OR Janitors Go Green with Sustainability Certification
Monday, May 2, 2022
Janitors in downtown Portland have received a unique certification that signals they're going green.
Six janitors were certified through the green janitor education program, a 30-hour curriculum that focuses on energy, water and environmental sustainability standards and green practices.
Maggie Long is executive director of the Service Employees International Union Local 49, which represents janitors in Portland. She said janitors are fundamental to a building's operation, performing duties that can help make them greener.
"So it's these sort of day-to-day operation things that can have a huge impact in a building that janitors are uniquely positioned to play a role in," said Long.
Long said the certification is being offered to union janitors in commercial or residential buildings. She said she hopes hundreds more will be certified over the next two years.
Keren Eichen is director of real estate services in Portland for Unico Properties, which collaborated with SEIU Local 49 on the certification. She said janitors are on the front lines of the climate fight in buildings and Unico wanted to invest in these workers.
"It's important for Portlanders to reduce our environmental footprint and the green janitor education program is one of the ways that we can do that," said Eichen. "Commercial buildings have a responsibility, we believe, to be stewards of the environment and to set a good example."
Funding for the program comes in part from the Portland Clean Energy Fund, a city initiative focused on green jobs and renewable energy and energy efficiency investments. The national certification program was developed by the Building Skills Partnership.
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