Friday, December 2, 2016

Thirty Inches

Our last poll asked how far away from circuit breaker panels items needed to be kept.  The answer is 30".  All voters got the answer correct.  Per the Fire Marshal and fire codes, this is the minimum distance anything must be kept away from these panels so there is clear access to them in case of a fire or an emergency.  Likewise, nothing can be stored within 18" of the ceiling.  That means items on bookshelves or other high areas must be 18" or lower than the ceiling so the sprinkler system will work correctly if there were ever a fire. We can be fined for both of these offenses if the Fire Marshal so deems.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Oleo-Furan-Surfactants May Be a Boon to the Cleaning Industry

In past posts I've shared information about the concerns over some soaps such as antimicrobial soap that use Triclosan and other chemicals in them to clean.  Some of these chemicals have been banned.

Now, the University of Minnesota has invented a new soap molecule that works great in cold water, is biodegradable, can be made from soybeans, corn or coconut and is "green"!  The molecule is known as an oleo-furan-surfactant or OFS.  The technology has been patented by the University.  Here's the full article from the European Cleaning Journal.  

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have invented a new soap molecule made from renewable sources.
They claim it could be used to produce soaps manufactured from natural products such as soybeans, coconut and corn. And besides reducing the problem of harmful chemicals and particles entering the water system, the new soaps would actually work better than traditional products according to the researchers.
Recent concerns about substances such as Triclosan and microbeads in soaps have led to increased research into sustainable solutions.
The new soaps invented at the University of Minnesota combine biodegradable ingredients to form a molecule known as oleo-furan-surfactant (OFS). Researchers found that OFS worked well in cold water where conventional petroleum-based soaps become cloudy and gooey, which basically makes them unusable.
OFS soaps were also shown to form soap particles at low concentrations which means they could reduce the environmental impact on water systems. And the study - published in American Chemical Society's ACS Central Science - also showed the new soap molecule to work better with hard water than conventional products.
"OFS is made from straight carbon chains derived from soybeans or coconut which can readily biodegrade," said chemical engineering and materials science graduate student Kristeen Joseph. "These are really the perfect soap molecules."
And co-author of the study associate professor Paul Dauenhauer, adds: "This research could have a major impact on the multibillion-dollar cleaning products industry."
The technology has been patented by the University of Minnesota and licensed to local start-up company Sironix Renewables.

Monday, November 28, 2016

And in the News Again! - Restrooms!

It seems like the one area of a building that gets more reviews, complaints, suggestions and information regarding it are the restrooms.  Here's another article discussing restroom care.  You'll find the information interesting and beneficial in keeping your building restrooms in top-notch condition.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ventilate, Ventilate, Ventilate

Anytime you are using chemicals or cleaning agents in an enclosed area that could potentially be irritating, always make sure you ventilate the area to avoid potential health risks with students and staff.  Open doors, turn on the HVAC system, use high-speed air movers and so on.  What's the big deal?  Read this story from New Hampshire and see what happened at one high school in Manchester.

Monday, November 21, 2016

It Happened to Rusty. It's Happened to Us. Has it Happened to You?

Here's a story that's familiar.  Rusty Mailliard of Omaha, Nebraska went dumpster diving to help a fourth-grader find her accidentally discarded retainer which was brand new.  After digging through a few bags of food encrusted garbage bags, voila', Rusty found the container for her. That's dedication.

Here at our high school, we've done the same thing.  At least twice in the past 10 years we've gone dumpster diving for a retainer and found them.  We've also had to dumpster dive for a few other oddball items.  Most recently a teacher accidentally threw away her small wallet with driver's license, credit card, ID and so on with her lunch the day before.  Fortunately, the garbage had not yet been hauled away.  By a process of elimination and talking to the previous night's custodian, I was able to ascertain approximately where in the garbage dumpster the bag containing her lunch and wallet might be.  Amazingly, I was able to find the lost wallet in the first bag I checked.  She was elated!  She even brought in doughnuts the next day to say "thank you!"

Have you had similar experiences searching for lost, valuable items in the trash for students or a fellow staff member?

Friday, November 18, 2016

World Toilet Day 2016

Another year has passed and World Toilet Day (WTD) is once again upon us.  Every November 19 World Toilet Day is celebrated.  This day draws attention to people around the world that do not have access to clean sanitation or places to go to the restroom.  Check out the WTD link here and read more about this important and highly necessary day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Canada's Best Restroom According to Cintas

After a few months of nominees and voting, the restroom in Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada at the Whitecourt Esso Super Station received the most votes as Canada's best restroom.  Other runners-up included an Italian Kitchen and Market and a theatre.  Click here to see the whole story and to view photos of these wonderfully clean and unique restrooms.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Making Vacuuming Fun and Putting Smiles on Faces

Check out this brief story of Ron Munsey of Bedford, N.H.who has taken vacuuming to a new level, creating designs in the carpet that puts smiles on arriving students and staff the next morning.  Ron has created some interesting designs in the cut pile area rug as can be seen in the pictures that accompany the article linked here.  Nice job Ron!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Several Things Can Affect How Well A School Stays Clean

Our last poll mentioned that weather, testing, vacations and so on might affect how well a school stays clean.  All votes affirmed that this is true.  When vacations are close or testing has been taking place, the students tend to be more wound up and antsy.  That affects how well they try to keep things clean.  Weather can blow in leaves, create moisture that is tracked in and more.  All of these factors can make keeping the building clean a real challenge.

Be Careful Where You Put Your Air Fresheners

In Columbia, South Carolina, a suspicious device was found in a restroom at a nuclear weapons facility.  It was immediately treated as potentially life-threatening until it was determined what it was. Here's the article regarding this situation.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Great Help When Diagnosing Building HVAC Issues

Do you deal with HVAC issues in your school or building?  Heating/cooling issues?  Stuck dampers? Difficult to find sensor problems?  Bad construction?

Here's a link to a tool by Betterbricks.com which provides a list of potential building problems and then a list of possible solutions.  For the person dealing with building issues and tenants, this tool is invaluable.

Check it out here.