July 8, 2008

County Buildings to Go ‘Green’

By Brian L. Huchel, Commercial-News, Danville, Ill.

Jul. 8--DANVILLE -- An in-house cleaning crew has opened up new possibilities for the county to go green.

The Vermilion County Board approved in May a plan for the county to use an in-house cleaning staff rather than contract the work out, which has been done in years past.

Having the county-run cleaning service allows administrators to move on some nature-friendly ideas.

County Board Chairman Jim McMahon said at this point it's a cost-savings move, although using green products also improves the courthouse and annex environments.

"People walk in and see what that fresh smell is," he said, noting that the intent is to expand the green cleaning to the county health department and Vermilion Manor Nursing Home.

The new in-house cleaning crew is starting on its fourth week on the job so far, and Mark Cravens, building and grounds superintendent, said both the in-house crew and the move to more environmentally friendly chemicals has worked out well.

"They seem to work out real good," Cravens said, adding the crew has gotten compliments. "(The chemicals) are mild, but they clean really well."

Cravens said he has started by ordering just general cleaners, but added there are some other things he would like to try.

Most of the chemicals are purchased at Danville Wholesale, although there is another business in Danville Cravens said he would like to look at as well.

He said using the chemicals is not as easy as most would think. "Green" doesn't carry the same connotation with every chemical business, so he has to do research on what the green chemicals will do before he orders them.

Moreover, Cravens said there is a lot of "trial and error" as he determines what works well for the cleaning crew and what doesn't.

"As we go along, we'll get a better idea and know what our needs and wants are," he said.

Chemicals, however, are simply the beginning when it comes to becoming eco-friendly for the county. McMahon said recycling is being looked at after fading away in recent years.

Following discussions between himself and Circuit Judge Michael Clary, McMahon said a recycling setup that uses the Drug Court program participants is in the works.


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Copyright (c) 2008, Commercial-News, Danville, Ill.

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