sustainable industries

Eco-Innovation in Action: Transforming Schools into Green Havens

National Building Museum Unveils Groundbreaking Exhibition on American Schools’ Sustainability

This spring, the National Building Museum takes a pioneering step by launching the first-ever museum exhibition dedicated to the eco-transformation of American schools. Showcasing over 40 outstanding projects, ranging from new constructions to rehabilitations and modular classrooms, the exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of green school design in the United States. Through a captivating display of sample building materials, photographs, videos, and eco-friendly products, the exhibition delves into the diverse facets of green schools. From architectural form and physical systems to the profound impact on the health and well-being of occupants, “Green Schools” promises a revelatory experience. The exhibition will remain open until January 5, 2014, inviting visitors to explore the innovative realm of sustainable education. Plan your visit at National Building Museum.

In tandem with the “Green Schools” exhibition, Sarah Leavitt, curator at the National Building Museum, engages in insightful interviews with the individuals shaping the green revolution within schools. Jeff Hawkins, the Director of Custodial Services for the Provo City School District in Provo, Utah, shares his award-winning journey at Dixon Middle School. Hawkins and his team recently secured the prestigious Best Cleaning Industry Environmental Program Award.

Interview with Jeff Hawkins: Pioneering Green Custodial Practices

Sarah Leavitt (SL): Jeff, can you provide insights into the genesis of revamping cleaning procedures at Dixon Middle School? What sparked this initiative?

Jeff Hawkins (JH): In 2010, I was heading the custodial department at an elementary school when our facilities director proposed overhauling our cleaning procedures. The challenge began with Dixon Middle School, an 80-year-old building, possibly the oldest and dirtiest in our district.

SL: Could you elaborate on the personnel training process?

JH: We hired new custodians and conducted intensive training. Implementing a color-coded product grouping, a revamped inventory system, and an efficient product ordering system were key changes.

SL: What were the notable changes introduced with the new cleaning program?

JH: Our program utilizes PortionPac cleaning chemicals, featuring color-coded identification for easy use. These highly concentrated, pre-measured chemicals eliminate waste. Additionally, we adopted GS-37 Green Seal Certified cleaning chemicals, and our disinfectant is EPA registered. Upgrades include Wausau’s Optisource hand washing soap, Unger two-chamber mop buckets, and ProTeam SuperCoach Backpack Vacuums, which significantly reduce dust and enhance indoor air quality.

SL: How extensive is the implementation of this initiative across the school?

JH: We organized a town-hall style meeting to educate staff, stakeholders, and the public about the changes. It was essential to ensure everyone was on board with the new custodial program.

SL: Is the project complete, or do you foresee further evolution?

JH: The implementation of the (OS1) program introduced vital tracking mechanisms to our cleaning program, such as chemical usage, employee training, and occupant feedback. This ongoing initiative allows us to continually assess our strengths and areas for improvement. Display boards educating students and the public about our cleaning efforts further enhance transparency.

Embark on the journey of sustainable schools, where innovation meets education, and join the conversation at CommonShare: Fostering Sustainable Communities Together.

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