Need For Sustainability In Commercial Facilities Is Growing

The vast majority (90%) of executives believe sustainability is important for business. Not only do environmentally responsible practices limit consumption and pollution, but they can also help organizations reduce costs and improve brand loyalty as consumers increasingly call on corporations to embrace sustainability.

New research from Whittaker takes a closer look at the sustainability efforts that commercial facilities should have in place. Read on to learn more about how these initiatives can improve the experience of building occupants and reduce an organization’s impact on the environment.

Public Perceptions around Corporate Sustainability

Conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Whittaker from May 4-6, 2021 among 2,035 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, the survey asked respondents which sustainability efforts they believe commercial facilities like hotels, long-term care facilities, airports, retail stores, etc. should have in place. The results indicate that Americans feel strongly about sustainability in these environments.

According to the survey:

  • 61% of U.S. adults believe commercial facilities should have indoor air quality controls in place. This includes maintaining air filtration systems, cleaning with chemicals that do not contain volatile organic compounds that pollute the air and more.
  • 58% of U.S. adults believe facilities should implement energy-saving practices and the same percentage also believe water-saving practices should be in place. This can be accomplished by using resource-saving cleaning equipment like energy- and water-efficient carpet cleaning machines, dishwashers and laundry equipment or even water-saving toilets and faucets.
  • 1 in 2 U.S. adults (50%) feel these buildings should follow sustainable cleaning practices, like using certified green cleaning products and cleaning during daytime hours, which uses less energy than cleaning during the evening.
  • Nearly half (49%) of U.S. adults say commercial buildings should prioritize single-use plastic reduction practices. Plastics are a growing concern, as many end up in waterways and negatively impact the wildlife in these habitats. Plastic reduction can take many forms in facilities, including using concentrated cleaning chemicals that are mixed with water rather than ready-to-use chemicals in plastic bottles. Facilities with foodservice operations can opt for reusable or compostable utensils and dishware.

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Programs

Incorporating sustainability into a cleaning program does not have to be challenging. There are simple changes organizations can implement that will make a big difference in the long run. Consider the following recommendations for making your cleaning process more environmentally friendly:

  • Use chemistry that won’t pollute the air – Unfortunately, many cleaning chemicals contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that negatively impact indoor air quality, and thus the wellbeing of building occupants. Whether you are looking for a stain remover for carpet, a disinfectant or a multi-surface cleaner, review the ingredients to be sure that your chemistries are not made with potentially harmful ingredients.
  • Vet equipment carefully – The machines and systems you use within your cleaning program can have a large impact on energy, water and chemical consumption. Facilities that opt for low-moisture encapsulation for carpet care can greatly reduce water consumption. This is because it relies on much less water than other methods and does not produce any wastewater. Meanwhile, using machines that are certified or approved by trusted industry organizations gives you peace of mind that the equipment is energy efficient and will not re-release contaminants into the air.  
  • Clean regularly to limit the need for repair and replacement – Cleaning is key to prolonging the lifespan of facility assets like carpet, HVAC systems and even furniture. Create a comprehensive cleaning and maintenance schedule for your team that details daily, monthly and annual tasks that need addressing. For example, daily vacuuming and monthly encapsulation remove surface and embedded soils from carpet that can damage the fibers and appearance. This not only reduces replacement costs, but also keeps carpet out of landfills. Additionally, recurring maintenance for heating and cooling equipment ensures it is working at peak performance and is not using more energy than necessary.

Whittaker’s Harris Poll survey further reinforces the fact that sustainability is here to stay. Organizations that embrace changes that better protect people and the planet set themselves up for success. Incorporating sustainability practices can improve indoor air quality, reduce energy, water and chemical usage and result in less waste produced in a facility and less pollution in surrounding communities.

While carpet care is not the only aspect of the cleaning process where facilities can leverage sustainability, it is an area that can make a big difference for organizations and their environmental footprints. Carpet helps preserve good indoor air quality and proper care can make it last for decades. Because carpet maintenance requires the use of chemistries, water and energy, it is important to be mindful of the way in which cleaning professionals complete carpet care in commercial facilities.

With over 30 years of experience and the pioneers of the first commercial encapsulation carpet cleaning system, Whittaker has the expertise required to help customers maintain a consistently cleaner carpet. For more information contact us at 800.422.7686 or [email protected]

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