Maintenance Specialists vs. Cleaning Generalists: Why Specialists Make More Business Sense

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Mop Bucket

As the manager of a facility, it’s up to you to determine how your facility is maintained in terms of many different components. These components range from basic upkeep and repair to maintaining assets and developing preventative maintenance processes.

Because maintenance is so instrumental to your facility, it’s crucial that you select the right people to keep the building maintained properly in order to reduce drastic replacement and repair costs in the future.

So what’s the difference between a maintenance specialist and a cleaning generalist? One of the main differences could be your bottom line. According to an article by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), the difference can also help you to maintain a positive image for your business.

Understanding Cleaning Generalists

You may hire a janitorial company, or several different companies, that specializes in cleaning various areas of a building. In doing so, you’ll receive the same set of services that they provide any business that hires them. Your facility will then be maintained the same way as any other building without any special attention to your unique needs.

For example, while you may have your set cleaning company doing general maintenance and upkeep, you’ll also call in a carpet cleaner every so often when you begin to notice that the floor looks dirty.

Cleaning generalists stick to a standard checklist and address cleaning the same way each time.

Understanding Maintenance Specialists

Maintenance specialists, on the other hand, use a little more thought when it comes to your overall maintenance strategy. The IFMA states that “maintenance specialists are true experts that focus on specific areas of your space – carpet, textiles, hard surfaces, etc. These are partners that consider the unique needs of your business and proactively look for ways to improve your building’s appearance and extend the life of your assets.”

This means that you may choose a carpet care specialist to work with rather than having a cleaning generalist and hiring a carpet cleaner every now and then. This carpet care specialist will offer maintenance solutions for your floor’s appearance and to extend the life of your carpet.

Making the Right Choice for Your Facility

Deciding between cleaning generalists and maintenance specialists comes down to your facility’s needs, and you’ll need to consider the long-term investment of your facility, which many managers seem to overlook. It’s common to be worried about initial costs, but while you may be choosing the less expensive route to begin with, it could add up over time and end up being costlier.

Looking beyond the initial purchase can have a drastic impact on your facility, whether it’s maintenance costs like in this case or products. When making your decision, think about the long-term costs and savings of each option.

If you need quality, sustainable products for your facility, click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.

Are Your Building and Staff Fully Prepared for Emergencies?

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Emergency Evacuation Plan

One of the main responsibilities of a facility manager and his or her team is making sure that the building and staff are completely prepared for emergencies. While you always hope that you won’t run into any unforeseen issues that cause an emergency, the truth is that they do happen.

To eliminate the drastic effects of an emergency and minimize the fallout, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. It’s the facility manager’s job to protect the facility, the staff, and all those involved in the case of an emergency and to make sure that the business is up and running smoothly as soon as possible.

Learn more about how to prepare your building and staff for emergencies and how to deal with unfortunate events.

Know Your Building

When disaster strikes, it’s important to know the ins and outs of your building. In an emergency situation, this can drastically change the outcome. Understand the layout of the building, know where drains are and where fire extinguishers are kept, and make sure that everyone is aware of emergency exit locations. Be aware of sprinkler systems as well as valves and know how to turn them off if necessary.

Being aware of your building can help you in an emergency situation, but remaining calm is another key factor to properly handling it. If you’re calm during an emergency, you’ll be able to act quickly in order to save others from danger. For example, you may remember where the building’s valve shutoffs are located, so in the event of a flood, you’ll just need to navigate your way to them.

Create a Plan

It’s always necessary to have an emergency plan for your facility. Gather your team to create a detailed plan for many different scenarios. According to Facilities.net, you should break up the scenarios into two categories: accidental and purposeful. “Accidental includes incidents like fires, chemical spills or natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, etc.). Purposeful incidents include man-made emergencies, such as terrorism, workplace violence or assaults. If an organization has an emergency plan, chances are it will cover the accidental side of things and leave the purposeful man-made emergencies lacking. That’s because while facility managers are well aware of the risk of fires or storms, incidents like active shooters or workplace violence seem more far-fetched.”

Keep Your Plan Updated

Having several emergencies plans will go a long way, but for these plans to be the most effective, they’ll need to constantly be updated as the building and people within the facility change.

