These days, going “green” is much more than a fad—it’s an important part of a BSC’s business strategy. However, with Americans using more water per day than ever before and the population constantly growing, we’re going to have to add a bluer shade of color to how we define sustainability. So how do BSCs go about achieving continued success and customer satisfaction, while facing the necessary task of conserving this valuable resource? We haven’t reached a level of cleaning that’s completely waterless, so for now the answer lies in innovative technology and conscientious cleaning practices.
Water has always played a major role in cleaning services, but it’s traditionally been viewed as a fairly inexhaustible resource. While it’s tempting to maintain this perspective and hope the environment works things out by itself, it’s prudent to think of water conservation not only in terms of its environmental benefits, but also in terms of dollars and cents. Conserving water is one of the simplest ways a BSC can improve their business’ sustainability, and with the majority of today’s customers demanding that their cleaning companies adopt green practices, it can be a great way to win new business and provide more effective services.
The following cleaning technologies provide simple yet effective ways for your company to save water and money at the same time:
Pressure washers: Although you think it would be a no-brainer, BSCs should never use garden hoses for anything more than minor clean-ups. After all, garden hoses are designed to water lawns, not for industrial cleaning. Pressure washers are not only more effective, but they actually save water, too. Garden hoses have a psi of about 10. Older pressure washers raised the psi bar to about 50. Newer pressure washers have upped the ante to between 1500 and 2000 psi, reducing water usage by 75-percent or more and getting the job done in a much shorter amount of time.
Microfibers: Microfiber mop heads are designed to both save water and clean more effectively than conventional loop mop heads. As the EPA describes them, “Microfibers are densely constructed, polyester and polyamide (nylon) fibers that are approximately 1/16 the thickness of a human hair. The density of the material enables it to hold six times its weight in water, making it more absorbent than a conventional, cotton loop mop. Also, the positively charged microfibers attract dust (which has a negative charge), and the tiny fibers are able to penetrate the microscopic surface pores of most flooring materials.”
With their enhanced performance, microfibers not only help conserve water, but they also provide a more thorough cleaning. Moreover, the improved fibers also cut down on the amount of cleaning solution required per mopping, which saves money in equipment costs. Microfiber cleaning cloths are also available.
Carpet Extraction: Traditional carpet extractors are notorious for the amount of water they use and the amount of moisture they leave behind. This extra water often leads to moldy, moist carpets, which can quickly destroy carpets and spread mold and other allergens. However, the latest “recycling” carpet extractors use recycling and moisture-control technology to minimize the amount of water that’s used during cleaning and left behind after the job is done. This dramatically conserves not only water, but also energy and cleaning chemicals. Due to the reduction in moisture, recycling extractors also help reduce contaminants, mold, and allergens in carpets, while also significantly increasing the life of the carpet.
Cylindrical Brushes: Floor-cleaning equipment outfitted with cylindrical brushes not only out-perform their rotary brush counterparts by scrubbing roughly six times faster, but they are built with environmental sustainability in mind. Cylindrical brushes are specifically designed to conserve water, cleaning solution, and source materials. They are also much quieter than rotaries, making them perfect for noise-sensitive settings.
Vapor Steam Systems: While vapor steam cleaners obviously require water to function, they utilize water in an efficient and responsible way, and do not rely on potentially hazardous chemicals. Comparatively speaking, vapor steam units use water in measurements of quarts per hour, while traditional steam cleaners often use water in gallons per minute. Even though the cleaners don’t use chemicals, the steam vapor is quite effective as a disinfectant and can even be used to kill dust mites in carpet, bedding, and upholstery.
A Culture of Conservation
Conserving water isn’t just about buying fancier, greener equipment. It’s about being aware of the water usage in your building and the buildings of those you serve. Learn how to install low-flow faucets in bathrooms and custodial closets. Learn how and when to recommend ideas like drip versus spray landscape irrigation systems or foam versus gel soap dispensers. Even small steps, like using pre-moistened wipes instead of a spray bottle, can offer considerable contributions to water conservation.
By educating your staff on smart water practices, you can then educate your clients and help forge stronger business relationships, which in turn should eventually lead to increased business. While going green can require some upfront investment, the long-term payoff in terms of cost savings, improved cleaning, and increased business will more than make up for the initial expense.