1652318894086 B 0811 Sustainability

See the Light of Day Cleaning

July 25, 2011

Don’t be left in the dark – day cleaning can decrease energy costs while increasing company sustainability and elevating employee mood

You opt to perform some activities during the evening – like cooling your facility during your electric company’s off-peak hours – because it costs less than performing the activity during normal business hours. Cleaning, however, can actually save you if performed during the day instead of at night.

Adobe Systems decided to convert a San Jose, CA, facility to day cleaning for several reasons, including energy savings. “We were initially motivated by the desire to operate sustainably,” says George Denise, global account manager with Cushman & Wakefield, on behalf of Adobe Systems. “After analysis, our primary reasons were to allow custodians to work more normal hours and be home with their families in the evenings, to operate more sustainably, and to achieve energy and labor savings.”

Hard Benefits
One of the first – and major – ways that implementing day cleaning will save you money is with the energy costs associated with having lights on at night when the building is unstaffed, aside from cleaning and security crews.

When Fluor Corporation switched from a traditional evening/night cleaning schedule to a day cleaning schedule in three of its facilities, the lights were off by 9 p.m. instead of remaining on until 2:30 a.m. for the janitorial team. This alone has saved the company approximately $70,000 by cutting 777,300 kWh each year, according to John Sorich, director of office services for the company.

Energy savings is extremely important to Adobe Systems and the company has chosen to implement several energy saving techniques, including day cleaning. The company has a conservative estimate of $25,000 in energy that will be saved per year with the implementation of day cleaning.

In addition to savings associated with using less energy, you may also find, like Fluor did, that duties of your day porters and your janitorial crew overlap and that you don’t require as high of a headcount. The company was able to save an additional $60,000 per year due to headcount reductions as a result of eliminating duplicate labor. This brings the projected annual savings to $130,000, including the fees paid to Daylight Cleaning Service (DCS), the consulting firm that helped with the conversion.

But not all companies take advantage of potential labor savings. “Labor savings could be achieved with staff reductions because the day cleaners are now overlapping their shifts and activities with the day porters,” explains Bruce Schilling, licensed consultant with DCS Global Enterprise, who worked with Adobe and several other companies on their conversions. “Adobe did not want anybody to lose their jobs as part of this sustainability initiative, so we plan to evaluate staffing should one (or more) of the existing day cleaners retire or decide to leave the facility.”

Soft Benefits
Other benefits of a day cleaning conversion aren’t quantifiable by numbers and cost savings, but are still important.

The Conversion Process

Switching to day cleaning isn’t as simple or easy as switching on a light. There are several steps you should take to ensure the process is successful.

  • Evaluate your situation, including work processes and activities. Talk to key employees and cleaning staff. Calculate an estimated cost savings. Is day cleaning a feasible option?
  • Communicate your plan. Communication is key to a successful conversion. Communicate the idea, then the plan, and get feedback. Explain the benefits of the conversion and how the workspace will be impacted. Be receptive to what the office employees and the custodial crew are saying. Communication should be ongoing, even after the conversion process has been completed.
  • Begin the conversion, but don’t expect immediate success. The process may take several weeks. Verify that each activity is being completed on schedule and protocols are being met. If something doesn’t seem to be working, you may need a slight tweak to the program.

“Custodians are very happy and excited to be working days – smiling, greeting employees, and stating how much happier they are,” Denise explains. “And interestingly enough, there’s a much better relationship between employees and custodians now that the employees see who their custodians are and get to know them. There are very positive relationships between employees and the now-familiar custodians they see daily, as opposed to the faceless people that move things around on our desks in the middle of the night.”

Like Denise, you may also find that the number of custodial-related work orders will decline because employees see custodians and can directly communicate their needs during the day, cutting out the middle man.

The conversion can also have a positive impact on your cleaning crew. “Members of the day cleaning crew have indicated the new cleaning schedule has created more time for them to spend with family and has, in many, improved sleep and eating patterns,” Sorich explains.

Finally, cleaning and the cleaning crew will become routine, and disturbances (as much as you try to eliminate them) won’t be noticeable.

“There has been no noticeable change or interruption in work, even at the CEO level; it simply became routine within a day or two of implementation,” Denise says. “Custodians and employees almost universally seem to enthusiastically embrace it.”

Kylie Wroblaski ([email protected]) is associate editor of BUILDINGS.

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