Building Skills Partnership

Green Janitor Education Program

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In partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA), the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Los Angeles (BOMA-GLA), and Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-United Service Workers West, BSP has developed the Green Janitor Education Program.  The program is a qualified USGBC program through which janitors are accredited. It provides hands-on energy management and green cleaning training to address Operations and Maintenance (O+M) practices that enable buildings to meet green performance standards, with special focus on resulting energy efficiency. The program addresses energy efficiency, recycling, waste management, water conservation and other sustainable and green cleaning practices.

Through this program, janitors are earning a seat at the sustainability table alongside building owners and managers, empowering them to actively participate in the goals of the LEED Rating System, with emphasis on energy efficiency and building health. LEED-certified existing buildings require green maintenance and operations practices. Prior to this program, the janitors, who are at the forefront of building operations, didn’t necessarily understand why certain sustainable procedures or materials were required, or the kind of impact they, as janitors, could have on energy reduction and water consumption—and ultimately, human health—through their work. The program is also an example of social equity where everyone participates in management and maintenance of a building.

Now in its third year the program has been incorporated into the Los Angeles Mayor’s Sustainability plan (pg. 26) and has been implemented at various sites across the State of California. With over 500 janitors certified in Los Angeles County alone, it is becoming evident that certified green janitors are one of the keys needed to realizing a building’s efficiency goals. While automated software systems help monitor, track, and adjust a building’s performance, janitors can bridge the gap that exists between sustainability strategy and execution. Janitors are the best positioned to address the energy, water, and waste inefficiencies taking place in our existing buildings where expenses related to systems upgrades may be prohibitive. Business adapting this program also see unintended benefits in their team dynamic since workforce development investments of this nature upgrade your workforce for a 21st century economy.

Our conversations with property management companies and site supervisors point to benefits that range from healthier workplaces, improved operations and maintenance (O+M) team dynamics, and energy cost savings. We have seen in-house savings estimates marked at 5% due to implementation of the program. The savings come from janitors having a strong understanding of why there is need to go green, how to do it, and increased compliance of established sustainability goals. The Green Janitor Education program is currently available only to buildings and janitorial contractors with workers covered under collective bargaining agreements with SEIU-United Services Workers West.

To learn more about the GJEP, contact Daniel Paredes at daniel@buildingskills.org, (213) 284-7718.

Read the Green Janitor Education Program’s first report.