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Green Cleaning
  • Get with the Program: Go Green

    Sep 21, 2017

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    The move toward green cleaning is the next step towards further reducing the impact left on the environment. We can always continue to maintain and improve the health, comfort and aesthetics of our surroundings. We know that green cleaning creates healthier environments, but what does it truly mean to go green?

    Sustainable solutions minimize the impact of cleaning on people and the environment. More importantly, it is a process to protect natural resources for the future – not a single product alone. This means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

    Going Green is a journey that anyone can participate in. By being environmentally responsible, we can become more knowledgeable about the ingredients we are putting into products, leading to a healthier home and a healthier you. Wondering how you can help? Try these tips to get started:

    Save energy: Finished using something? Make sure you shut it off. You can easily conserve energy by turning off the lights or unplugging smaller appliances as soon as you’re done with them.

    Save water: No one likes a dripping faucet…especially the environment. From brushing your teeth to watering your garden, it’s important to be conscious of how much water you are using and how you can better conserve it.

    Reduce, reuse, recycle: These three R’s are the perfect triple threat. By helping to reduce waste, we can conserve natural resources and energy. When we reuse and recycle, we can avoid creating waste, reducing the amount of trash going to our landfills and keeping the environment healthier.

    It’s important to remember that every little bit helps when it comes to conserving natural resources within our environment. You can start out small and still make a positive impact. By focusing on maintaining the balance between people, profit and planet, we can protect our environment now and in the future.

    At Betco®, being environmentally responsible is a company standard. We are committed to developing products, programs and procedures that meet or exceed health and environmental standards while providing cost effective benefits to accomplish your maintenance goals. To learn more about our sustainability efforts and complete green program, please visit www.betco.com/solutions/sustainability for more information.

    Want to implement a Green Program at your facility? Click here to get started!

  • Creating a Facility Maintenance Program

    Sep 21, 2017

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    Developing a comprehensive approach to facility maintenance is not always an easy task to accomplish. While there are many best practices for creating a facility maintenance program, the path to finding and implementing a plan that meets the specific needs of your facility can be challenging. With efficiency as a common end goal, facilities are searching for ways to optimize opportunities without increasing costs. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you develop a maintenance plan that fits your facility.

    Dos:

    • Expect to Inspect. There is always room for improvement. Pay attention to the areas in which your facility maintenance program could become better. By determining what changes need to be made, you could increase efficiency and reduce expenses.
    • Calculate Costs. Assess the specific needs in your facility and develop a plan to convert to more innovative, cost effective solutions. When evaluating your current expenses and researching other options, you’ll feel more empowered to make a decision in your maintenance program and potentially get more bang for your buck.
    • Outline Opportunities. Building an effective facility maintenance program requires weighing the pros and cons. Presenting various options and showcasing the advantages of a proposed program will help you establish a customized plan for your facility.

    Don’ts

    • Rely on the Bare Minimum. You shouldn’t have to settle when it comes to the cleanliness of your facility. While your current maintenance program may be sufficient, there is always an opportunity to enhance it. When you analyze your program, you may discover new ways to achieve a higher level of clean.
    • Guesstimate. There’s no need to play the guessing game with your facility maintenance program. Many modern tools are available to you for free online to assist you in planning and executing the very best solution strategies.
    • Short-Change on Change. Every facility is unique and requires solutions customized to their specific needs. While modeling your maintenance plan off of another facility’s may be easy and effective, make sure you take the time to evaluate what’s best for your facility. Building an exclusive plan may present you with various new opportunities.

    For more solutions or guidance on creating a facility maintenance program, visit betco.com to learn about our innovative resources and training sessions.

  • Why is Green Cleaning Important?

    Sep 21, 2017

    Green Cleaning means more than using “green” products. The success of a green cleaning program is dependent on numerous factors. While the selection of sustainable products is important, it will have little effect in the case of an inadequate cleaning regimen that leaves facilities dirty and the health of occupants, visitors and the environment at risk. A comprehensive green cleaning program should include sustainable options for chemicals, procedures, equipment, paper, liners, mops and matting.

    The movement toward green cleaning does not imply that traditional methods are inadequate or have created unsafe conditions. Instead, it can be viewed as simply taking the next step beyond current approaches to further reduce impacts on the environment while continuing to maintain and improve the health, comfort and aesthetics of our surroundings.

