Green Buildings: Common Construction Problems and Solutions

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Far from a fad, green building and green design have entered the mainstream. What was once a novelty for designers and architects has now become a staple in the industry. Some of what’s helped to make green buildings so popular is their ability to solve some of the most common construction problems, especially those having to do with energy and water consumption.

In this post, we take a close look at the types of construction problems that can be solved by building green.

Energy Loss through Heating & Cooling Systems

One of the most common construction problems has to do with wasted energy. Architects and contractors are tasked with creating a facility that can optimize energy use. This can be especially difficult with heating and cooling units when doors are frequently opened, letting in outside air. Windows can also be a source of energy loss, allowing air to seep in through cracks or gaps.

To help the HVAC system run more efficiently, you can use energy-efficient windows, which lock in air and block outside air from entering. You can also create a double door entrance to prevent outdoor air temperatures from affecting the indoor climate control system.

This method uses one door that leads from outside into a small room. This climate-controlled room has another door that leads into the rest of the building. This prevents untreated air from rushing into the building or treated air from rushing out every time the door is opened.

Would you like more information about making your building more green friendly? Download our FREE eBook Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom.This free guide will teach you about using recyclable materials, reducing harmful emissions, and much more. 

High Water Consumption in Restrooms

Water consumption is another primary concern when creating a new building, especially if you’re responsible for the building’s future operational costs. Bathrooms are notorious for consuming high volumes of water. Using green building design, you can help to reduce the amount of water used.

This can be achieved by installing low-flow toilets or urinals, which use no more than 1.6 gallons of water with every flush. Similarly, low-flow faucets in the restroom can help to minimize water waste when guests are washing their hands without reducing the effectiveness of the sink itself.

Wasted Energy in Unoccupied Spaces

Facilities waste large amounts of energy (and revenue to pay for that energy) due to lighting unoccupied areas. An easy solution for this common construction problem is to install motion-activated lighting that’s on a timer. This is perfect for buildings that have areas staffed 24 hours as well as areas that are only occupied for part of the day.

These automatic lights replace traditional switches, so there’s no risk of someone accidentally leaving the lights on in an unused area, and it ensures that the lights are only running when needed.

 

How to Remove Mold in Your Shower & Locker Rooms

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Mold inside the shower or locker rooms of your facility can be a big problem. Not only does it discolor grout and weaken wood, but it’s also potentially hazardous to your health and the health of those using your facility. So to make sure that your locker rooms and showers are safe and mold-free, it’s important to remove any signs of mold or mildew once they appear.

In this guide, we’ll tell you how to remove mold properly as well as how you can prevent mold from coming back.

locker replacement checklist

What You Need for Mold Removal

Having the proper supplies is an important part of mold removal. After all, if the mold isn’t removed properly, there’s a good chance it will come back and spread to other areas of your facility. Not only that, but without the right gear, your cleaning team could get sick when trying to clean the infected areas.

Here’s what you need:

1.      Old clothes or a jumpsuit: You want to launder or dispose of any clothes you wear when cleaning the mold-infected area. Otherwise, you could unintentionally spread mold to other rooms or experience an adverse reaction to the mold spores.

2.      Rubber gloves: These are important to protect your hands from coming in contact with mold or the cleaning chemicals used during removal.

3.      N-95 or P-100 respirator: These respirators are specially made to block out mold spores, which can be as small as 3 microns. For reference, a strand of human hair is about 125 microns.

4.      Safety goggles: These will protect your eyes from any mold spores that might be floating in the air as well as any harmful vapors from the cleaning chemicals.

5.      Spray bottle: You can use a simple spray bottle filled with water to gently wet any visible mold before you start cleaning to limit the number of spores released into the air.

6.      Box fan: It’s vital to keep the room well ventilated. If there’s a window or door leading outside, use a large box fan to remove any mold spores. Be sure to cover any part of the window or door with a plastic drop cloth or cardboard so the spores can’t accidently blow back into the room. DO NOT use fans if blowing into another room in the facility – only use if there’s a direct path outside.

7.      Bleach: Use bleach and water to treat mold-infected areas.

8.      Bucket for cleaning

9.      Scrub brush

10.  Flathead screwdriver for grout lines

How to Remove Mold

After you’ve put on your protective clothing and set up any appropriate ventilation, it’s time to start treating the mold-infected areas. If you can’t ventilate the room properly, seal it off from the rest of the facility until cleaning is complete. Be sure to cover any air vents or turn off the ventilation system.