Emergency plans should be reviewed at least on an annual basis, and some codes and regulations even require them to be updated even more frequently. Make sure that everyone has access to these plans so they can easily be updated to reflect changes.

Make sure that your building and staff are fully prepared for emergencies by remembering these three main tips. Being prepared can make all the difference in these types of situations.

Building an Energy Management Strategy That Works

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Enegry Management

When you’re creating a plan for your building or facility, energy management is one of the most crucial elements. It’s important for you to keep energy low for cost-effectiveness and to adhere to the many requirements put in place by the government. The only way you’ll be able to successfully minimize energy costs and make sure that you stick to these standards is by developing a sound strategy.

Keep reading to find out how to build an energy management strategy that works.

The International Facility Management Association has developed a sound strategy that facility managers should adhere to when developing their own energy management plan. This strategy involves five key phases: planning, installation, operation, optimization, and renewal.

Consider Your Options

When you begin to develop your plan, consider the options that you have so you can create the best plan possible. To do so, gather a committee of facility operators and employees that each contributes to the plan with new perspectives and ideas that fit the organization’s objectives.

Make sure to schedule consistent brainstorming meetings where each person gets to express their own ideas, then continue to create different parts of the plan until you have a solid strategy in place.

Determine Installation and Suppliers

Once you’ve created your plan, the facility managers and other executives will want to negotiate terms with suppliers in order to be the most cost-effective and get the most for their investment. Energy prices are constantly fluctuating, and the cost of energy can drastically impact the facility’s profits based on this step of the planning process.

Energy Operations and Maintenance

As a facility operates and maintains energy management systems while controlling costs, the facility managers must be able to accurately measure their energy and resource consumption. This allows them to stay on track and determine if they’re meeting their goals or to understand where they’re going outside the plan.

In some cases, facility managers look into energy consumption devices to allow them to better determine where energy can be reduced.

Optimization

In the same way that it’s important to measure the amount of energy that’s consumed, it’s also crucial for facility managers to execute targeted efficiency projects with demonstrable ROI in order for the energy management strategy to be effective. By optimizing energy and resource consumption, organizations help to reduce costs, improve processes, and meet sustainability goals.

Renewing the Strategy

Facility managers must analyze the performance of their strategy and determine if it’s working with reporting capabilities. The key to an energy management strategy is being able to report progress, so an analysis of the performance and determining whether goals have been met is crucial to the process.

If goals aren’t reached and progress isn’t made, it’s up to the facility managers to determine what isn’t working and where the strategy can be improved.

Keep these tips in mind when developing your energy management strategy. If you need durable, sustainable products for your new facility, click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.

What Is the Living Building Challenge?

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Building Plans
About the Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge “calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture.”

Those who take the Living Building Challenge must ensure that building projects meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months.

Performance Areas

The Challenge is made up of seven performance areas that are referred to as “petals”: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. Each petal is divided again into 20 imperatives that focus on a specific sphere of influence.

Certification

Building projects are eligible for three types of certification: Living Building Certification, Petal Certification, or Net Zero Energy Building Certification. Each project path adheres to three different steps: Registration, Documentation + Operation. and Audit + Certification.

  • Registration: When registering, the team will outline the project details, including the Typology (renovation, infrastructure + landscape, building, community) and Transect (natural habitat preserve, rural agriculture zone, village or campus zone, general urban zone, urban center zone, urban core zone). The team members join the Living Building Challenge Community, which gives them access to resources within the challenge.
  • Documentation + Operation: A team can begin submitted documentation regarding their project after the registration process has been completed. The documentation process continues throughout construction and the operational phase, which is 12 consecutive months of operation. During this time, project performance data is recorded. Once the operational phase is complete, teams can submit their data to be audited.
  • Audit + Certification: The institute first must verify that the team has submitted all necessary documentation. An independent auditor will then perform a review of the documentation and conduct a site visit. The auditor creates a final report, which is reviewed by the institute. The institute then notifies the team of the results and certifies the project, if appropriate.

Red List Building Materials

Red List materials contain harmful components that affect living creatures and the environment.

A Living Building Challenge Red List contains materials used in construction that don’t meet the challenge’s criteria. According to the International Living Future Institute, the list is made up of materials that should be phased out of production because of health concerns. It’s continuously updated as new items emerge. The list includes both chemicals and chemical groups. This Red List falls under the Materials petal of the Living Building Challenge.

