by Kimberley Graham, Green Restoration Ambassador
There are many reasons why you may need restoration or a deep clean of a residential or commercial building. Perhaps your property has been damaged due to smoke or fire damage, water from a storm, hurricane, wind or a flood. There are also conditions which need to be attended to regularly, such as mold remediation, roof leak repair, or air quality enhancement services. Particularly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, clean ventilation systems are more important than ever to reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus.
Green restoration offers many benefits for health, efficiency and overall well-being for people and the planet. Most of the benefits stem from the use of environmentally-friendly products as well as attention to sustainable operations. This article will outline the benefits of environmentally friendly cleaning products as well as a few of the positive impacts of embedding sustainability into day-to-day operations.
Benefits of Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
The market is full of choices when it comes to cleaning products and antimicrobials and botanical products are on the rise. While natural and botanical based products offer many distinct advantages over traditional synthetic chemical cleaning products they are also a sustainable and risk mitigating cleaning option for every green restoration job. However, not all botanical products are created equal. It is important to check the label to make sure the product is an EPA Safer Choice, organic, Certified Green and/ GRAS Fifra 25B.
Using products that carries a recognised environmental labelling standard gives consumers and businesses confidence that the product performs well and contain ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment. There are currently more than 2,000 products that currently qualify to carry the EPA Safer Choice label which are safer for:
- You, your family, and pets;
- Workers’ health; and
- Fish and the environment.
The reason why environmentally friendly products are better for you, your family and the
environment are because most standards are placing restrictions on the pH levels and chemical content to ensure that the products minimize the potential for skin and eye irritation or injury. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are also restricted to minimize the indoor air pollution which is associated with respiratory concerns, such as asthma. There are also products available that are fragrance-free, for consumers who are sensitive to smell. All of these benefits do not come with any loss in cleaning quality, as on the contrary, certified cleaning products must perform comparably to conventional chemical cleaning products.
One product that is environmentally friendly and particularly effective in ventilation systems during winter is EnviroCon. With the lowest levels of toxicity EnviroCON also carries a certified safety rating from the EPA. The lowest EPA toxicity rating means there are no harmful dermal (skin), ocular (eyes), inhalation (breathing), or ingestion (swallowing) effects when using EnviroCON. It is also highly effective in eliminating odor-causing microorganisms as well as those associated with mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. With no damaging propellants or flammable ingredients, EnviroCON is also a high quality environmentally friendly product.
The Safer Choice label also requires companies to implement sustainable packaging measures and to improve the packaging profile on an ongoing basis for products that carry the label.
As Green Restoration companies are constantly on the move to service different clients and properties, one of the main ways to embed sustainability into operations is to ensure a green fleet of cars. When considering how to reduce vehicle emissions and increase fuel economy, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, it can be helpful to consider:
- Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV)
- Electric and Fuel Cell Vehicles
- Mild or Full Hybrid Vehicles
- Low emissions
- Reduce size of fleet, consider car sharing services, and think about your vehicle function and size requirements
In the New York TriState area there is a local biofuel project that recycles old cooking oil, saving it from going to waste while also reducing emissions. For example, biodiesel fuels can reduce CO2 emissions by over 78% compared to petroleum based fuels. This ensures that emissions remain low from car operations. Attention to idling time is also an important area for benefit to the environment and longevity of the vehicle, as idle time wastes fuel and increases engine wear. Small changes in idling time can lead to noticeable benefits, including fuel savings and a reduction in pollution, noise, and engine condition. Other ways to ensure a sustainable and green fleet include regular servicing and safety checks to keep vehicles operating in top condition and with maximum resource efficiency.