By Kat Danaher, Executive Assistant to the CEO
Green Seal’s standard for Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services (known to its friends as GS-42*) has come a long way since its launch on an early fall day in 2006. Just six certifications were awarded in the first two years, but by the time it was celebrating its fourth anniversary, that number had soared to fifty-eight. This plucky, ambitious standard was not satisfied to rest on its laurels, however…
It yearned for more.
The ivy-covered walls of college were calling its name, and in 2010, Harvard came knocking. Living up to its reputation for excellence, by March 2011 Harvard University became the first institute of higher learning to earn GS-42 certification. And there was much rejoicing.
Another illustrious school soon followed suit in October 2012 when the University of Maryland achieved GS-42 for its College Park campus, and became the first public university to earn this certification. From custodial workers to students to senior administrators, the Terrapins jumped in with gusto, and have proven to be enthusiastic ambassadors for the cause. As Carlo Colella, AVP of Facilities Management, said, “Green Seal Certification is a truly world class accomplishment that was achieved through a significant team effort .”
And these successes are just the beginning of GS-42’s tour through the academic world; a little green birdy told me to keep an eye out for some more big news on the horizon.
Why such momentum, you ask?
The clear-cut data regarding budget savings are more powerful than ever in this era of swelling tuition rates and reduced state funding; the dramatic health benefits and reduced environmental impact tap into institutions’ growing focus on the triple bottom line; and the impeccable reputation of Green Seal and its achievable roadmap for GS-42 eliminate the usual doubts and guesswork from the process.
Working at Green Seal and knowing the amazing potential of this program is one thing. Watching that light bulb go off in other people and seeing the real-world results is a genuine thrill.
Also, if you’re familiar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, you know that 42 is actually the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
* Cleaning services that meet GS-42 have achieved the following leadership goals:
waste minimization * building-specific operational procedures * effective custodial training * the purchase and use of products with limits on human & environmental toxicity