University of Virginia

What is Green Seal?

Green Seal is the nation’s most recognizable non-profit entity that uses science-based programs to empower consumers and organizations to create a more sustainable world. The number one priority is to create standards that drive ‘cleaning for health’.

In order to reach certification, organizations such as UVA Facilities Management Custodial Services must meet very rigid and complex requirements. Products used must not only be sustainable and safe for people and the environment, they must also equal the quality results of their non-green counterparts. All cleaning procedures and processes must be clearly spelled out and documented to help support consistent, high quality results. Regular and intensive training is a key requirement.

With this certification, UVA’s cleaning program becomes one of only three higher education organizations in the country to be awarded this prestigious recognition.

What does it mean for UVA?

Obtaining Green Seal’s endorsement shows that UVA custodial staff are helping to improve the environment, support the good health of employees and customers, and maintaining the buildings across Grounds by following the highest standards in the commercial cleaning industry.

As the first university in the state and third in the nation to achieve GS-42 certification, UVA, through its cleaning program, has demonstrated that it places a high priority on the health of everyone who enters buildings across Grounds — whether they’re faculty, staff, students or visitors.

As part of achieving Green Seal certification, Custodial Services showcased its cleaning products and procedures at Bavaro Hall, which was built in 2010. Home to the Curry School of Education, Bavaro Hall spans 48,978 cleanable square feet and is situated at 417 Emmet St. South. The Sheila C. Johnson Clinic for Human Services — which provides integrated clinical services for individuals of all ages — is also located in Bavaro Hall.

Bavaro Hall was selected as our platform building for several reasons, including that the building is already green-friendly by virtue of its LEED gold status. We also felt that we had a strong and highly motivated custodial team in place there. Finally, we believed that the Curry staff would be supportive of the many initiatives that had to be undertaken as part of meeting the standards that resulted in our program's certification.

2014 will see the rest of our educational and general buildings across Grounds follow suit with training starting in February and continuing through the summer. The training methodology is a Train-the-Trainer concept, with front-line top performers and supervisors being trained on both demonstrating and teaching the new procedures, as well as providing oversight to ensure continuing compliance.

  • Bavaro Hall
    Bavaro Hall

What does it mean for our professional staff

The Custodial Services custodial staff at UVA must learn over 50 procedures that set forth the what, when, why and how of cleaning for health. Each staff member takes pride in knowing that their services contribute to the health and well-being of themselves, the environment and all customers.

The most important benefit to our frontline staff is that they are performing their work in a safe environment using products and procedures that minimize any harmful effects from chemicals.

We also hope that as UVA’s custodial staff demonstrate doing everything possible to support the health of our faculty, staff and students, they receive the professional recognition and respect that they deserve.

  • Custodial staff member at Bavaro Hall
  • Custodial staff member at Bavaro Hall

What’s next?

UVA Facilities Management Custodial Services will spend most of 2014 continuing to train all cleaning teams in all zones and assessing their proficiency through demonstrations, assessments and interviews.  It is our goal to have every frontline team member and supervisor certified in the science of green cleaning as measured by a 50-question certification assessment that we have designed as part of our GS-42 initiative.

This cleaning service meets Green Seal™ Standard GS-42 based on waste minimization, building-specific operational procedures, effective custodial training, and use of products with limits on human & environmental toxicity. GreenSeal.org.