Planning with Tomorrow in Mind: Developing a Sustainability Committee

A sustainability committee is a group within an organization whose mission is to find solutions that make it greener and more environmentally responsible — and put these ideas into motion. The committee has to work to mobilize people to make sure the best sustainable practices are implemented throughout the organization.

Once an organization is convinced that it’s in their best interests to strive to be more environmentally friendly, creating a sustainability committee is a great next step. Typically, the team will have two elements: a steering committee, which consists of management, and an action team that implements the plan.

The Sustainability Steering Committee

A steering committee is comprised of senior management as well as other key stakeholders (such as department representatives, and operations) who have the authority to make major decisions. The steering committee is responsible for maintaining project momentum, which is important especially when facing political hurdles brought on by change. They are also responsible for providing support to the action team and keeping them on track.

When building a steering committee and action team, their needs to be a coordinator who works with both teams. (In some cases, an outside individual such as a vendor, consultant, or green cleaning advocate can serve as the coordinator, but frequently these people play the role of key advisor to the coordinator.)

The primary role of the coordinator is team management and leadership.  Their specific functions include:

  1. Leadership: Coordinating the steering committee and action team.
  2. Communication: Ensuring the two groups have the information needed to make timely and informed decisions, while the management is kept aware of progress and that questions are answered quickly and accurately.
  3. Problem-Solving: Being aware of any problems that may be developing, coordinating efforts to deal with them quickly, and calling for outside assistance when required.
  4. Point of Contact: Serving as point of contact for all questions, communications, concerns, or other issues between the implementation teams, management, administration, staff and employees.
The Action Team

The action team (or green team if you prefer) includes the people who are responsible for the day-to-day activities and details involved in implementing the plan. They’re involved in everything from collecting the initial information that reviews the current situation to reviewing results and modifying procedures to achieve the desired results.

It can be difficult to choose the members of your action team. We recommend the following tips to help you come up with the best group:

  1. Include members from all aspects of your organization. This does not only include your office employees, but those who work in your plant or warehouse. Or those in the maintenance department, your contract service providers (i.e., cleaners, HVAC company, lawn maintenance, property managers, health and safety officers, waste management, pest management, etc.).
  2. Include employees who have expressed an interest. Those who are interested in improving the indoor air quality of your building and saving the environment should be highly motivated.
  3. Try to get those who are hesitant about the idea on board. These reluctant or skeptical folks could turn out to be the project’s biggest supporters.
  4. Invite customers or regular visitors to your facility to become members. Those with an outside perspective of your building bring a valuable perspective to your project.

Having the right members on your sustainability committee can make it easier to roll out sustainable practices across every segment of your organization. And having a sustainability coordinator who can work with the steering committee and the action team can help the groups work together.

Sustainability committees are capable of tremendous change within their organization and the greater environment, and creating a formal structure helps them make their biggest impact.

Get in touch

Allcare has the experience and expertise to advise your organization’s Sustainability Committee and even help facilitate its start-up if you don’t currently have one.

We advise on establishing Green Housekeeping programs as part of your organization’s sustainability efforts and assist in optimizing its institutional capacity around sustainability.

Clean Building = Productivity

Building related illnesses affect many Canadian workers. Many experience respiratory complaints, asthma, and allergies. This causes lost work times and poor productivity in employees.

Improving indoor air quality fights building related illnesses and saves organizations money.

Providing a clean and safe workplace encourages employees to maintain their premises. Intern, this too saves the organization money.

It also encourages employee moral and is a good representation of your company to your customers.

Spring Cleaning

With spring around the corner, it’s time to start preparing.

It’s around this time of the year that the snow has finished and is melting away. Your building has taken a beating because of the salt and dirt being tracked in.

It is very important to start scheduling that spring cleaning now!

The following are services we provide to get your building back up to beautiful.

Carpet Steam Cleaning: It is important to remove all the salt and stains to your carpet to extend its life expectancy.

Stripping and Waxing of Floors: Salt fades the shine on floors and damages the floor finish.

Window Cleaning: We offer both interior and exterior of windows

Painting: Rejuvenate the appearance of your office and improve employee moral.

