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The Exclusive Magazine for the Building Service Contracting Industry Since 1981

BSCs and Energy Conservation

Written by  Scott Saier

Green Cleaning

When competing for new clients, it's not enough for BSCs to just tout how thoroughly they can clean a client’s facility. To really be a leader in today’s industry, you also have to prove that you can see the bigger picture by helping make a client’s facility more green and sustainable. And while using green cleaning products is a good start, another important way to demonstrate that you’re eco friendly is by helping clients conserve energy. In fact, conserving energy is one of the most practical and easy ways for BSCs to help facility owners to enhance the sustainability of their operations.

“Green practices are an important and visible way for building operators to meet sustainability goals,” writes Michele Lord of Buildings.com. “After all, U.S. real estate accounts for 40 percent of primary energy use, 39 percent of CO2 emissions, and 72 percent of electricity use. By lowering overall energy consumption, building managers directly reduce energy costs and environmental footprints.”

Given that energy conservation is such a key part of being green, it makes sense that BSCs should take every possible opportunity to help their clients achieve this goal. There are many obvious ways to help conserve energy, such as keeping lights off when there not in use, but there are also numerous less obvious solutions that are in many cases just as easy to implement. To establish an effective energy conservation plan, it’s best to first consider all of your options and then incorporate as many as are feasible given you specific client, their facility, and their needs. Here are several of the most common strategies BSCs can use to increase energy efficiency for their clients.

• Consolidate your cleaning: If your crew is working a multi-floor building, instead of cleaning several floors at once, try working it one floor at a time, using the lights only on the floors that you’re currently cleaning and turning them on/off as you progress through the building.

• Establish energy patrols: Encourage your clients to power down or turn off office equipment when it’s not in use. Additionally, have your staff keep an eye out for any lighting, machinery, appliances, and other power sources that may have been left on inadvertently, such as copiers, coffee-makers, kitchen equipment, and closet/ bathroom lights.

• Keep natural sources of lighting clean: Keep the facilities windows, skylights, and other sources of natural light well cleaned, so they can provide the maximum amount of “daylighting.” Depending on the facility setup, it may be possible for clients to use less artificial lighting if they have adequate levels of natural light.

• Switch to day cleaning: Having your crew clean during the day can have a huge impact on a building’s carbon footprint and energy bills. For more details on the ways in which day cleaning can help your clients conserve energy, go to page 22.

• Help your client get smart: Encourage clients to look into any state-offered rebates or incentives to retrofit their building with energy-saving smart technology, such as motion detectors and climate-control devices. According to the Building Owners and Managers Association, companies that utilize such programs save an average of 10 percent on their yearly energy bill.

• But make sure your company is smart: While it shows initiative to inform a client how they can make their buildings and employees smarter about energy conservation, it’s even more important that you and your staff lead by example by making sure that the cleaning equipment and practices you use are as energy efficient as possible.

• Switch to batteries: Cleaning equipment with electrical motors use a ton of energy. Search the market for well-reviewed battery-operated machines to help minimize your contribution to the building’s utility bill.

• Keep your eyes peeled: Instruct your staff to spot and report any electrical equipment that needs maintenance but is still using valuable energy, such as dimmed or burned-out fluorescent bulbs, malfunctioning EXIT signs, and emergency lighting. Additionally, coils on refrigeration equipment and HVAC units are an often-overlooked source of unnecessary energy consumption. When they get dusty or clogged, the equipment will become overheated and the cooling units become overworked. Train your staff to keep a watchful eye on these coils, and be sure to clean them often.

• Cold-water cleaning: Some cleaning equipment, especially carpet cleaners, use an exorbitant amount of hot water, which often equates to a hefty energy bill due to the energy needed to heat the water. However, advances in cleaning equipment and chemicals now make it possible to clean thoroughly and efficiently using just cold water. Making the switch to cold-water cleaners can help green up your operations and save clients money.

• Build a green reputation: Once you’ve established a set of energy saving strategies that work well for you and your clients, ask those clients to provide personal testimonials about your energy conservation successes.

Gather these testimonials and include useful stats to help market your services to new clients and win more business. It’s not good enough to just say that you can save potential clients money on power consumption—you’ve got to be able to prove it to them with evidence of your results.


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