The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was established to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable and healthy places to live, learn, work and play. The Center believes that everyone, from the kindergartner entering the classroom to the Ph.D. student performing research in a lab, should have the ability to learn in green buildings.
With more than a quarter of all Americans entering a school building each day, there is no questioning the enormity and urgency of the task. Unfortunately today even with the Herculean efforts of our facilities departments, many schools buildings are in need of repairs, burdened with unsafe toxins, dwindling budgets and outdated resources. By greening the operations and maintenance of existing schools, a tremendous impact can be made on student health, school operational costs and the environment.
Specific to custodial efforts, the Healthy Schools Campaign, ISSA – the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association and The Ashkin Group have come together to support the Center’s Green Apple Day of Service by recognizing and encourage the training of school custodians.
Whether the training is designed to orient new employees, address improving the custodian’s knowledge of the tasks being performed, introduce innovative products and processes, increase productivity and efficiency, protect worker health, reduce environmental impacts, or other learning objectives – the training can be registered and the school recognized for its efforts.
The school will be given a certificate of participation and the projects will be used to help communities across the nation learn about the important work that is being done in our schools to create healthy learning environments for students and staff.
Participation is easy. When custodial training is scheduled, simply go to the Center’s website at www.greenapple.org/greencleaning and register the training. All that is required is some simple information about the school, the date of the training, how many custodians will be trained, and the approximate number of students in the buildings that the custodians will clean. That’s it!
If training is not already planned, the project webpage provides links to numerous project resources including:
- Healthy Schools Campaign’s Green Clean Program.
- ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard for Green Buildings and their Cleaning Industry Training Standard.
- Green Seal’s GS-42 Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services.
- US Green Building Council’s LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (cleaning credits in the section on Indoor Environmental Quality).
Additionally the project provides ‘how to’ guidance or steps that can be followed to make the training for the Green Apple Day of Service a success. These include:
- Find out what training would be helpful. It might be orienting new custodial workers; training on new equipment such as the use of floor machines, no-touch restroom cleaning or backpack vacuums; cleaning hard floors, carpets, classrooms or restrooms; new technologies for measuring cleanliness; right-to-know information; using personal protective equipment; etc.
- Distributors of cleaning products and/or cleaning service providers should schedule and conduct custodial training sessions on identified topics. Schools should contact their distributors of cleaning products and/or cleaning service providers to ask for their assistance.
- Ensure that the training sessions are understandable by taking into consideration the custodians skill level, language and other potential cultural barriers of the custodians.
- Make sure your cleaning program is seen as part of your school’s overall sustainability program by promoting your local training program through your school communication channels including school newsletters, PTA or local school fliers.
With all the challenges that schools face this is one program that is guaranteed to be a success. Register projects at www.greenapple.org/greencleaning and collaborating with janitorial supply distributors can make the training easier while sharing the recognition.