Light Fixture Cleaning: In the fall, flies and bugs hibernate into offices and end up in your light fixtures near the heat. These can be vacuumed and washed.

Call us today to schedule your spring cleaning!

Is your office mold-free? Here’s how to deal with this health-impacting problem

mold

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that it can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions.

In the workplace, just like at home, mold growth needs to be strictly avoided.  Significant problems can arise if the growth is left unchecked, affecting the look and smell of your facility — and possibly even causing structural damage.

How does it grow?

Mold can grow on virtually any surface, as long as there is moisture or water, oxygen and an organic source.

These tiny toxic organisms reproduce by creating spores that are too small to be seen by the human eye — and these spores continually float throughout the indoor and outdoor air.  Exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat in certain individuals, especially those prone to asthma or with weakened immune systems.

Don’t let the mold take hold

Moisture control is key to mold control.  When leaks or spills occur indoors, act promptly.  Any moisture problems should be addressed and cleaned properly.

Here are some key steps to avoid an overgrowth:

  • repair leaky plumbing or leaks in the building structure as soon as possible
  • look for condensation and wet spots, and fix the source of the moisture immediately
  • perform regular HVAC and roof inspections
  • maintain indoor relative humidity below 70%
  • be sure to properly vent moisture-generating appliances
  • provide adequate drainage around the building and slopping
  • pinpoint areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventative action to ensure that they do not re occur.
Get in touch

We can take care of any existing mold or mildew problems and show you how to avoid them in the first place.

Carpet Maintenance Programs

A successful carpet maintenance program begins with good housekeeping practices.  Commercial carpeting is a significant capital investment and deserves proper maintenance.  Regular and periodic cleaning of your carpets increases the life span and contributes to maintaining a great appearance. There is a difference between cleaning and maintenance.

When deciding on a maintenance program, there are several factors that need to be taken into account.

They are frequency of use, foot traffic, desired appearance, available equipment, and most of all budgets.

There are four different categories to carpet maintenance:

  1. Preventative Maintenance
  2. Regular Maintenance
  3. Interim Maintenance
  4. Periodic Maintenance

Preventative Maintenance: The more a carpet becomes soiled, the more difficult and expensive it is to clean.  Providing adequate entrance matting, good housekeeping, and providing spill kits to clean immediate spills.

Regular Maintenance: This consists of vacuuming all traffic areas regularly and spot removal as required.  Special attention to be paid to entrance and heavy traffic areas.  Also detailed vacuuming (corner to corner) on a weekly basis.

Interim Maintenance: This is used to clean or brighten the appearance of the carpet by removing the surface dirt.  This can be done by carpet bonneting or shampooing.

Periodic Maintenance: This is wet cleaning.  Typical practices are based on shampooing using a high foam carpet shampoo, or spray extraction cleaning using a low foam detergent. Shampooing involves the use of a rotary or cylindrical brush machine which brushes a shampoo solution (“wet” shampoo) or a shampoo foam (“dry” shampoo) into the carpet pile. After this is completed, the dirt-laden shampoo is either sucked out of the pile by means of a wet pick-up machine, rinsed out using a spray extraction machine (charged with water only). Spray extraction cleaning injects a detergent solution into the carpet pile, immediately followed by an integral wet pick-up system. Cleaning efficiency can be improved by pre-spraying the carpet with the low foam shampoo 10 minutes prior to spray extraction.

To discuss setting up a maintenance program for you carpets, please contact 905-856-8558.

Importance of Entrance Matting

Importance of Entrance MattingDirt, dust, and grime enter our workplace everyday.  Approximately 70 to 80% of the dust, dirt and allergens, enter through our front door.

It is important to have (where possible) 10-15 ft. of matting at all entrances to trap and reduce the amount of dirt entering your site.

Tracked in dirt can lead to premature destruction of floor finish, and your carpet.  It can cause stains on your carpet, track in salt, mud and moisture, therefore reducing the life span of your flooring material.  Matting also minimizes the slip/fall liability.

Entrance matting ranges from scrapper mats, wiper mats, and a combination of wiper/scraper mats.  They each provide there own function which is to trap and remove dirt and moisture.

To receive further information on protecting your employees and your facility, and to help you decide what time of matting best suits your building, please call 905-856-8558.