Green cleaning and the coronavirus

If your cleaning teams use bleach to disinfect buildings from Coronavirus, will you put your LEED certification at risk?

April 01, 2020 |
Abundance: The Paladino Blog

First: a note about your cleanser – Hydrogen Peroxide kills corona and is more environmentally friendly than bleach. Consider using hydrogen peroxide, if it’s an option. But if you must use bleach, here are the implications for your LEED certification:

We are not aware of any official ruling about a pandemic, but we also don’t think you should be concerned that using bleach during the national emergency will threaten your LEED certification. Here’s why:

If your properties are certified as LEED for New Construction, the certifications are based on how the buildings were designed and constructed, not operated. In this case, your certification will not be at risk if you use bleach to disinfect.

If your properties are certified as LEED for Existing Buildings and you want to continue using the traditional EB O&M path, it matters if you use non-green cleaners somewhat. Only 75% of your cleaning materials, by cost, need to meet LEED requirements. Temporarily using bleach is unlikely to put your LEED certification at risk if you use greener products most of the time. We also suspect (but can’t confirm) that even if you fall a little short of 75%, that GBCI would be lenient here.

If you’re using Arc to recertify your LEED O+M buildings, then you will only use the five performance-based categories, which do not include tracking your cleaning product purchases. In this case, using non-green cleaners will not put your LEED certification at risk.

Bottom line: Do what you need to do to disinfect your spaces. Your LEED certification should be fine.

The EPA has released a list of cleaners that kill coronavirus, and some are greener than others – if possible, go as green as possible while prioritizing safety. “Using the correct disinfectant is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses along with other critical aspects such as hand washing,” EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a news release.

The full list is here. Hydrogen Peroxide kills corona and is more environmentally friendly than bleach. Consider using hydrogen peroxide, if it’s an option.

We hope this helps! Let us know if you have any questions. And in the meantime, keep practicing social distancing, and let’s work together to #flattenthecurve.

Abundance: The Paladino Blog

Paladino and Company is a sustainability consulting firm that works with organizations seeking to make a difference through their buildings and people. Abundance, written by our team of architects, engineers, building scientists, commissioning agents and business analysts, reflects our rigorous business and building technical analysis centered on the concept of abundance as a driving force for change.  Our consultants offer insights, expertise and vision on sustainability and how to realize its business value. For more, visit http://www.paladinoandco.com/blog/.

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