If you’d like tools to create a healthier, more sustainable school or college, check out this new program

by Brianna Crandall — December 2, 2019 — Pioneering advocacy organization Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) and global ecocertification nonprofit Green Seal announced at the recent ISSA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, that they are partnering to create a verifiable program for healthy and sustainable facilities management (FM) procurement and practices for schools and universities nationwide.

Combining the success of HSC’s Green Clean Schools program with Green Seal’s technical and certification expertise, the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program will provide facilities managers and staff with verifiable standards, education, tools and resources to accelerate the uptake of practices that promote healthier and more sustainable school environments.

As a premier national ecolabel, Green Seal is widely recognized for its rigorous certification standards for best practices in greening products and spaces. The program will explore adapting and expanding Green Seal’s standard for Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services (GS-42) into a comprehensive schools-focused tool to support continuous improvement in facilities operations. It will expand the community of practice among school FMs, leveraging their expertise and commitment to health and sustainability in order to transform the market.

The Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program will continue to build on HSC’s popular 5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools, provide educational programming at ISSA North America, and rely upon the esteemed Steering Committee members, who represent leadership in green cleaning at schools and universities across the US.

In addition to green cleaning, the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program will allow for an expanded scope to cover areas ranging from indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring to integrated pest management and beyond. The program will provide school and university FMs and custodial teams with:

  • Education, standards and implementation guidelines
  • A network to accelerate the adoption of best practices, and
  • Recognition of the leaders who achieve success
  • Rochelle Davis, president and CEO of Healthy Schools Campaign, remarked:

This new partnership with Green Seal will help expand upon our work in green cleaning for schools and universities. We’ve been building up a network of facility directors across the country, and we’re excited to be able to offer them a certification to evaluate and improve their programs — and ensure all students attend schools that support their health and wellness.

Doug Gatlin, CEO of Green Seal, stated:

Healthy Green Schools and Colleges is about ensuring that our educational facilities provide a healthy and sustainable learning environment for all students regardless of where they live. This new partnership brings together HSC’s outstanding network of school and college facilities leaders along with Green Seal’s expertise in market transformation to create a powerful new force for improving the health and environmental quality of the nation’s schools.

Green Seal notes that more than 76 million students attend US schools and universities each day, representing 23 percent of the American population. Properly implemented, green FM practices reduce exposure to toxic chemicals and asthma triggers, boost attendance, save money, increase the lifespan of facilities, and significantly save carbon emissions.

Facilities staff are particularly susceptible to health problems from frequent exposure to toxic chemicals, points out Green Seal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 6% of school custodians are injured on the job each year due to chemical exposures.

Nationwide, schools report that health is a key driver for green cleaning. More than 96% of K-12 schools implement some level of green cleaning, and nearly a third implement green cleaning to a very large extent, according to the HSC and ISSA 2018 National Education Facilities Cleaning Survey. More than 70% of schools report that access to customizable green cleaning training module outlines, customizable green cleaning procedures and customizable sample green cleaning policies would help them improve their green cleaning practices.

The national nonprofit Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) believes that health and wellness should be incorporated into every aspect of the school experience, and green cleaning is an important component of those efforts. HSC advocates for children to have better access to nutritious school food, physical activity, school health resources, and clean air to shape their lifelong learning and health, and facilitates collaboration among students, parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers to lead change for healthier schools at the school, district, state, and national levels.

Global nonprofit Green Seal’s mission is to transform the economy for a healthier, greener world. Since 1989, Green Seal has certified thousands of products, services and spaces through rigorous standards for health, environmental sustainability and product performance, and is specified by countless schools, government agencies, businesses and institutions.

For more information about the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program, visit the Green Seal website.