Stanford University Leverages Stabilized Aqueous Ozone to Reach Zero Waste, Sustainability Goals

Stanford University is putting the health of everyone within their campuses front and center by using sustainable cleaning solutions. These solutions are more effective, efficient, and safer than traditional chemical cleaners.

The university houses over 15,000 students, so they’re focused on keeping everyone safe and healthy as they return to campus. Stanford University’s Sustainability Goals include:

  • 100% renewable energy by 2021
  • Carbon-free, zero-waste campus by 2025
  • 100% ozone-based cleaning by 2025

To reduce the campus’ carbon footprint and eliminate all waste, Stanford changed out their traditional chemical cleaners for Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO). In addition to being sustainable, the benefits of SAO outweigh those of traditional cleaners in nearly every aspect.

  • Safer on campus: lower fall risk due to no residue; no exposure to harmful toxins or chemicals
  • Safer for custodial staff: No PPE required; no need to mix harsh chemicals
  • Greater efficiency: labor cost savings due to less cleaning time required
  • Multi-purpose: less cleaning solutions needed since SAO cleans, sanitizes and disinfects most surfaces
  • Better for the environment: less plastic used, significantly reduced operational costs and no chemicals down our drains

Ozone Cleaning: 'The True Heart of Sustainability'

“I don’t like to put ozone cleaning in the same category as green cleaning,” said Kristin Parnich, Sustainability and Utilities Manager, Stanford University. “Ozone cleaning is far and above where we need to go as a community, as a world and for the future.”

The advanced technology behind Stabilized Aqueous Ozone is what makes the solution so effective while leveraging only two natural elements – water and electricity.

We are using a machine on site to create a solution on site. Some people call it engineered water,” Parinch explained. The SAO Dispenser stabilizes the aqueous ozone for 24 hours, which turns it into a cleaner, sanitizer and disinfectant. After that 24-hour period, the solution simply reverts back to plain H2O. “There are no harmful byproducts from that.”

More Effective, Efficient than Chemical Cleaners

Since the solution is 1.5x stronger than bleach with an effective kill rate of 99.999% (5-log reduction). It kills mold, mildew, odor, stains, hard-to-kill bacteria and viruses, including coronaviruses (Covid-19, SARS, Flu virus), M.R.S.A., Strep, Staph, Salmonella, Listeria and E. Coli.

Those hard-to-kill bacteria and viruses are destroyed more efficiently with SAO. “Its kill time is amazing,” said Parnich, referring to the 1-minute dwell time vs. the 10-15 minutes required for many chemical cleaners.

Labor and Cost Savings With SAO

Custodial labor costs can be significantly reduced when using SAO because of the faster dwell time. Organizations also save 40-80 percent with SAO compared to chemical cleaners. Another area Stanford experienced savings was in training costs.

“The great thing it did was completely reduce the training needs and the risks around using chemicals with our custodians,” said Parnich.  Custodial staff don’t need to wear PPE because they’re not mixing or being exposed to chemicals. “If it touches your skin or gets in your eyes, there are no harmful side effects.”

Stanford went from using 30 chemical solutions to only using SAO and one other solution for degreasing. SAO is versatile to use on most surfaces, even glass, wood, carpet and other high-touch areas. The solution can be poured into buckets, backpack sprayers or other cleaning devices to most efficiently and effectively clean shared spaces.

By eliminating all but two solutions, Stanford has significantly reduced their waste and carbon footprint. “We’re not disposing of all those products anymore, which is a lot of plastic,” said Parnich. “It’s a really great partnership for our zero-waste goal.”

How to Reach Sustainability Goals, Certification Requirements

GSS partners with universities and other organizations to meet their unique goals when it comes to shared spaces. Whether those goals are specific to certification requirements or simply looking to reduce cleaning costs, GSS can help determine which solutions will best meet the organization’s needs.

GSS specializes in:

  • Sustainable cleaning and disinfecting solutions
  • Surface testing and cleanliness verification
  • Indoor air quality and monitoring
  • Water conservation

Contact us for more information about our products and services.

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