Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization which has developed cleaning industry standards for environmentally acceptable cleaning products, and processes for cleaning commercial, public and industrial buildings. These products contain no dyes, perfumes, or caustic chemicals and are completely biodegradable. Other organizations such as EcoLogo and CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) also provide environmentally preferable certifications for cleaning supplies and equipment. The change to green certified cleaning products and equipment was initially led by Residential Facilities which is responsible for maintaining campus residence halls. In the fall 2006, Residential Facilities changed all of their cleaning products to certified green products in all the residence halls.
On of October 8, 2012, the UMD Houskeeping Unit received the Green Seal Certification, indicating that its cleaning practices are among the healthiest and most sustainable in the industry.
In 2008, Facilities Management, responsible for cleaning many of the campus office, laboratory and academic buildings, significantly increased their use of certified green cleaning products and equipment. In addition to maintaining an inventory of CRI certified cleaning equipment; Facilities Management uses the following Green Seal products:
The days of whole carpets are over in the Residential Facilities. Whereas it used to be that an entire carpet was replaced for a single stain, carpets are now made of interlocking squares, often consisting of recycled fiber, which together make up an entire floor carpet. Now when there is a stubborn stain, only one piece of the carpet needs to be replaced, dramatically reducing the amount of waste generated.
Keeping with the idea of reducing waste by replacing a part instead of the whole, Residential Facilities reupholsters damaged furniture rather than buying completely new units. This process cuts down on waste and reduces the University’s consumption of wood since the frame of the furniture is reused.
Residential Facilities was the first university housekeeping program to achieve the Cleaning Industry Management Standards Green Buildings certification (also known as CIMS–GB) with Honors. CIMS is a designation awarded to organizations that demonstrate compliance with 100 percent of the International Sanitary Supply Association’s mandatory management requirements and at least 60 percent of recommended elements. "Honors" are conferred upon organizations achieving 85 percent or more of the recommended elements. The "GB" specification demonstrates that additional sustainability requirements have been met, corresponding with U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. Read more.