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Facility management is no longer just about making sure critical mechanical systems are functioning and the premises are clean. Sustainability has become a strategic focal point as commercial building owners look for ways to differentiate their brands, achieve LEED certification, attain government incentives, improve property values, and increase tenant occupancy and rates.
One way facility managers can proactively contribute to sustainability goals is to focus on their cleaning chemical program. A technology called on-site generation (OSG) allows janitorial staff to generate their own chemicals right on-site. This can contribute significantly toward sustainability goals by reducing the environmental impact associated with conventional packaged chemicals.
Safe and Effective Cleaning Power
One example of OSG uses an electrolysis process to convert water, electricity, and a small amount of salt into cleaning and disinfecting/sanitizing solutions. It can replace most conventional packaged chemicals that clean floors, carpeting, and hard surfaces.
This OSG technology produces two cleaning solutions: a multi-surface cleaner and a one-step cleaner-disinfectant. Building cleaning crews can easily dispense the solutions into spray bottles, automatic scrubbers, mop buckets, carpet extractors, and other cleaning equipment. This system integrates into current cleaning processes and fits into most janitorial closets. Furthermore, the solutions generally contain no dyes, buffers, or chelating agents – additives typically found in conventional solutions that raise environmental concerns.
The process also significantly reduces the number of packaged cleaning chemicals needed. The multi-surface cleaner generated by an OSG system can replace an array of conventional products: all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, stainless steel cleaners, chemicals for autoscrubbers, and pre-spray and in-tank chemicals for carpet extractors. Likewise, its cleaner-disinfectant can replace many conventional cleaner-disinfectants and sanitizers.
Before replacing conventional cleaning chemicals, it’s important to verify the efficacy of OSG solutions. Look for third-party recognition by credible organizations such as Green Seal, NFSI, the Carpet and Rug Institute, Woolsafe, NSF, TURI, and others.
Improve Productivity and Lower Costs
Early adopters of OSG systems have found this technology helps minimize the environmental impact associated with packaging, shipping, and disposing of conventional cleaning chemicals. It can also improve the health and safety of employees and visitors because OSG solutions contain no VOCs and little-to-no fragrance, making it an ideal solution for those with chemical sensitivities. Because their composition is typically non-irritating to skin and eyes, safe handling, storage, and hazardous spills are practically a non-issue.
Furthermore, opportunities for over or under-dosing are nearly nonexistent since OSG systems require only minimal maintenance and the solutions are typically dispensed as RTU (ready to use) without manual dilution.
Switching to OSG offers many productivity benefits as well. Using simple, non-irritating OSG solutions can lead to more productive cleaning processes and less potential for lost-time accidents.
Because OSG solutions don’t require manual dilution and can typically replace multiple cleaning products with two solutions, they can reduce training requirements. OSG can even lower the cost to clean because there is no need to purchase, reorder, or manage a wide array of traditional cleaning chemicals.
With sustainable cleaning contributing to LEED points, building owners can also enlist OSG to take the complexity out of establishing a required green cleaning policy. This could qualify them for points under LEED-EB O&M.
Jeff Johnson is the director of product management and marketing at Orbio Technologies, a manufacturer of OSG technology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While building owners and managers tend to look at the big picture to make their building more efficient and profitable, it’s really the small things that drain their budget. After performing hundreds of water audits, here are the top four culprits I find that make a building water inefficient.
Using 30% of your building’s total water consumption, cooling towers are usually located on rooftops and go practically unnoticed unless they completely fail. They rely on water evaporation to regulate temperature, which increases the concentration of minerals in the remaining water. If left undiluted, this will cause scaling on the equipment surfaces that can cause small leaks to occur. These leaks can drain thousands of gallons and go completely undetected – until you get an enormous water bill!
Toilets can also account for more than 30% of the water used inside a facility. A valve stuck open in one toilet can waste 200 gallons per hour. Over a weekend, this would cost $157 in Los Angeles, $220 in Tampa, and $360 in Atlanta.
While owners and managers promise to offer tenants a lush landscape to go with the building, often times it means they over irrigate in both the number of days and how long per zone. If faulty rain sensors are in place, you may be watering during a rain storm. Train your grass and flowers to grow with less water.
Most equate underground leaks with the major bursts that are easily seen. However, the most expensive leaks are those that can’t be seen. Look for wet spots and alligatored paving, which are clues to underground leaks.
Water is one of most precious assets. Yet we often waste it without giving a second though. Correcting and monitoring the above culprits will go a long way toward increasing your water efficiency and lowering your bill.
You can also take advantage of technology that measures water usage in real-time. Analyzing this data provides metrics to determine when there is usage above industry norms, an unseen leak, or a catastrophic leak. Making sure these problems are identified and remedied can prevent you from wasting gallons of water.
Scott Kale is vice president of WaterSignal. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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