Whether it be a K-12 classroom or a college lecture hall, curating a safe and healthy school environment is a vital part of keeping student and staff immune systems and spirits high throughout the academic year. More than 50 million students and staffattendour nation’s schools each day and prioritizing their health and wellness should remain top of mind for administrators and facility managers. However, according to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 20% of America’s public schools report unsatisfactory indoor air quality.
Sustainable School Carpet
School carpet that’s not properly cared for can carry irritants in its fibers that contribute to poor air quality. Unfortunately, the effects of poor indoor air quality on health, learning and well-being are wide-ranging. From allergies to asthma, unhealthy school carpet can negatively impact a student's ability to learn and contribute to attendance problems and chronic absenteeism. Illnesses among staff can be detrimental to school budgets in terms of employee health-related costs and paying for substitute teachers.
To facilitate learning and eliminate respiratory conditions that are triggered by unsatisfactory air quality, schools must implement comprehensive carpet care programs that support occupant health and reduce waste.
School administrators and facility managers typically tasked with making decisions regarding the maintenance of academic buildings should know that implementing a sustainable carpet cleaning program can go a long way in terms of bolstering the indoor air quality of a building.
The 2018 National Education Facilities Cleaning Survey found that 96.7% of schools have implemented green cleaning to at least a small extent, and nearly one in three schools has implemented green cleaning to a very large extent. The report also found that schools are aware of the importance of a green cleaning program, with three in four schools citing cleaning as essential and acknowledging its importance in establishing an overall healthy environment.
Schools that follow the trend of adopting sustainable cleaning programs usually rely on three simple premises:
1) reducing the use of harmful chemicals;
2) investing in equipment and technologies that increase efficacy and efficiency;
3) providing training for procedures that reduce health risks, accommodate highly vulnerable individuals and reduce environmental impact
Sustainable cleaning programs should consider sustainability from the ground up, making carpet care a top priority when considering eco-friendly cleaning options.
Whittaker’s Role in Sustainable Carpet Care
Whittaker has remained ahead of the curve by acknowledging the sustainability movement in facility management and creating green carpet cleaning machines and chemistry. For instance, several of Whittaker’s CRYSTAL® Chemistry productshave earned Green Seal certification under the GS-37 category, meaning these products do not contain substances that cause or worsen asthma. Products under this category also contain limited Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that improve air quality and incorporate materials that are recyclable or refillable in their packaging.
In addition, Whittaker’s Smart Care® machines offer low moisture carpet cleaning solutions that improve carpet care by reducing water consumption and increase worker productivity. The Smart Care machines are ideal for carpet cleaning in schools due to their quiet nature and shorter drying times, which lead to less disruption and noise during the daytime.
Perks of Keeping Classroom Carpet Clean
Sustainable carpet cleaning for schools is easy to achieve with the right equipment and chemistry. Educational facilities can reap the benefits of cleaner air quality while simultaneously supporting the environment. Here are a few perks of implementing sustainable carpet care programs in schools:
- Higher air quality – Whittaker’s carpet care system has a Seal of Approvalfrom the Carpet and Rug Institute for Superior Cleaning andIndoor Air Quality. Better air quality levels in schools benefit student and staff wellness, and increase overall cleanliness and health standards.
- Promoting environmental stewardship– Finding a system that prioritizes saving water like low-moisture encapsulation is an easy and efficient way to make your school’s carpet cleaning program more eco-friendly. Unlike hot water extraction systems, the Whittaker Smart Care® System puts less demand on a facility’s water consumption, using 3 to 12 times less water than the alternative. Furthermore, the chemistry used in a low-moisture encapsulation system involves a quicker drying time (usually 30 minutes) and quickly removes soils from carpet fibers with routine vacuuming.
- Low VOC levels – Properly maintained carpet in indoor environments emit the lowest levels of Volatile Organic Compounds among flooring choices and is unlikely to aggravate allergies or asthma attacks. This is crucial in educational facilities, as maintaining a healthy environment can make a major difference in quality of life for students and staff who suffer from respiratory conditions.
Facility managers and administrators in educational facilities looking to switch to a sustainable carpet care program should look for eco-friendly carpet cleaning machines and chemistry. A successful program promotes environmental stewardship and places education first by prioritizing the well-being of building occupants, while also supporting the bottom line.
To learn more about carpet care essentials from Whittaker that support sustainability in learning environments, like the Smart Care® TWIN and TRIO machines and Green Seal Certified CRYSTAL® Chemistry products, contact us at 800.422.7686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.