The Living Building Challenge “is a tool for regenerative design. It is not a net neutral program; it most decidedly is about creating a pathway and vision for a truly sustainable, regenerative living future. Nature doesn’t do zero—it is net positive in energy, food and flows.”

Scranton Products believes in equipping your facility with sustainable products to reduce harmful emissions. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.

The Advantages of Keeping Building Energy Performance on Your Radar

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Light bulbs In a recent article regarding building energy performance policy, The Institute for Market Transformation revealed that “the building sector is the single largest user of energy in the United States, accounting for roughly 40 percent of total energy consumption, more than industry or transportation.” This article also stated that the US spends over $400 billion on energy for our buildings. Most buildings use much more energy than is necessary, which is largely due in part by the fact that buildings were constructed before energy codes were in place. However, the owners of these buildings need to upgrade their buildings to be more sustainable. Many are misinformed or don’t have the financial incentives to upgrade, but by raising awareness about this matter, we can save money for both consumers and businesses. In addition, we can see fuel economic growth, while also reducing carbon pollution for a healthier environment. Understanding your building’s energy performance and keeping it on your radar will provide a multitude of benefits. Find out how benchmarking can help your building stay aligned with energy use and cost-effective operations.

Why should I use benchmarks?

  • Energy benchmarking measures your building’s energy use over time so you can be aware of its energy performance and identify areas to eliminate the energy being wasted. You can also compare your own energy usage to that of other buildings’ to get a better read of where you can be more energy efficient.
  • By sharing this information with your city or state, policymakers can analyze the data and determine whether the intended results were achieved. From there, they’ll be able to use resources more appropriately and develop infrastructure plans accordingly.
  • Being transparent with your benchmarking data allows stakeholders on a larger scale work together to achieve a common goal. Others will recognize the effort and understand the importance, which can in turn prompt action on their part.

How can benchmarking help energy efficiency?

As buildings release information about their energy use on a large scale, building owners can stay competitive with each other to be the most energy-efficient.

  • Energy and cost savings: Energy waste is draining millions of the economy’s dollars. Benchmarking can lead to implementing cost effective measures to reduce this spending.
  • Job creation and economic growth: According to the Institute for Market Transformation, 77% of Philadelphia’s commercial building need upgrades, which would generate more than $600 million in local spending, while also supporting 23,000 jobs.
  • Improving utilities: Determining what utilities need to be improved in order to be more energy efficient will raise the performance of all buildings.

Energy benchmarking offers a range of benefits that are crucial for building owners, consumers, and the environment overall. Scranton Products utilizes High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) for all of their products. This material reduces environmental impact and offers both initial and long-term improvements to the indoor air quality of your projects. Click here to find out where you can buy Scranton Products.





Sustainable Building Products




Harnessing the Power of Deep Energy Retrofits in Your Building Projects

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Enegry Efficiency As energy efficiency continues to gain more attention and the energy efficiency retrofit market develops, the benefits to architects continue to improve. According to The American Institute of Architects, building operations account for more than 75% of all electric use, and buildings are responsible for more than 40% of all U.S. carbon emissions. Because this is such a large percentage, the U.S. can’t address the energy and climate challenge without altering the way our buildings are designed and operated. American businesses are improving their operating conditions with plans to upgrade energy efficiency in their building. While this is a start, it’s more important that building owners see energy efficiency as a core business priority. But to do this, they must fully understand the benefits that it offers.

What is deep energy retrofitting?

A deep energy retrofit is a process that is performed in order to achieve large energy savings than conventional retrofits. For example: creating energy efficiency in most buildings is achieved by upgrading old systems with newer, more efficient technology. This is a standard retrofit, but it’s limited. It could prevent a building from even more efficient technologies with even greater savings. Designing a new approach for higher energy savings is called deep energy retrofits and aims for a savings of 50%. Deep energy retrofits are effective in cutting energy use, saving building owners money, and providing business for architects.

What are the existing trends used to improve energy efficiency?

