Campus News

Turning green

Deborah Massey (left) and Kathy Barnett are the building supervisors for Old College

Old College cleaning staff introduces environmentally friendly products into the recently renovated building

Employees inside recently renovated Old College are breathing a little easier, thanks to an environmentally friendly cleaning approach ­undertaken by UGA.

Custodians in the building are scrubbing dirt and grime with products that lack the harmful ingredients found in conventional cleaners.

The team has started a holistic green cleaning program that includes micro-fiber vacuums and scheduled deep cleaning shifts to push the oldest building on campus toward a cleaner, safer future.

“Everything there is environmentally safe, from the mats we put down to the equipment we use,” said Dexter Fisher, director of the Physical Plant. “All our staff has been trained in the green cleaning process. Nothing will come into the building except those products.”

The program includes monthly checks from an outside distributor and re-training sessions for staff to ensure the process is working.

The change in air quality is noticeable, according to Kathy Barnett, building supervisor for Old College.

“I can tell a difference, being as the products that we use in the other buildings aren’t like this. I can tell a difference. There’re no perfumes or odors in the products we use in Old College,” she said.

The ingredients found in the products are natural, so they don’t irritate or emit hazardous chemicals.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates human exposure to air pollutants inside can be up to five times higher than outdoors. With cleaner air, employees inside can operate in a safer, healthier manner.

Old College is the first building on campus to start a green cleaning program, but more could start soon, according to Fisher. Because the program requires several hours of training and new products, cost is an issue, but Fisher said the results of the Old College program elicit promise for the future.

“I’d like to take this to buildings that are getting remodeled,” he said. “As new building come online is the best time to implement this program.”