Beyond Green Cleaning
New Certification Delivers a More Professionalized Janitorial Service
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
by: Tom Magnussen, Paragon Janitorial

Section: News Roundup




As property design and the maintenance of existing commercial property refines its focus on sustainability, there is an increased demand for property professionals to tailor their operations that supports higher performance with less environmental impact. Whereas investment in education has been largely focused at management level employees, many frontline building operators have been overlooked. Noticing an opportunity to enhance green cleaning practices and educate a sustainable mindset, Building Skills Partnership (BSP) in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council - Los Angeles chapter (USGBC-LA), the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Los Angeles (BOMA-GLA), leading janitorial firms, building owners, and the SEIU-United Service Workers West, developed and implemented the Green Janitor Education Program.
 
The Green Janitor Education Program is a 30 hour in-person course based on curriculum curated by the USGBC, taught in Spanish, during work hours, and hosted at the jobsite. The program’s seven modules: introduction to building sustainability, green cleaning methods and products, energy conservation, recycling and waste diversion, health and safety, water conservation, and review/testing, extensively address not only technical processes to ensure sustainable cleaning, but also educates why sustainability is important. By combining the how and why of sustainability, graduates of the program have the tools to improve building operations by adapting their training to the regularly changing dynamics within a building as well as the ability to improve their community and homes. Upon graduation, the USGBC confers certification, providing a professional designation to the janitors. Buildings that offer the program benefit from a more educated workforce, as well as an additional LEED point during (re)certification.
 
“It is empowering for janitors to be active participants in a building’s effort to achieve maximum efficiency and sustainability,” commented Ray Magnussen, Principal at Paragon Services Janitorial and Trustee of the Management/Labor Fund which contracts with BSP to facilitate the Green Janitor Program. “Paragon Services is proud to support education initiatives that help our employees become sustainability stewards. As industry leaders, we have a responsibility to provide meaningful opportunities to our employee that are enriching and sophisticate their talents.”
 
The first graduating class in San Diego was hosted by Hines at Procopio Tower, in 2015. This year, the program has expanded to properties owned and managed by the Irvine Company and Kilroy Realty.  For more information regarding the program, please visit:
http://www.buildingskills.org/programs/greenjanitor/.