“Green” cleaning and leasing

Week 8 Lecture on 13/9/16

“Green” cleaning: products and practices; operational waste management by Fiona Martin

“Green” leasing: mutual obligations and benefits, fit- outs and equipment selection by Paul Osmond

Green Cleaning – Separating the reason from the rhetoric

Why do we clean?

  • health and hygiene
  • aesthetics
  • maintain longevity of fittings, fixtures and equipment

Cleaning is the removal of contaminants, which may include moisture or pest control. It is done through the combination of energy and cleaning agents.

Problems with conventional cleaning:

  • respiratory actions
  • reproductive health problems
  • cancer
  • skin and eye irritation
  • environmental harm from use or disposal

Language and literacy issues which are common in this industry can also increase risk to workers. Cleaning products can contribute to poor indoor air quality, reducing productivity.

Why green clean?

Cleaning to protect health without harming the environment. Avoiding chemically reactive and toxic ingredients.

Green Cleaning Strategies

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Chemical Storage and Dispensing

  • Apart from reducing unnecessary over-consumption, correct dilution is important for a range of reasons including:
    • Residual chemicals on floors can cause slip hazards
    • Residual chemicals attract dirt and can leave surfaces dull, sticky or smeary
    • Strong dilutions are a health hazard or may damage surfaces
    • As an efficiency practice it can reduce chemical use, packaging, transportation and costs
    • Reduce the risk of chemical exposure and accidents
  • Appropriate storage is important to minimise risk of spills and leaks, avoid manual handling injuries and facilitate operations

Good Hygiene Practices

  • Reduces risks of cross- contamination
  • Colour coding of cleaning cloths and mops/buckets
  • Separating soiled and clean cloths during use
  • Cloths appropriately laundered, dried and maintained
  • Microfibre cloths are of sufficient quality to ensure performance
  • Equipment adequately maintained eg vacuum cleaner filters

Barriers to Green Cleaning

  • Perceptions of ineffectiveness from both the industry and customers
  • Not always evidence-based – risks of ‘greenwash’
  • Inertia to change generally
  • Relatively low levels of education within the industry
  • Language and literacy issues for many cleaners

Making green cleaning work in practice

At the strategic level, an ISO 14001-aligned framework is helpful:

  • Policy – high level statement of intent e.g (From ISO14001)

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  • Planning – understanding risks/opportunities; understanding legal issues; setting objectives and targets, developing plans and programs
  • Implementation – ensuring adequate resources, defining roles and responsibilities, providing training and ensuring competency, communicating (internally and externally), documenting requirements (procedures etc), ensuring operational control, considering emergency situations
  • Checking and corrective action – monitoring, reviewing compliance, implementing a corrective and preventive action system, internal audits
  • Management review – a high level overview of the effectiveness and adequacy of the system with required adjustments made

Lecture 2: Green Leasing – Paul Osmond

Conventional landlord-tenant relationship largely neglects sustainability considerations.

Green leases provide a contractual framework to enable:

  • Improved environmental performance AND
  • Greater occupant satisfaction AND
  • Reduction of building running costs over time

“In many cases, the benefits from the operational energy reductions achieved with new developments will not even compensate for the embodied energy involved in their construction…”

-(Roussac et al, 2008).

What’s the problem?

  • Environmental performance of a building is determined both by the asset, and by occupier behaviour and culture
  • Poor management and operation can double the energy consumption of an otherwise “green” building
  • The “standard” commercial lease institutionalises “standard” practice, and represents a barrier to improved environmental performance for both landlord and tenant
  • Landlords do not fully control the properties they own
  • Control is shared with tenants
  • Owners give up most of the control during the lease period over how the property is used and managed
  • “Split incentive” problem: the economic benefits of environmental initiatives do not accrue to the person or organisation taking the initiative…
    • Where the tenant pays the utility bills, the landlord has little incentive to make energy/water efficiency improvements;
    • Where the landlord pays the bills, the tenant has little incentive to conserve energy or water.

“One example of the business benefits to tenants is that for each one star improvement in a tenancy NABERS Energy rating, tenants will save about $3.70 per square metre in annual energy costs”

-(Roussac et al, 2008).


Standard leases impose no legal duty for landlord to limit the quantum of such outgoings (“split incentive”).

“It doesn’t matter how keen landlords and tenants are on sustainable buildings if lawyers and agents are primarily focused on getting a deal done.”

-Craig Roussac, quoted in The Tenants’ and Landlords’ Guide to Happiness:

  • Chapter 1 – introduction, overcoming resistance to best practice leasing
  • Chapter 2 – lease renegotiation: stay or go?
  • Chapter 3 – getting together
  • Chapter 4 – heads of agreement, legal aspects
  • Chapter 5 – the model lease
  • Chapter 6 – tenancy design and fitout
  • Chapter 7 – material change: re-fits, reuse, recycling

The GLS (Green Lease Schedule) has five key elements to ensure uniformity, consistency and to minimise the need for legal advice on individual lease agreements. These are:

  • 4.5 stars NABERS Energy for Base Building (where applicable) and Tenancy.
  • Separate metering
  • A building management committee
  • An energy management plan
  • Disputes and remedies clauses


Investa Green Lease Guide: owner’s commitments

  • Comfortable, productive & healthy indoor environment
  • Low energy use & greenhouse gas emissions
  • Sustainable & healthy transport options
  • Low potable water use
  • Recycling of office waste
  • Cleaning services
  • Building management & tenant support

IvestaGreen Lease Guide

Let’s end this circle of blame; intervening can begin with green leasing:

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Government resources: Policies and guidelines

Further Resources

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