Collaborating to invent sustainable solutions.
UO Campus Operations, tasked with cleaning and maintaining academic buildings on campus, have a long history of using green cleaning supplies to create a safer working environment. Under the leadership of Service Manager Jerry Dominy, the unit requested a more formal analysis in order to document their efforts for LEED certification. The LEED Green Building rating system for Existing Buildings uses a set of performance standards to certify the sustainability of ongoing operations and maintenance of existing buildings, and to reduce to the environmental impact of a building over its functional cycle.
Chemistry graduate students Eric Abbey, Rick Glover and Ed Elliott reviewed the chemical composition of many cleaning products and identified products that are green, non-toxic, or semi-toxic. They also identified ways to mitigate exposure and toxicity to Campus Operations workers and facility users. They are using this information to draft a Green Cleaning Policy in compliance with LEED recommendations. They are also developing a chemicals management policy for existing procedures. This policy, which evaluates the sourcing, storage, application and disposal of chemicals, will be used to apply for LEED Green Cleaning credits in existing buildings.
Architecture graduate student Sherri Brown, with the University of Oregon Campus Planning, is working with the team on a project to extend the methods and guidelines used in existing buildings to new construction on campus. This will help the university achieve its goal to have all new construction on campus LEED-gold certified. The maturation of this project exemplifies a successful interdisciplinary approach and successful translation of theory to practice with students, faculty, and staff all working toward making the University of Oregon a safer, greener campus.