3 Ways milliCare Can Help You Achieve a Healthy Building
Nearly 40 years ago, the World Health Organization helped solidify the concept of what the Environmental Protection Agency has coined “sick building syndrome,” or internal building conditions that are connected to negative health effects and irritation in occupants. Now, facility managers are just as likely to hear about “healthy buildings.”
What is a healthy building? It’s a location where interior design and maintenance protocols follow an occupant-first mindset and promote occupant health. And on the heels of COVID-19 as folks are getting back to work, the healthy building has arisen as a priority among building managers or facility managers and the people they serve.
In late 2020, Harvard-based authors Joseph G. Allen and John Macomber released a book on the subject: “Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity.”The book spurred tremendous online discussion, in part by memorably asserting that “the person who manages your building has a bigger impact on your health than your doctor. And this person just may have as big an impact on your bottom line as your CFO.”
If Allen and Macomber are right, facility managers hold the key to whether a building promotes illness or wellness. After all, they decide whether to champion certifications, ratings, and standards established by organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council, the International WELL Building Institute, and Fitwel. If a building’s management pursues these certifications, strengthen their practices, and take the time to communicate their efforts, their occupants will feel more comfortable living or working there.
An Increasingly Human-Centered Approach to Building Maintenance
Humans are at the heart of healthy buildings, and what building inhabitants need is reassurance that going to work won’t put them at risk. When they see displays of IWBI, USGBC, or Fitwel certifications, they gain confidence that their best interests are being kept in mind. Similarly, employees who understand how much rigorous documentation, commissioning, sustainable cleaning, maintenance, and other work goes into attaining certifications or seals know that facility managers are putting their needs front and center.
For instance, the IWBI WELL Standard Version 1 emphasizes the importance of air filtration as it pertains to the removal of indoor and outdoor contaminants. The standard also requires that comprehensive records on filtration maintenance be submitted annually. These quality-assurance steps necessitate due diligence on the part of facility managers, which further shows building occupants how serious a facility manager is.
At milliCare, we’re committed to helping facility managers stay ahead of healthy building expectations and lead this movement. Our corporate culture and belief system makes us an ideal partner for several reasons:
1. Our cleaning practices emphasize sustainability.
Sustainable practices are milliCare’s calling card. Our premier dry polymer solution cleans carpet fibers without leaving behind residue. This makes the carpets less likely to resoil rapidly, increasing the carpet’s ability to promote better indoor air quality. The dry-anchored technology also reduces water and energy consumption.
For hard surfaces, we attempt to eliminate the need for constant refinishing using harsh chemicals. As an example, our alternative to constantly stripping and waxing vinyl composite tile floorings is to lay down a two-part polyurethane as a permanent field-applied wear layer. The layer can then be maintained by a milliCare provider or housekeeping staff, taking away the harsh and wasteful strip-wax cycle.
2. Our protocols support many sustainability standards.
Keeping up with LEED and WELL prerequisites, programs, and standards can be challenging. milliCare can assist because its practices support many of these standards, particularly those in the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance category, which centers its policies, products, and equipment on green concepts. Case in point: Because milliCare’s cleaning systems use less water and consume less energy than other systems, milliCare can provide tangible results in support of LEED initiatives.
In the same vein, milliCare concentrates on creating customized service plans and solutions that dovetail with the WELL standards. milliCare has solutions for WELL's cleaning protocol and equipment initiatives. Also, milliCare fits into WELL’s Health-Safety Rating when it comes to improving a building’s cleaning practices and selecting sustainable cleaning products.
3. Our milliCare representatives share extensive documentation with clients.
As a client of milliCare, a facility manager can expect access to many types of documentation. Items like color-coded floorplans and cleaning schedule calendars are how we craft proactive, facility-specific routines and regimens. They assist us, but they have other uses, too.
Facility managers can use these documents when they embark on healthy building initiatives. They can also share them with necessary sustainability organizations to prove intent to keep all interior spaces as “well” as possible.
Why are facility managers increasingly embarking on healthy building initiatives? Occupants need reassurance to remove the psychological barriers to returning to everyday office life. In other words, they need healthy buildings. Facility managers can give them support in the form of well-maintained spaces that put occupants’ physical and mental well-being first.