By Michele Lord
It may be hard to believe that your approach to janitorial services has anything to do with energy consumption, carbon footprint, habitat enhancement, or stargazing, but that’s exactly what you get when you embrace the under-appreciated benefits of day cleaning.
Randy Burke, an experienced practitioner and leading consultant in the day-cleaning field, says, “This painless and inexpensive switch to cleaning during the daylight hours brings about serious, quantifiable reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions; drastically reduces nighttime urban bird kills, especially during migratory seasons; and leaves the night sky as dark and sparkling as nature intended.”
BOMA Intl., in its Building Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP), suggests utilizing janitorial practices to save energy. BEEP reports that janitorial is often ignored when developing energy-saving strategies, yet it typically accounts for almost 25 percent of weekly lighting use, which is equivalent to about 7 percent of total building energy use. Strategies to reduce energy demand include team cleaning, coordination with security, and day cleaning. These strategies can bring 0.6-percent to 8-percent energy savings per year, according to BEEP.
Essentially, day cleaning is nothing more than moving janitorial services from the nightshift to the dayshift. In the process, some fundamental, positive changes take place for building management, tenants, and the cleaning staff.
Cleaning during the day saves money. Because the lights are off for all or most of the night, energy costs fall, bulbs and ballasts last longer, and labor costs related to maintenance and security drop. Most office towers show energy savings of 4 to 8 percent per year according to Daylight Cleaning Systems, a Calgary, AB-based company that has been implementing day cleaning for many years in Canada. For example, annual savings for 600,000 square feet of space with energy costs of $2.50 per square foot can amount to $120,000. Further energy and maintenance savings accrue through reduced use of elevators and HVAC systems. As energy costs rise, so do the savings from moving to daytime cleaning.
Green practices are an important and visible way for building operators to meet sustainability goals. After all, U.S. real estate accounts for 40 percent of primary energy use, 39 percent of CO2 emissions, and 72 percent of electricity use. By lowering overall energy consumption, building managers directly reduce energy costs and environmental footprints. The benefits are so pronounced that companies are increasingly beginning to consider and implement day cleaning as a part of their overall strategy of corporate responsibility and environmental management.
The positive effects on tenants are compelling as well. Tenant surveys show that, almost without exception, tenants feel more confident that their premises are routinely well cleaned. They report fewer incidents of doors left open by mistake, and fewer thefts within the building. Most express that they appreciate the chance to get to know the cleaning staff personally, which isn’t as possible on the nightshift. And, tenants get to play an active role in the management of energy costs, which, naturally, has a direct impact on their occupancy costs. According to building managers, tenant complaints drop dramatically once day cleaning is implemented.
From the cleaner’s point of view, day cleaning is like a long-awaited bonus. It delivers more full-time jobs, higher wages, and better working hours. Cleaners actually get to eat dinner with their families and tuck their kids in at night. Their concerns about travelling to and from work in the dark vanish. Enhanced job security contributes significantly to lower staff turnover. Managers find that less supervision is required as well.
As the real estate industry continues to feel the effects of the financial markets, day cleaning is emerging as an element in the maintenance of a stable bottom line. It adds to a property’s return on investment by lowering overall operating costs, contributing to tenant retention, and attracting new tenants seeking a green property.
To learn more about day cleaning and how to convert your building, find a qualified custodial consultant to work with you and your contractor – and clean up in more ways than one.