    Sustainable solutions minimize the impact of cleaning on people and the environment. More importantly, it is a process to protect natural resources for the future – not a single product alone. In articles and discussions about green cleaning, you will typically read or hear themes about the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

    People – pertains to fair and beneficial business practices toward labor and the community and region in which a corporation conducts its business.

    Planet – refers to sustainable environmental practices. This practice entails reducing the ecological footprint by carefully managing consumption of energy, non-renewables and reducing waste as well as rendering waste less toxic before disposing of it in a safe and legal manner.

    Profit – is the economic value created by an organization after deducting the cost of all inputs, including the cost of capital.

    The cleaners used by the custodial staff have an impact on the residents and staff at Long Term Care facilities. By switching to safer chemistries, without sacrificing performance, residents and staff can perform in a safer environment and will reduce the spread of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI).

    How do you know if a product is truly green? We know that green cleaning creates healthier environments. However, to make sure that you are green cleaning you need to look for some type of third party certification endorsements from Green Seal, EcoLogo, Design for the Environment or BioPreferred. These third party certifiers review a manufacturer’s product to make sure that it adheres to strict requirements based on the effects to the environment.

    Note: The facility janitorial staffs contribute as much to the well-being of patients as the medical staff. Keeping linens clean and reducing clutter helps improve the indoor environment and is conducive to healthy residents and staff.

    For more information visit www.betco.com/solutions/sustainability.

  • Green Floor Care Machines

    Sep 21, 2017

    Did you know floor machines have gone green? Betco®, a leading manufacturer in the cleaning industry, has developed green floor care machines specifically designed with sustainability in mind. However, it can be difficult to determine which types of floor machines are green and which are not.

    One way to determine if a machine qualifies as a green floor care machine is to see if it meets the requirements of LEED-EBOM credit 3.7. In general, this credit references floor care equipment that uses less water, chemical, and energy than older or conventional floor machines. Additionally, to promote sustainability, a green floor care machine is made to last longer and be more durable.

    Some of the other criteria for LEED-EBOM certification include the following:

    • Electric and battery-powered machines have a shroud covering the base of the equipment as well as a vacuum system. These are often referred to as “dust control machines;” they help capture fine particulates, preventing them from becoming airborne.
    • Noise levels must be less than 70 decibels; there are burnishers now available that are far quieter than this, generating as little as 59 decibels of sound.
    • Automatic scrubbers use eco-friendly batteries; these batteries typically require very little maintenance.
    • Green floor care machines are ergonomically designed, with reduced torque and vibration to minimize user fatigue.

    Betco also utilizes cylindrical brush floor machines. These can be considered green machines because they use less chemicals and water. Whenever less chemical can be used when cleaning, it is usually better for the user and the environment.

    Some cylindrical machines are also exceptionally quiet. Noise can negatively impact the user and cause worker fatigue. Additionally, because they are so quiet, the machines can be used in day cleaning situations.

    Administrators and cleaning professionals should realize that when following a green cleaning strategy, it means that all components, tools, chemicals, and equipment used in cleaning should also be green. In many ways, green cleaning is only as effective as its weakest link. To ensure all facets of your green cleaning program are strong and effective, make sure to include a green floor care machine.

    Betco is an industry leader in helping building owners, managers, and cleaning professionals keep facilities clean, healthy and environmentally responsible.

    For more information on green cleaning solutions, visit Betco.com or call 1-888-GO-BETCO

  • Do Foam Soaps Save Water?

    Sep 21, 2017

    It often comes as a surprise to building owners that the typical restroom faucet can use as much as 2.5 gallons of water per minute. If used ten times in an hour, that’s 25 gallons of water going down the drain. Over the course of an eight hour day, water consumption can top 200+ gallons per faucet. There are very effective aerators available along with other water-reducing systems that work to reduce consumption, however, the amount of water used for hundreds of hand washings in a typical facility every day can be excessive.

    In today’s world, and especially in large areas of the United States, this is no longer sustainable. Building owners and facility managers must consider all measures possible to conserve water and use it more responsibly. When it comes to hand washing, one way to reduce water consumption is to simply change the hand soaps available for people to wash their hands.