When you’re ready to start, use the spray bottle to gently wet the mold. This will help to prevent spores from flying into the air as you clean. Then use a 1:8 bleach/water mixture to clean the infected areas. Scrub using a tough cleaning brush or use a flathead screwdriver to gently scrape mold from grout lines. Consider adding some detergent to your cleaning mixture to make it easier to lift the mold.

Rinse surfaces well. Wipe down the walls, floors, and any other treated surface and launder or dispose of the used towels. Place them in a large trash bag to try to keep any of the mold from escaping.

Preventing Mold from Returning

Treating mold can be a relatively quick and inexpensive process, but it’s even easier to prevent mold and mildew from occurring in the first place. One of the best ways is to reduce the amount of moisture in the room. However, this is difficult to do in locker rooms and showers.

So the next option for preventing mold is to use materials in your facility that are naturally resistant to mold and mildew. Materials like high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, are known for their high resistance to mold. Not only that, but HDPE is also resistant to bacteria and rust.

How to Stop Vandalism and Graffiti in School Bathrooms

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Removing graffiti and repairing vandalism can cost your school a lot of money and how to stop vandalism is not as easy as it seems.

Not only that, but it can also give people the impression that your school is unsafe or not well maintained. To promote a positive learning environment and reduce expenses, many administrators are looking for new ways to prevent graffiti and other forms of vandalism from happening in the first place

Because vandalism is typically carried out in solitude, bathrooms are frequently targeted. For that reason, this post will concentrate on how to stop vandalism and graffiti in school bathrooms.

Act Quickly to Remove Signs of Vandalism & Graffiti

One thing that tends to promote graffiti is the existence of other vandalism. That’s why it’s important to have your custodial staff remove graffiti as soon as it’s spotted. Even waiting until the next day could inspire other acts of vandalism and lower the perceived quality and safety of your institution. Keep in mind that complete graffiti prevention is virtually impossible, but you can keep the instance of vandalism down by acting quickly.

commercial restroom cleaning

The same is also true for repairs. A bathroom with malfunctioning toilets, broken mirrors, or other issues isn’t only inconvenient, it can impact the way others treat the space. A well-maintained bathroom will likely encourage occupants to treat it with respect. A school bathroom that’s in poor condition, on the other hand, could suffer from further misuse.

Consider Using a Labyrinth Entrance

A labyrinth entrance is a design tactic that uses a turning hallway instead of a door to provide privacy into the bathroom. This type of entrance can help to reduce the occurrence of vandalism in two ways. First, it makes the distinct sounds of vandalism more noticeable by those outside the bathroom. This helps to remove a level of secrecy that most vandals hide behind.

The second way that a labyrinth entrance can help to prevent graffiti and vandalism is that there’s no door to sound an alert to vandals that security personnel is coming. Since the vandals can’t tell if someone is about to walk in and catch them in the act, they’re less likely to attempt to vandalize the bathroom.

Removing the doors on bathrooms and using a labyrinth entrance instead is also one way to keep bathrooms germ-free.

Use Graffiti-Resistant Materials

One of the most effective ways to prevent graffiti in your school bathrooms is to use graffiti-resistant materials like HDPE. HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is a plastic material that’s resistant to graffiti, scratches, corrosion, and even germs. This durable material can be used in a variety of applications in the bathroom, including the stalls and vanities. As an added precaution, HDPE can be manufactured in a variety of colors with rough textures to create an undesirable surface for would be vandals to leave graffiti on.

You should avoid using materials like smooth steel and wood, which are easily damaged and defaced.

Above all, if you want to stop vandalism and graffiti in the bathrooms at your school, start by concentrating on keeping your facility clean and in good working condition. If you’d like to learn more about graffiti-resistant HDPE, contact Scranton Products today.

School Facility Maintenance Plan to Enhance Education

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There are a lot of ways to improve the effectiveness of your educational institution. Better books, state-of-the-art equipment, and top-notch instructors are all terrific starting points, but what many administrators don’t think about is how the facility itself inhibits or enhances education.

With the proper maintenance plan, your school or facility can improve its ability to educate by providing a safe environment that promotes learning.

locker checklist

A School Facility Maintenance Plan Starts with Design

When designing a facility, it’s important to consider what materials you’ll use. These materials will dictate not only what kind of maintenance will be required down the road but also how much maintenance and how often it will need to be performed over the life of your facility in order to maintain a clean and safe environment.

Naturally, some materials require less maintenance than others. For example, metal is stronger than wood but is prone to denting and rust. Wood, meanwhile, is subject to rotting and chipping. Both of these are also easily scratched or defaced by graffiti.