Why should architects take advantage of this opportunity in the market? The energy efficiency market is a growth opportunity for architects. The architect community has engaged in multiple efforts to reduce energy waste by incorporating more energy efficient building design and construction. Deep energy retrofits reduce energy waste for a more sustainable environment, save building owners money to possibly create more construction for the economy, and can also be a source of business for architects. Other incentives for considering energy retrofitting include long term savings for building owners, the economical demand for energy efficient buildings, as well as incentives from the financial community.

What are some examples of sustainable products used in construction?

When designing and constructing a building, the products that you install into a facility are important. You want to make sure that you’re not adding products that are made up of harmful material that could be hazardous to a person’s health. Scranton Products bathroom partitions, lockers, showers and dressing compartments, and vanities are made up of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). This material reduces environmental impact and offers both initial and long-term improvements to the indoor air quality of your projects. Made from recycled materials, HDPE plastic resists mold and mildew for improved air quality and is one solid color throughout, so you’ll never have to deal with harmful emissions from paint. Be sure to take these ideas into consideration as an architect for a more sustainable environment. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.





Sustainable Building Products




How the 4 Phases of Emergency Management Should Guide Education Building Plans

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Duralife Locker - Blue

When you build your school’s facility, it’s crucial to focus on emergency management, for the safety of the students who walk through the doors every day. Nobody likes the thought of an emergency taking place in a school, but it’s important to consider. You have to be as prepared as possible in order to take the right actions should an emergency occur. Emergency management should be at the forefront of your education building plans. The US Department of Education has broken emergency management in schools down into four separate parts. Learn more about what you can do to make sure you’re ready.

  • Prevention-Mitigation: When creating the school, utilizing strategic design techniques can prevent or reduce damage. This can include making it more difficult for intruders to enter, or designing structures that can’t be damaged by the elements of weather.
  • Preparedness: Safety features are necessary when building a school, such as a school-wide communication system. This can alert the school, faculty and students of an emergency and allow everyone to act accordingly.
  • Response: This includes accessible floor plans that can make it easier for emergency responders to navigate the school site and reach people or areas in need. It can be difficult to figure out the layout of a building, especially one that’s large with reoccurring hallways. This could save a lot of time, as well.
  • Recovery: In the event that there is an incident, the school must remodel and adapt in a way that addresses the issue and ensures that the same problem will not occur again.

Planning for Safe Products

Another way to ensure that your school is safe is to utilize safe products and materials throughout the facility. Learn more about what types of products will be safe for your students. HDPE Plastic: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) reduces environmental impact and also offers initial and long-term improvements to the indoor air quality of your products.Materials in your facilities can also be damaging to your respiratory system and cause even more health problems in the long run, especially in young children. Choosing eco-friendly, sustainable products will improve the air quality rather than polluting it like other materials. HDPE plastic is also resistant to bacteria and mold growth which can be harmful to students’ health as well. HDPE exhibited no microbial growth during a 21 day testing period. Solid HDPE plastic materials do not absorb moisture, making them resistant to mold and mildew. The surface is non-porous so the growth of mildew cannot be supported. HDPE plastic partitions are also fully power washable and steam cleanable, so you can wash them without the need for harmful chemical cleaners. In addition, HDPE plastic materials are one solid colored material throughout. This means you don’t have to worry about painting. Your HDPE products deliver no VOC emission and are GREENGUARD GOLD During the construction process, make sure that safety is accounted for. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products for a safer school.










How to Fully Embrace LEED Standards in Your Building Concepts and Designs

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When designing and building a new facility or upgrading one, taking advantage of new concepts and designs will lead to more comfort for your patrons and a facility that doesn’t negatively impact the world around you.

Certain products and materials that you use to build your facility can have a significantly negative or a significantly positive impact on the world you live in, and you want to be sure that you know which way your building concepts and designs will lead. However, you can be certain of this when you get LEED certification for your facility, and we’re here to show you how.

What Is LEED Certification?

LEED certification for your facility’s restroom or locker room ensures that the products and building concepts you choose live up to beneficial environmental standards. For example, LEED certification makes note of using sustainable building materials that reduce waste because they’re created with recycled materials and can be recycled as well. LEED certification also promotes water efficiency, good air quality, construction approaches, and sites that are sustainable and don’t negatively impact the ecosystem.

Why Do I Need LEED Certification for My Buildings?

