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Case studies of schools quoted by Sumeet Bansal, Associate Manager-Marketing, Godrej & Boyce, show that even though the schools were initially skeptical in adopting a new mechanised cleaning technology, they eventually gave it a try solely because of sustainability factors.

Mechanised cleaning is not new to schools abroad; still, any new technology that hits the market has to go through a try-and-test method before being accepted. Two schools in Ontario, Canada, where the Tennant’s ec-H2O floor cleaning machine was introduced, tested the machine on various surfaces.

Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board in Ontario has 52 schools, 4,000 employees and approximately 22,000 students. Five Simcoe Muskoka locations have earned certification through the “Ontario EcoSchools” environmental sustainability programme. Jim Verbrugge, Manager of Custodial Services for all the 52 buildings in the school system, said, “Even after you have achieved a high level of sustainability, you still need to keep working at it. Sustainability is an ongoing journey, not a destination.”

Hence, what motivated this school to try out a new technology included two factors – one, use of less water and two, elimination of chemicals in the cleaning process.

Simcoe Muskoka schools cover a geographic area of more than 8,800sqkm. Each of the 52 school buildings has unique cleaning needs and all had common requirements. By using advanced cleaning methods, including ec-H2O technology, the district managed operating costs and reduced its impact on natural resources.

According to Verbrugge, during the test run of ec-H2O equipped with Nobles® Speed Scrub® walk-behind scrubber, one of the first areas tested was a specific school entryway that was always a big cleaning challenge. “Frankly, I didn’t think this new technology would meet our requirements, but it pulled the dirt off the floor. The water in the recovery tank was pitch black and the floor appeared cleaner than it normally was after using chemicals.”

The school chosen for the next test had roughly 40,000sqft of ceramic tile. “We saw great improvements in cleaning performance and productivity,” Verbrugge said. It returned the grout lines to their original colour. “In fact, based on what we saw, it became clear to us that chemicals were part of the problem. Chemical residue attracted the dirt and grime which made the grout look black, not its original light gray.”

In another case, Joe Saldarelli, Manager of Facility Services, has been providing quality learning environments for more than 26 years at Grand Erie Public Schools in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. “We have an obligation to create healthy and safe educational facilities and we are always looking for new technologies and processes that can help us meet, or better yet, exceed those objectives.”

Cleaning floors without the environmental or human hazards of chemicals – not to mention eliminating the ongoing expense of chemicals – was a compelling opportunity.

Grand Erie District School Board has 85 buildings spread over an area of 4,000sqkm. The district has 69 elementary schools, 16 secondary schools and more than 27,000 students. Serving these students are more than 1,800 full-time instructional staff members and more than 850 full-time non-instructional staff members. The board had invested more than $55 million over the last six years in facility renewal, improving the condition of school buildings and creating a healthier, more comfortable learning environment for both students and staff.

Drawing inference from the students’ performance and the learning environment, Johnston said that the board placed a high priority on learning environments. District leaders see how student safety, health and comfort affect achievements in student literacy and numeracy. As a certified professional engineer, Saldarelli tested ec-H2O with the Nobles Speed Scrub in a variety of trials. The cleaning and savings potential was obvious. Its using up to 70% less water was a significant factor in meeting or exceeding core objectives.

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