People-Planet Connection

Healthy Schools 101: Why our kids need healthier facilities

By Claire Barnett, Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network I am the founder and executive director of a national nonprofit dedicated to reversing the many threats that unhealthy schools pose to children’s health and learning. I’m also a parent. In fact, my organization’s roots lie in a shattering family experience: my younger son was poisoned by pesticides repeatedly applied at school. My son is grown now, with children of his own. But I vividly remember the sheer panic, then the anger and tears of frustration, and a new felt commitment to root reforms for children, as I learned how common environmental hazards were at all schools.

Safer, Healthier Facilities

Green Cleaning Your Way to LEED and Beyond

By Marion Stecklow, Executive Director of the Building Wellness Institute Much attention is focused on energy savings in buildings when attempting to achieve sustainability. That is a good thing! LEED certification is certainly the most significant, motivating factor in creating and maintaining sustainable buildings. Although the ROI (Return on Investment) for building or renovating and maintaining a property to LEED standards is significant, the initial investment can be daunting. Nevertheless, the growing market demand and government regulations, coupled with significant energy costs savings, are inspiring building owners to obtain LEED certification for their properties, or at least follow the standards.

Safer, Healthier Facilities

GS-42: LCA-based standard or academic overachiever?

By Kat Danaher, Executive Assistant to the CEO   Green Seal’s standard for Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services (known to its friends as GS-42*) has come a long way since its launch on an early fall day in 2006. Just six certifications were awarded in the first two years, but by the time it was celebrating its fourth anniversary, that number had soared to fifty-eight. This plucky, ambitious standard was not satisfied to rest on its laurels, however… It yearned for more.

Safer, Healthier Facilities

Dishwasher Dilemmas

By Daniel Pedersen, Ph.D., Director of Science & Standards Which Dishwashers and Washers Are  Better: High Heat or Low Temperature ? A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Cerise Bridges, our Certification Specialist, who conducts certification reviews for service providers: hotels and cleaning companies. She makes sure that our certified service providers meet the requirements in our standards, but she also hears from clients about the challenges they face. This email posed a question that often comes up from Green Seal-certified hotels, because our standard, GS-33, does not address this issue directly: “Low temp laundry and dishwasher systems vs. high temp systems. With the low temp systems hotels can save energy and water but health codes will usually require them to use a sanitizer or chlorine bleach. The high temp systems use more energy and water but bleach is not required. Hotels are conflicted and ask which is…