When you embrace the requirements of LEED certification, you work to promote a more environmentally friendly facility. Each step you take toward a more sustainable facility, the more points you’ll receive towards LEED certification. And if you receive said certification, your facility will be recognized as clean, environmentally friendly, and sanitary.

Certification from LEED is globally viewed as the premier mark of achievement for a sustainable building, which goes a long way for your business with customers.

How Can Scranton Products Help My LEED Score?

Many times green opportunities can be missed when designing your facility. A majority of the facility managers working to create an environmentally friendly building only focus on reducing the amount of water, energy, or heat produced by the facility.

While this is a deserving focus, spending all of your efforts on those elements makes it easier to miss out on some green opportunities that you’ll need to increase your LEED score so it can be considered certifiable.

Scranton Products can help your facility or business become LEED certified by working with you to incorporate environmentally friendly materials into your restrooms or locker rooms. Whether it’s new lockers, bathroom partitions, or sink vanities, our HDPE plastic materials tend to fly under the radar as a green opportunity but support a healthier environment and help to reduce the total amount of industrial waste.

HDPE materials from Scranton Products are made from post-consumer recycled content and are 100% recyclable on their own. By using these materials in your building concepts and designs, you’ll be that much closer to receiving LEED certification and being recognized by a leading environmental company as having a green building.

You can find out where you can purchase Scranton Product materials near you.


Sustainable Building Products




The Environmentally Friendly Secret Weapon Every Building Should Have

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When designing or remodeling a building, facility owners are faced with many challenges. The two most common needs for a building concept are aesthetically pleasing designs and durable features, but a commonly forgotten yet important aspect is a strong environmental impact. But how can you build a facility and incorporate sustainable materials at the same time?

While unknown by many building owners or facility managers, there’s an environmentally friendly secret weapon that every building should have. You can read on to learn about the sustainable benefits of HDPE plastic materials.

Recyclable

The recycling loop works at its highest level when buildings purchase materials made from post-consumer recycled products but are also recyclable so they can be disposed of in an efficient manner. This process helps to reduce industrial waste, but not all facility and building materials are able to contribute.

HDPE plastic materials are available with up to 100% post-consumer products in order to provide facility managers with the ability to support the recycling loop. And with 100% recycling material, you can dispose of these products in an environmentally friendly way when you’re remodeling or renovating. HDPE secretly provides this added sustainability while other common building materials, such as phenolic or solid color reinforced composite, do not.

Non-Chemical Dependent

Many facility owners constantly experience a need for expensive chemical cleaners in order to efficiently clean their building materials. This is especially common in restrooms, where germs are frequent. However, these harmful cleaners usually have concerns surrounding their production and impact on indoor air quality.

Thankfully, if you choose materials made of HDPE plastic, you won’t need to worry about these harmful chemicals. HDPE plastic can be power washed or steam cleaned. And since it’s built with a solid color throughout and scratch resistant, facility owners won’t have to reapply chemically infused paints to cover up fading or marks.

Free of Urea-Formaldehyde Resins

While you may not be able to see them, many facility and building products have added urea-formaldehyde resins worked into them. While used to increase durability, this type of resin can be harmful for the air around your building. Your patrons will be in jeopardy of moderate to severe allergic reactions that could result in anything from a runny nose to difficulty breathing.

While HDPE plastic helps to improve and maintain an environmentally friendly and healthy air quality level by staying free of added urea-formaldehyde resins, other building and facility materials, such as phenolic, do not.

HDPE is an environmentally friendly secret weapon that every building should have. Not only is the material customizable for design and durability, but it also features a number of sustainable benefits that facility managers have the opportunity to take advantage of.

Scranton Products features a number of HDPE plastic materials near you that you can add into your building. You can also take a look at our continuing education courses to learn more about the beneficial environmental impact of HDPE.

5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Contractor for Your Building Project

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A building project shouldn’t be taken lightly. Since it’s a major investment, you want to be sure that it’s completed properly and built to your liking and exact needs. To ensure this, facility managers need to be sure that they hire the right contractor. But how can you tell who the right contractor is?

It’s important to be satisfied with your completed project, so Scranton Products is here to give you some pointers so you can hire the right person for the job. Read on for five key things to consider when hiring a contractor for your building project. Read more