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Ashkin sees 2013 as 'tipping point' for sustainability and the cleaning industry
Stephen Ashkin, President of The Ashkin Group and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, believes 2013 will be a 'tipping point' year for the professional cleaning industry as cleaning professionals become more involved in reducing clients' operating costs by becoming more sustainable.
"Building owners will increasingly turn to their suppliers, including cleaning contractors, to help reduce [resource] consumption,"he says. "This helps to protect the environment and promote sustainability, while at the same time improving the bottom line."
He says that in some cases these savings can amount to as much as 25 cents per square foot - a significant sum for a large facility.
Why are cleaning professionals so important in this equation?
"Because they see everything in the facility, including how electricity is used and where savings are possible," he argues.
For example, some facilities managers are asking cleaning crews to turn off lights, printers, monitors, vending machines and other devices during evenings and weekends.
A vending machine alone can use up to 4,000 kilowatt hours each year-an amount equal to about a third of the annual electricity usage of an average US household.
To help building owners achieve these reductions, Stephen also believes facilities will start using standardised sustainability colour-coding systems. These systems allow managers and cleaning professionals to place coloured 'dots' on a variety of 'plug load' areas in a facility, from light switches and thermostats to vending machines. The various dot colours indicate whether a given electronic device can or should be left on, turned down, or turned off at certain times to save energy.
"These systems will prove their value as cost savers and help building owners become much more sustainable," argues Stephen.
Finally, Stephen predicts greater transparency in 2013. "There will be continued efforts from third-party standard setters and certifiers to drive innovation on greener products and sustainability," he says.
"Among the most important new developments for the cleaning industry will be Ecoform's Transpare programme, which provides information about key ingredients found in cleaning chemicals, along with sustainability dashboards and other systems that allow organisations to track and report their use of natural resources."
31st January 2013