Camana Bay finds green answers

Camana Bay is again setting a Caymanian environmental precedent with the decision to go green on the inside by using non-toxic cleaning products.

‘We hope that by doing this we can show how beneficial it can be to implement a green cleaning programme,’ says Camana Bay’s Facilities Maintenance Manager Joseph Gadsby.

The first phase of the 550-acre project is near completion and has already incorporated environmental considerations in design and construction.

This move is designed to fit the requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building certification.

LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability that takes into account sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Under the LEED programme, buildings in various categories are awarded points related to performance in areas of human and environmental health and accorded a grade.

‘But when you’re talking about greening the interior of a building, indoor air quality can be a tough one,’ says Mr. Gadsby.

That’s because modern, energy efficient buildings are tightly sealed and extra measures must be taken to ensure they are well ventilated and that indoor air pollution sources are minimised.

Unlike most new construction projects vying for LEED certification, Camana Bay’s buildings have been designed to meet Category-5 hurricane standards.

In light of these considerations, the decision by Camana Bay to adopt environmentally friendly cleaning products for its building maintenance needs was an easy one, says Mr. Gadsby.

‘It’s no secret that conventional cleaning products are toxic and harmful to both the people who use them and the surfaces they are used on. And unlike other uses for harsh chemicals, it’s not common for the people who use them to protect themselves adequately,’ he says.

The term organic must be used with caution when it comes to cleaning products, because organic chemicals are generally dangerous to humans.

Varnishes and wax, as well as from many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products all contain them.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency Total Exposure Assessment Methodology studies found that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.

‘Not surprisingly, then, at the recent National Facilities Management Technical Conference we learned that janitorial staff are 65 per cent over the mean for workplace health problems; a startling statistic,’ says Mr. Gadsby.

‘That’s not acceptable. With the products that are out there that work just as well and cost the same, we are in a position to do something about it here in Cayman,’ he said.

The e-solution product line from National Chemical Labs was developed in response to tough environmental regulations being imposed on federal buildings in the United States.

Every product in the line is biodegradable, contains no phosphates, silicates, caustics, chelating agents or Nonylphenol Ethoxylates, is coloured with all natural dyes and is organically produced.

That means a lot from an environmental standpoint as none of these chemicals will be entering the environment at Camana Bay.

‘But we also learned that when people hear a building is using green cleaning methods, there are corresponding consequences such as consistently higher tenancy rates, and less worker sick time,’ said Mr. Gadsby.

And the green chemicals have an added benefit.

‘From a facilities manager standpoint, using greener chemicals can double the lifespan of a building,’ said Mr. Gadsby.

‘So we’re not only looking out for the health and safety of our workers and tenants, we’re doing something for future generations, too.’

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