Sustainability Initiative  




Our Success Stories: Advances in Housekeeping


The green housekeeping policy of Aquinas College is a comprehensive program designed to reduce the exposure of building occupants to potentially hazardous chemical contaminants that adversely impact air quality, occupant well-being, and the environment.  Green cleaning is defined as products and services that reduce adverse health and environmental impacts compared to similar products and services used for the same purpose.  It is a holistic approach that includes all chemicals, equipment, work procedures, training, and communications.  Aquinas College is committed to working towards sustainable operations, and the green housekeeping program is one important part of our goal.  This housekeeping program applies to the campus of Aquinas College and impacts all buildings and grounds. 


There are certain characteristics of cleaning products we consider to be of utmost importance.  Green housekeeping for Aquinas College will include products that meet Green Seal (GS-37) guidelines. All products purchased will be biodegradable, non-toxic, concentrated, and work efficiently in cold water.

Download our Green Housekeeping Policy
Clean and Green
Implementation Status: Clean by Peroxy is the only "green" cleaning product currently used by the housekeeping department. However, Doug Greenslate is working hard to incorporate more sustainable cleaning products into the product lines used at Aquinas.

The housekeeping staff at Aquinas College is starting to run out of some of their cleaning chemicals.  Even though they have a large inventory of standard cleaning products to use up, housekeeping is using a general multi-surface cleaning solution known as "Clean by Peroxy." Clean by Peroxy uses environmentally friendly raw materials, and is Green Seal Certified.  It replaced 3M’s heavy duty multi-surface cleaner, which is mostly made up of 1-Methoxy 2- Propanol.  1-Methoxy 2- Propanol is a flammable liquid and vapor, that is harmful if inhaled, may affect the central nervous system, may be harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin, and causes irradiation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. For more information on 1-Methoxy 2- Propanol, click here.

Clean by Peroxy earned Green Seal Certification by having low amounts of human and water toxicity and smog production.  It is also an extremely versatile cleaner and therefore may replace many other (more harmful) chemicals in the future. Clean by Peroxy is a proprietary surfactant blend combined with hydrogen peroxide. This all-purpose cleaner is environmentally compatible and formulated to quickly remove everyday soils, including greasy residues. This product meets Green Seal’s environmental standard for industrial and institutional cleaners based on its reduced human and aquatic toxicity and reduced smog production potential.

This idea was originally a formal sustainability initiative proposal, submitted by Carol Parsaca, Veronnica Towne, and Sarah Koval on October 10, 2006. The idea was modified slightly to include Spartan rather than BioSolutions, but is currently being implemented by the Housekeeping Department. It was not necessary for the idea to traverse the entire process because of departmental cooperation.

>>Download (pdf) the original proposal*
Rolling in the Green: AQ’s New Paper Towel Dispensers

Aquinas’ Housekeeping Department installed new paper towel dispensers during the remodeling of every bathroom on campus. The new “controlled-use" dispensers have two major advantages. According to the manufacturer, they typically reduce paper towel use by 15-20%. The dispensers also reduce the spread of germs, due to the "touch less" design of the unit.

Not only is the new dispensing system notable, but the Bay West paper purchased for the units also has some green credentials. The “Ecosoft” paper contains 100% recycled content (40% post-consumer and 60% post-industrial), and it is Green Seal certified. The paper towel retrofit is another example of Aquinas "walking the talk" of sustainability in our purchasing decisions.

*Note: These links are only accessible from the Aquinas computer network and AQNet.