In August 2005, the physical plant department (PPD)introduced green cleaning as a pilot program in Old College. The pilot program was so successful that it moved toward formalizing the green cleaning program to include each building in the initial 28-building North Campus Quad "Green Corridor." The main focus of the new program was to improve indoor air quality in some of the oldest campus buildings, substitute hazardous chemicals with safer products, reduce employee workplace accidents and standardize employee work practices. UGA realized that its building service workers regularly were using chemicals with dangerous health, flammable and/or reactive characteristics. Over the past year, more than 500 hazardous cleaning chemicals have been eliminated from inventory stock and replaced with just three daily cleaners with environmentally friendly compounds.

The green cleaning program is focused on intensive employee and inhabitant training and certification that include a partnership in green training from UGA PPD and a local OSHA trainer. Employees are taught proper use of green cleaning products, equipment and tools; techniques to reduce cross-contamination; procedures for universal waste-handling; bloodborne pathogens; and inventory-control measures. The disinfectant program is designed to reduce student, faculty and staff exposure to harmful diseases or contaminants by use of a hospital-grade quad-disinfectant. Employees are responsible for disinfecting in all public access points daily — telephone receivers, door handles, electrical light faceplates/switches, restrooms, hallway touch points and keyboards — with a wipe method to reduce VOC exposures.

Like many public universities across the country, the University of Georgia is challenged to maintain the quality of its services in a time of deep budget reductions. The PPD must do its part to help the institution realize savings in the resident instruction budget, while continuing its commitment to excellence. By creating efficiency improvements in its daily business operations and increasing the value-added opportunities of employee training, the physical plant not only is meeting this goal, but actually is enhancing customer service in the process.

Other cleaning strategies include regular and frequent supervisory crew meetings that stress safety training (i.e.: PPE usage; universal waste handling; Material Data Safety Sheet usage, etc.). Other meetings with the building faculty/staff contact person ensure that they know what the cleaning plan is for their building. Each building has been work-loaded (electronic data entry) into a custodial maintenance management software (CMMS) program for floor-by-floor chemical and equipment inventory, routine cleaning assignments per staff member, training cards for floor assignments, supervisory cleaning task checks, and cost projections by facility. Quality-assurance checks are completed by PDA (personal data assistant) and downloaded for a final building report.

Each facility has a cleaning plan based on square footage, predetermined cleaning tasks assigned by employee task list, which includes restrooms, general areas, offices, classrooms or labs, hallways/stairs and specialized cleaning schedules for carpet shampooing/hard floor care and maintenance. Public-relations posters and visual displays are used for promotions: hand hygiene; reducing water and energy consumption; recycling; and sustainability.

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Program Information

Number of students: 38,000
(undergraduate/graduate/professional students)

Square footage maintained: 9.5 million

Number of full-time custodians: 320

Annual cleaning budget: $20 million

Green cleaning team members: Kimberly Thomas, Assistant Director, PPD Services Department; Jerry Heninger, Superintendent-Building Services; Leo Billups, Adam Hayes, Roy Faust, Assistant Superintendents; Deb Massey, Tom Link, Training Specialists; Hope Thomas, Safety Coordinator; Kevin Liu, HazMat Specialist; Athens Janitor Supply, Grainger, Janitorial Product Distributors; UGA Physical Plant Departments: Support Services, Grounds, Energy Services, Operations & Maintenance, Engineering, Human Resources Office

Story of Innovation

GREEN ACADEMY: The Building Service Worker Academy is a required two-week training program to establish a consistent method of training and prepare eligible employees for advancement. To date, 93 employees and supervisors have completed the academy. The program covers business processes, training, and a defined emphasis on IAQ and sustainability.

Learn about other Green Cleaning Award winners.