Hennepin County Announces Transition to Day Shift Cleaning

Twin Cities building owners could save up to $10 million a year by transitioning to Day Shift Cleaning, according to a report released today by the BlueGreen Alliance and SEIU Local 26.

January 26, 2010

“Clean Sweep” Illustrates How Day Shift and Green Cleaning in Commercial Office Buildings Can Protect Workers and Environment While Saving Energy and Money

MINNEAPOLIS – Twin Cities building owners could save up to $10 million a year by transitioning to Day Shift Cleaning, according to a report released today by the BlueGreen Alliance and SEIU Local 26. The report, which outlined the benefits of transitioning to Day Shift and Green Cleaning, was released at the Hennepin County Government Center, where Commissioner Peter McLaughlin discussed the County’s recent decision to transition to Day Shift Cleaning and the potential energy and cost savings.

“Hennepin County has made the choice to switch to Day Shift Cleaning because it just makes sense – we can protect workers and the environment while saving money,” said McLaughlin. “By setting an example, we will create a roadmap for others to follow and ensure that Hennepin County is leading the way to make all jobs good, green jobs.” 

The report, entitled Clean Sweep: How a New Approach to Cleaning Commercial Buildings in the Twin Cities Can Protect Our Health and the Environment While Securing Jobs and Saving Money, outlines how a transition to Day Shift Cleaning can save significant amounts of energy by cleaning buildings during the day. Industry estimates suggest such a transition would reduce costs 4-8 percent, and an analysis shows that Twin Cities building owners can save up to $10 million a year by making the transition.

The report also states that Green Cleaning can reduce maintenance costs, protect the environment, safeguard the health of workers and building occupants and improve indoor air quality. However, such a transition cannot happen without a stable and well-trained workforce and public engagement. Adequate staffing levels, worker education and informed building occupants are critical to the execution of an effective Day Shift and Green Cleaning strategy.

“Green Cleaning and Day Shift Cleaning should be a win-win proposition for building owners, tenants, and the janitors that clean the buildings,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “The key element in such a transition is ensuring that we have adequate staffing levels, training and the engagement of building tenants to make this transition as smooth as possible.”

The report offers a set of recommendations, including transitioning to Day Shift Cleaning to reduce nighttime energy loads and cut costs that is phased in over several months, maintains overall staffing levels and includes an annual assessment of energy savings. In addition, the report urges executing a Green Cleaning Strategy to evaluate the health risks of cleaning products, implementing a hazard prevention program and purchasing green cleaning products.

Finally, the report recommends training the janitorial workforce  on the use of Green Cleaning products and chemicals and educating and engaging building occupants in the transition to Day Shift and Green Cleaning.

“Day Shift Cleaning and Green Cleaning go hand-in-hand, as you can’t have a truly green building that is saving energy but full of toxic chemicals, or cleaned with green products but wasting energy,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “This report demonstrates that transitioning to a green economy impacts every corner of our economy, from manufacturing the parts for clean energy production to making our buildings and workplaces safer, cleaner and more efficient.”

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 represents over 4,000 janitors that clean the majority of buildings in the seven-country metropolitan area. SEIU is a member of the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy.

The full report can be found here.

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Check out the press coverage of the event:

Green approach to cleaning can save money and the environment, new report says, Workday Minnesota, January 26, 2010

Study: Big savings could come from day-shift building cleaning, Finance and Commerce, January 26, 2010

Hennepin County backs janitors union, environmental group on day shift cleaning, Downtown Journal,  January 26, 2010

Janitors press for daytime schedule, St. Paul Pioneer Press,  January 26, 2010