Connecticut Foundation
for Environmentally Safe Schools

Hartford County

Farmington School Green Clean Recognition Program

Program Coordinator Name: Tim Harris
School District: Farmington
Number of School Buildings: Seven
Address: 1 Monteith Drive, Farmington, CT, 06032

When did you begin a shift to green clean practices?

June 2006

What environmentally preferable products are currently in use in schools in your district? Are they certified by a third party such as Green Seal?

Green Earth Daily Floor Cleaner, Daily Disinfectant Cleaner and Peroxide Cleaner. G-Force H202 Multi-Purpose Peroxide Cleaner. ALPHA-HP Peroxide Cleaner. Crew Bathroom Cleaner and Scale Remover. G.P. Forward General Purpose Cleaner. Stride Neutral Cleaner. Glance Non-Ammoniated Glass Cleaner. Yes, they are certified by a third party.

What green clean equipment and procedures are being implemented?

We use HEPA filters in our backpack vacs and at East Farms Elementary school we have a central vacuum system which vents to the outside. We also use micro fiber cloths and mops in some locations, wide area vacuums, treated mops, regularly cleaned walk-off matting at each school. We also use chemical measuring devices and separate recycling containers for trash.

Who participates in your green clean program? (i.e. number of schools, members on your TFS teams like nurses, custodians and parents, etc.) What role do they play in this process?

We actually have one of our schools, East Farms Elementary, as a test site for 100% Green Seal products from many manufacturers. When we determine which products that we are satisfied with we will incorporate them district wide starting this summer. All of the schools are using some cleaning agents that carry the Green Seal. We adhere to the standard protocol for TfS team members for each school: school nurse, administrator, parent, custodian, Facilities Dept. member and at the High School, a student. They play an active role in identifying potential indoor air quality problem areas and formulating a remedy.

How do you evaluate the effectiveness of the green clean program?

We encourage feedback from teachers, administrators, custodians and our newly formed TfS committees. School nurses, after time, will be able to demonstrate by a comparison of past versus present absenteeism and incidences of student illnesses, especially asthma related, a measure of success with this program.

What were some initial obstacles to switching to a green clean approach? How did you overcome these obstacles?

We were concerned about the effectiveness of the Green Seal approved products. While there is still progress to be made in that industry especially with their heavy duty cleaners, the everyday cleaners that we use are satisfactory. We find that instead of using a strong cleaner infrequently on desktops, for instance, by using a green product on a weekly basis we are coming up with the same results.

What benefits are you experiencing as a result of a green clean program? (i.e. cost and/or health benefits)

The most profound benefit from the maintenance personnel's viewpoint is the lack of harmful chemicals being used. One example would be the use of peroxide based cleaners, which have replaced our heavy-duty disinfectants. Here is a case where we are using a much healthier product and obtaining the same results at a similar cost. By focusing on keeping dirt out of the building and collecting it instead of redistributing it, we're actually making our job a lot easier. Walk-off matting and more frequent filter changes are good examples of this.

What recommendations would you make to other school districts and indoor environmental quality teams considering a green clean approach?

One important recommendation would be to not think of going green as simply replacing old "bad" products with "good" green products but rather focus on an overall attitude of pollution prevention techniques. Instead of thinking in terms of penalties and mandates, think of the impacts on health, community and the environment.

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