HDPE plastics, on the other hand, are resistant to mildew, rust, scratching, denting, and even graffiti. Plus this heavy-duty material is easy to clean and requires little maintenance to stay in good working condition.

Practical Applications of HDPE in Your School Facility

The first way that HDPE can help to enhance education in your facility is by using HDPE lockers. As opposed to metal lockers, HDPE lockers provide a number of benefits. First and foremost, the lockers will never rust, making them ideal for facilities in areas that have a high level of moisture in the air. This also helps to prevent sharp or jagged edges that students could be injured by during a trip or fall.

Another benefit of HDPE lockers is that they’re significantly quieter than metal lockers. This helps to cut down on noise in the hallways and other places where lockers are present that might otherwise distract students from learning.

But HDPE isn’t only used for making lockers. Manufacturers also use it to produce vanities, bathroom partitions, shower stalls, dressing compartments, and more. On top of that, HDPE promotes a healthier environment, keeping indoor air quality high. Color is integrated throughout, meaning no harmful painting and no volatile organic compounds emissions.

A Safer Facility for Enhanced Learning

It’s no secret that people learn best when they feel safe. With HDPE materials, administrators can operate an educational institution with less risk of rust, mildew, air pollutants, and other potential hazards. This results in an overall safer environment that promotes learning. Not only that, but HDPE can also significantly lower your maintenance costs compared to other materials.

If you’d like to learn more about HDPE applications and how they can reduce your maintenance requirements while increase education capabilities, download the free eBook The Ultimate Guide to HDPE Plastic Lockers. We provide a wide selection of HDPE brands, from lockers to bathroom vanities and more, to help to improve the quality of your facility.

Building Better Maintenance Operations: How to Optimize and Streamline Your Processes

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Maintenance Worker

Managing facilities and working in maintenance operations means you’re always looking for ways to improve and be more efficient. On one hand, you want to make sure that the people utilizing your facilities are happy and getting the most out of them. On the other hand, you want to make sure that you’re reducing costs where possible.

It can be difficult to take a step back and ensure that your operations are running efficiently, but taking a look at maintenance operations best practices can help you to reevaluate your facility.

According to Facilitiesnet.com, there are several crucial items that facility managers need to accomplish to achieve improved operations. Take a look at these tips below to find out how you can optimize and streamline your maintenance processes.

Create a Preventative Maintenance Plan

Developing a preventative maintenance program is crucial in facilities management. One of the main goals of this is to establish consistency throughout the facility among maintenance employees. Facility managers often fail to set up a preventative maintenance plan because it can be time consuming, but it’s definitely worth establishing. Your plan can decrease equipment downtime and repair costs while also eliminating the premature replacement of tools. Preventative maintenance also improves safety for everyone involved in it.

When creating your plan, start with critical equipment and systems, such as utilities and the major HVAC system. Have your technicians weigh in on the plan as well by looking at and touching the equipment.

Hold Regular Meetings

Keeping an open line of communication between managers and maintenance employees is crucial for operations to run smoothly. During these regular meetings, all parties involved should discuss what’s currently happening in the facility and what the plans are for the future.

Hold these meetings on the same day of the week at the same time of day every time so it becomes a habit for employees to attend. Make sure that everyone knows that attendance is required.

Always have an agenda for every meeting. Briefly summarize what was covered in the meeting the previous week, discuss what’s going on during the current week, and review plans for the upcoming week.

Empowering and Enabling Technicians and Staff

Facilitiesnet.com says, “By making workers better reactive maintenance technicians, managers allow them to complete more reactive work, which frees up a little bit of extra labor to begin the good stuff.” It’s important to make sure that your technicians and staff are properly trained to complete the jobs required of them.

Provide them with additional training so they’re continuously working on sharpening their skills, which will lead to better results. In addition to ensuring that they have the proper training, it’s also important to provide them with the tools they need to do the job properly.

Your maintenance operations can always be improved on to optimize your process and make the day-to-day easier.

If you’re looking for attractive, durable materials for your facility, click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.

3 Reasons Why Plastic Partitions Are Superior

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Business owners and facility managers may face serious consequences when they fail to choose the best material available for bathroom partitions, especially when they only consider the privacy aspect of the partitions.

Scranton Products wants your restrooms to have the best partitions available so you can avoid costly maintenance fees due to rust, mold, scratches, or any other problems that you may encounter. Continue reading to learn three reasons why plastic partitions are superior to the leading competition. Read more