The City of Raleigh awarded the NC State University Housekeeping Department the 2020 Business Innovation for Environmental Stewardship Award in April, after NC State became the first university in North Carolina to become Green Seal certified. NC State is the sixth university nationwide to achieve this certification.
Green Seal is a national nonprofit that follows EPA certification requirements to expand the use of safe products nationwide and certifies the sustainability of products and services used by an organization. Vincent Taylor, University Housekeeping’s deputy assistant director, led the department to becoming Green Seal certified.
“It was wonderful that Raleigh recognized how much work actually goes into this,” Taylor said. “It’s a very prestigious award, and it recognizes that we really care about our campus, faculty staff, students and visitors, and that we are using the very best chemicals out there on the market that will not only keep the campus clean, but that will not harm the people that visit the buildings.”
According to Sustainability Director Lindsay Batchelor, University Housekeeping is a leader in sustainability practices on campus.
“University Housekeeping has prioritized sustainability as one of their focus areas, and the Green Seal program is part of the way that they do that,” Batchelor said. “Using Green Seal chemicals is not only for the environmental benefits, but for the health benefits, for their employees and for the water saving benefits. We are so proud to have them as partners and as leaders on this campus.”
University Housekeeping’s sustainability efforts have reduced operational costs, protected people from exposure to harsh chemicals and improved indoor air quality for NC State, according to the University Sustainability Office.
Taylor said University Housekeeping’s level of cleanliness is especially important in light of COVID-19. Taylor also said the university is equipped with the chemicals and the training to keep campus clean in a way that is safe for everyone. Microfiber mops, vacuums with HEPA filters, floor mats at the entrance of buildings to reduce pollutants and a water-based cleaning system are all tools used to promote cleanliness.
Deciding on the next step for increasing sustainability has been a challenge for University Housekeeping since achieving Green Seal certification and recognition by the City of Raleigh.
“Right now, Green Seal happens to be the number one certification that you can get in housekeeping … there’s only six universities that actually have it,” Taylor said. “For us to actually have earned this lets other universities know that we are in an area that nobody else is now. Right now, we are trying to find what is going to take us to the next level.”
To find out more about sustainability on campus, click here.