Housekeeping Services earned OS1 Green Certified Program Awards for the processes and products it uses to clean Thurston-Bowles, Sitterson/Brooks, and Swain/Abernethy/Smith. Evaluated criteria include cleaning for health, sanitation of building surfaces, disposing of cleaning wastes in an environmentally responsible manner, increasing worker safety and awareness, and minimizing human exposure to pollutants via cleaning products, residues, and disposal. Housekeepers have also been trained to identify illicit discharges from UNC’s stormwater system. In FY 2013, 90% of total expenditures on cleaning and janitorial products were Green Seal and/or UL Environment (Ecologo) certified products.

Housekeeping staff is currently testing a new cleaning technology that eliminates 99.9% of harmful germs using only electrically charged, or iodized, water. This new cleaning mechanism has benefits across the board: Housekeepers and building occupants benefit from less exposure to harmful chemicals and fumes, and the University doesn’t need to engage in the manufacture, transportation, purchase, and disposal of chemical products.

Vacuum cleaners carry the Green Label from the Carpet and Rug Institute, indicating that they improve indoor Housekeeping air quality by using efficient filters that trap particulates. Daily cleaning products are Green Seal-certified and disinfectants are EPA-registered. Green Seal products are evaluated for their environmental impacts in each lifecycle stage including resource extraction, production, distribution, use, and eventual disposal or recycling. The evaluation considers energy, resource use, and emissions to air, water and land as well as other environmental and health impacts. Premeasured cleaning packets, two-sided buckets, and flat, microfiber mops eliminate the use of string mops and reduce water consumption significantly. Employees receive training on new products, equipment, and cleaning protocols. Standard team-cleaning procedures and guidelines enhance productivity and effectiveness, and reduce physical strain on housekeepers.