    According to an independent study in the UK, foam soaps can reduce water consumption by 10 percent to as much as 50 percent per washing. This is because foam soap is lighter than traditional liquid soaps, so it requires less water to rinse off. Foam soaps also tend to lather more quickly than liquid hand soaps, helping to reduce water waste.

    Building owners and facility managers should note that many facilities have found that switching to foam soaps results in cost savings. This is because less time is spent running water while money runs down the drain.

    This is all very good, especially with concerns about water conservation mounting, it sounds like foam soaps are the way to go. However, before making the switch, there is one more question to ask: are foam soaps as effective at cleaning hands as are liquid soaps?

    Foam soaps are manufactured from traditional liquid soaps and because they are lighter, easier to use, and faster to lather, many observers believe they are actually more effective than traditional hand soaps.

    We should also note that similar to traditional liquid hand soaps, Betco manufactures regular foam hand washing/cleansing soaps as well as antibacterial foam hand soaps. These soaps provide a thorough hand washing that helps protect the health of building users along with the budgets of building owners as they promote sustainability.

    Talk to a Betco representative about your hand soap and hygiene needs. Also, Betco U, Betco’s free certification and training program, has a study guide specifically addressing hand hygiene issues. Along with hand hygiene, Betco U includes information and training programs on a variety of health-protecting and facility maintenance related issues. To contact a Betco representative please email welisten@betco.com.

  • Green Cleaning in Schools: Why We Need it Now

    Sep 21, 2017

    Have you ever wondered why so many school districts throughout North America have switched from using traditional cleaning chemicals to green cleaning in their schools?  The reasons for green cleaning in schools are many but it typically comes down to two things: protecting health and improving student performance.

    Several reports have been published over the past decade, all indicating that environmental conditions such as airflow, lighting, ventilation and the overall cleanliness of schools, as well as the types of chemicals used to clean and maintain schools, all influence a student’s health, performance and achievement. These studies focused more specifically on test scores in several categories—math, reading skills, comprehension, and vocabulary. They found that test scores invariably are lower among students in poorly cleaned and maintained buildings and where traditional cleaning chemicals are used, but scores are improved in clean and well maintained schools where more environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals and products are employed.

    For instance, two studies conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina found that when more thorough cleaning methods were implemented, the following environmental results were obtained:

    • Airborne dust declined 52%.
    • Total volatile organic compounds declined 49%.
    • Total bacteria declined 40%.
    • Total fungi declined 61%.

    And when these cleaning improvements were implemented, the following resulted:

    • Passing math scores on standardized tests increased 51%.
    • Passing reading scores on standardized tests increased 27%.
    • Attendance increased 4.5%.

    These researchers concluded that the improved indoor environment positively affected teacher and student morale, attendance, and retention, which improved teachers’ ability to teach and students’ ability to learn.

    ell, this explains why effective cleaning is so important in schools, but where does green cleaning in schools come in? Similar studies also report that the type of cleaning chemicals used also affect student performance. We now know that many traditional cleaning products can be harmful to people and the environment. Specifically, in the indoor environment of a school, these traditional cleaning products can affect the health and well-being of students and their performance.

    Some cleaners are made using ingredients and solvents that are known to be harmful if inhaled or ingested. These products are often applied by using a trigger spray or aerosol, creating a fine mist or vapors, which can mar indoor air quality in the area where used. Application of these cleaning products may cause respiratory irritation and, with repeated exposure, possible asthma attacks and other breathing disorders that can effect children.

    Intensifying the problem, these vapors can enter HVAC systems, which  will spread the fumes throughout the school, effecting both students and staff. Many researchers have concluded that the use of these traditional cleaning chemicals is one of the reasons childhood asthma has increased 160 percent in the past two decades in some school districts around the country.

    A green cleaner contains fewer ingredients and those ingredients are safer to people and the surrounding environment. Additionally, applying cleaners directly onto wipe cloths or using foam cleaners will reduce or eliminate the possibility of vapors becoming airborne. This is an example of how green cleaning in schools often involve changing a cleaning method as well as the cleaning chemicals used.

