistic and comprehensive approach to cleaning that includes regular employee training, workloading, the use of environmentally preferred equipment, stewardship, communications and other areas.”
Increased worker productivity – in part from lower absenteeism and simply “feeling better” at work – is one of the principal benefits of a change to green cleaning. According to a 2007 study by Capital E Analytics, the productivity benefits of cleaner air, when combined with other improvements, such as introducing more natural lighting, are “estimated to be as much as 10 times the energy savings from green efforts.”
Additional studies suggest that green cleaning contributes to decreased operating costs, improved building value and return on investment, larger rent increases and better occupancy ratios.
ABM Green Care
ABM’s Green Care program gives customers the ability to select from three levels of green cleaning implementation.
Level One implements the move from traditional cleaning products to Green Seal Certified and environmentally preferred products and recycled janitorial paper products. Level Two is a broader green cleaning program encompassing green products, tools, equipment and processes. Level Three supplements the Level Two program with the management and tools needed to achieve USGBC’s LEED certification. Green cleaning comprises a prerequisite and several of the potential credits under the Indoor Environmental Quality section of the LEED Existing Building Operations & Maintenance certification guidelines.
“There are more than 66,000 building service/janitorial contractors in the U.S., and fewer than 50 are members of USGBC – and even fewer promote green cleaning on their websites,” said Chris Hughes, Executive Vice President of ABM Janitorial Services. “ABM Green Care is a reflection of our strong commitment to green cleaning, the benefits of LEED certification and our desire to positively impact the sustainability of the facilities we maintain.”
ABM Green Care can be combined with energy-saving programs available from ABM Energy Services to also help companies reduce energy consumption and costs. “ABM Green Care will continue to evolve, and we look forward to communicating further enhancements to this already robust program to our customers,” said Hughes.
To learn more about ABM Green Care, please call 770-953-5002 or go to http://www.abm.com/ilwwcm/connect/ABM/Home/Social+Commitment/Environmental+Stewardship.
About ABM Industries
ABM Industries Incorporated (NYSE:ABM) and its subsidiaries (“ABM”) are among the leading providers of facility services in the United States. With fiscal 2007 revenues in excess of $2.8 billion and more than 105,000 employees, ABM provides janitorial, parking, security and engineering services for thousands of commercial, industrial, institutional and retail facilities across the United States, Puerto Rico and British Columbia, Canada. ABM’s business services include ABM Janitorial Services; ABM Engineering Services; ABM Facility Services; Ampco System Parking; and ABM Security Services.