    This is why there is more of an emphasis on proper cleaning and green cleaning in schools. Along with more effective cleaning, green cleaning in schools help reduce the negative impacts of cleaning on health and the environment which invariably translates into improved learning and improved student performance.

    Betco® is an industry leader in helping building owners, managers, and cleaning professionals keep facilities clean, healthy, and more environmentally responsible.

    For more information on this and other facility maintenance issues, visit the Betco video solutions library, Betco U for even more information, or call 1-888-GO-BETCO

  • Day Cleaning Can Reduce Commercial Energy Use

    Sep 21, 2017

    Building owners and managers are always looking for ways to increase their attractiveness to potential new tenants. While building from scratch or major renovations can be costly and time consuming, there are many small steps that can be taken to make a building more attractive.

    An easy way to improve the first impression of your building is by utilizing a day cleaning schedule. First shift cleaning shifts are becoming more popular and for good reason. One of the numerous benefits of day cleaning can be the major savings on energy costs. Industry consultants predict that within 10 years, day cleaning will be more common than traditional nighttime cleaning because of its effective reduction of cleaning costs as well as increasing sustainability.

    Reduced costs by changing a building cleaning schedule to the day shift can come from eliminating the need to illuminate buildings overnight. Day cleaning also enables building owners and managers to reduce their heating or cooling costs overnight. Doing so will effectively reduce the environmental footprint and can help attract new tenants in a market with growing interest in sustainability.

    The United States Energy Information Administration, or EIA, has determined that commercial buildings now account for roughly 20 percent of energy consumption. Switching to a day cleaning schedule will help reduce overall consumption and energy footprint.

    Day cleaning can also be beneficial to building and property staff. Some of the numerous benefits include:

    • Higher employee retention and levels of job satisfaction
    • Increased visibility of cleaning staff, which leads to increased respect amongst building and office occupants who work during the day
    • Improved communication between tenants and cleaning staff
    • Maintained confidence amongst tenants that their premises are routinely well-cleaned

    Casinos and hotels have been taking advantage of day cleaning for decades. With good communication and willingness to make a change, day cleaning can be implemented in virtually any facility. The recent push for day cleaning has been largely associated with commercial offices and property management. It adds to a return on investment by lowering overall operating costs, contributing to tenant retention, and attracting new customers or tenants seeking a green property.

  • Conserving Water: How One Hotel Saved Three Million Gallons of Water

    Sep 21, 2017

    San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel is the largest hotel in California to earn Gold Status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for existing buildings from the U.S. Green Building Council. One of the most important ways it was able to earn this coveted status was by conserving water throughout the hotel’s operations.

    The hotel had several water conservation options available—from replacing toilets in all the guest rooms and installing systems that consume less water to replacing heating and air-conditioning systems that use water more efficiently. However, these steps would be costly, disruptive, and likely impact hotel guests. So, the Intercontinental Hotel decided to look for steps that would be easy to implement, cost effective, and still produce a considerable reduction in water consumption.

    In other words, they were in search of the “low-hanging fruit” when it came to conserving water and what they came up with was nothing less than phenomenal. They decided to install aerators throughout the hotel’s hundreds of sinks and faucets. In 2010, aerators - which are surprisingly cost effective - were installed in all 550 guest rooms of the 32-story property, in the main kitchen, as well as staff hand-washing stations.

    The aerators reduced water use to 0.5 gallon per minute, similar to the aerators that are part of Betco’s Smart Restroom System. This is considerably less than the 2.2 gallons per minute that the sinks and faucets used previously. Plus, installing the aerators took a minimal amount of time—about five minutes each—was not disruptive to guests or hotel operations, and was surprisingly cost-effective.

    The result: along with other measures, the hotel has managed to save three million gallons of water per year on guest room operations.  Fully two-thirds of that amount was due to the aerators alone.

    But, what about guest satisfaction?  Was water pressure adequate?  According to Harry Hobbs, the hotel’s director of engineering, “it’s been a good decision. We have had some folks think the pressure was too little, but maybe only one in 100,000 guests will bring this to our attention … a very low percentage.”

    For more information on ways to conserve water and reduce water consumption for your hotel property or any commercial building, please contact a Betco representative by emailing @welistenatbetco.com or learn more about Betco’s water conserving Smart Restroom System.

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