Commercial cleaning is a massive multi-billion dollar industry with a great potential for growth. As of 2016, it employs over 2.15 million people with 2.3 billion individual paid service jobs between them. For every office, every window, and every construction site, there are teams of trained individuals that are there to make the area aesthetically presentable as well as inspection ready. One industry that can benefit from the attention to detail and goal orientation is the “green” industry. The green industry is a loose collective of manufacturers and service providers that are aligned with the goal of keeping the earth as healthy as possible. This, one might add, is the exact same goal of professional cleaners within the area they are responsible for. It only makes sense that both industries mutually benefit.
Cleaning trends are a correlated measure of where the industry is going and why. Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Freedonia Group are pulled together to get a good look at what’s going to happen next. For instance, two of the most notable trends today are Secure Cleaning and Smart Cleaning Devices. These two relate to cleaning areas that hold sensitive information, like hospitals, and automated cleaners, respectively. These are the data points that allow us to apply connections to the world of eco-friendly business. Here is a list of the various aspects of the green industry and how commercial cleaning may fit, contribute, and even collaborate with them.
1. Windmill Tech And Turbine Cleaning
Windmills are a long-standing example of sustainability. They are one of the original “green“ industries, and they’ve been around forever. Originally, windmills were used for pumping water or grinding grain. But in the modern context, they use propellers and turbines, as pushed by the wind, to turn a manually powered generator. The simplicity of this mechanism is as charming as it’s moving parts. And with all moving parts, comes gunk, dirt buildup, and maybe the occasional bird in the turbine. The primary obstacle in cleaning these windmills is that they’re very high up. Traditional cleaning methods would require multiple individuals with massive amounts of materials and hours upon hours of labor. By using technologies such as super-concentrated solvents and possibly even drone technology, the ability to keep the majority of things on the ground and in smaller bundles can be maximized. This ensures a higher degree of safety and less people working on the project. Items can be remotely carried from a primary base and the typical duration of time needed to go up and down multiple times can be cut in half. On top of that, multiple units may be serviced at the same time due to the decrease in employees needed per job.
2. Water Treatment Facilities
A vital player in the green industry is water. It fuels and propels many of the industries on this list. As global urbanization expands and the need for more water rises, treatment plants and cleaning facilities are projected to rise as well. There is an estimated 14,748 Publicly Owned Treatment Works around the united states alone, most of which avail from commercial cleaning services. These treatment facilities are subject to an array of standards and sanitation guidelines, many of which fall under the cleanliness of the facility itself. It is, after all, a place where water is re-invigorated for public consumption. It makes sense that the floors, walls, and the pipes are all up to a strict code. Public sectors have a set budget for different projects and the amount of work hours it takes to clean all the facilities takes up a very large chunk. This means that every year, there’s an allotted and continuous avenue to vie for these contracts in an expanding market. And as much as California still has the largest demand in the U.S., the expansion of other major cities like Houston, TX are likely to increase the need for commercial cleaning.
Solar power sources are the undisputed king of green alternative energy in equatorial regions. They make absolute sense to their may investors. To its opposers, one cannot deny that they’re a force to be reckoned with in the business world. In the United States, there is a plethora of solar farms spread out on the West Coast. It’s leading state, to nobody’s surprise, is California. In the second quarter of 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reported that the United States installed over two gigawatts of photocoltiac solar capacity. Over the next five years, the total U.S. capacity is expected to double. California produces about 23 gigawatts of energy derived from solar and it employs 86,000 people. Among those 86,000 are the contractors hired to clean said panels. For an operation like the Topaz Solar Farm, a huge team of professionals is at the task. With operations like these, it’s no wonder that California is the top employer for commercial cleaners. And with the growing demand of home-installed panels, established cleaning services have an opportunity to expand their reach. One can market towards increasing the physical functionality of a homeowner’s solar investment. A dirty solar panel is a less efficient one.
4. Alternative Fuel Sources
Companies like Tesla and Toyota are testing the limits of traditional vehicles. They’re continuing to innovate with new ideas every year. The greatest potential of these technologies is the alternative fuel cell. Creating a whole new product for the masses is an enormous endeavor. One that takes brand new facilities to manage and maintain. This brings up a whole new area to target in terms of commercial cleaning. Let’s look at Toyota. Their current factory in Kentucky is the largest vehicle assembly plant in their entire global production network. They make 550,000 vehicles per year and produce 600,000 engines in that same amount of time. This whole operation encompasses as sizable 8.1 million square foot area. Even with their infamous production efficiency, creating mass produced alternative cells would mean creating new production lines and factories with a sizable capacity, at that. Just look at Australia. Their Altona factory has become completely dedicated to the production of hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen powered cars, as funded in part by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Tesla, on the other hand, is creating its own “Gigafactory.” As of 2019, the Gigafactory is a 1.9 million square foot building with 5.3 million square feet of operational space. This is spread out over three floors. At thirty percent completion, its projected size would be around 10 million square feet and would have the “largest footprint” out of any building on Earth. In terms of sheer mass, the cleaning expense in these factories is, of course, immense. Since floor cleaning is one of the largest areas of the commercial cleaning industry, taking advantage of potential leads in this sector can see a huge potential upswing for any business. On top of that, these commercial spaces are subject to inspection and stringent quality control. The floor space alone is an initial indicator of facility upkeep and detail oriented management.
5. Green Abroad
Asia and the Pacific are generally not seen as major players in the global service market. There tends to be a bit of a narrative bias towards the west. With that said, this notion is fast changing. There is a massive potential for commercial cleaning in Asia-Pacific. Projections for 2022 maintain that about 30% of the overall cleaning services market revenue will be from that region. It is no coincidence that this is also the region with the fastest growing number of two income households and real estate expansion. On top of that, some of the longest held stigmas of the region are breaking and there’s a sharp rise in the number of working women, especially in China, Japan, and India. This region also accounts for a giant chunk of sustainable energy projects. According to the International Energy Agency’s Renewables Report in 2017, policy support in this region and sharp cost reduction is making green technology more and more viable. China is leading the market with a prediction of over 40% of the entire world’s clean energy mix by 2022. Within the same timeframe, India is expected to surpass the entire European Union as a result of competitive contracts and addressing issues with their utilities.
These factors play a huge part in the green expansion of technology and a sharp rise in the middle class. All of this relates back to the expanding need for commercial cleaning services as residences begin to rise at an astounding rate.
6. Age of Paperless Education
In this new generation of consumers and business owners, people are choosing to go digital. This is invariably due to the efficiency of consumer technology and millennials having an eye for sustainability from the get go. This is a generation that grew up on the existence of the internet and the public promotion of saving the planet. With this new notion of going totally paperless, a predictable byproduct is an increase of training facilities geared to the new mindset. Schools in general make up 13% of janitorial jobs in the United States. And as with most education trends, the focus will be on early adaptation and youth applications. With that mindset also comes a steering away from traditional university education. The trend, as perpetuated by growing student loan debt and a diminishing trust in paying that back, is going towards trade schools. Digital and skill-based learning is a fast rising option for many who may not be able to afford hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt before the age of twenty-five. These are especially important in the secondary school level that contract so many commercial cleaning companies. Catching this trend, contrary to what one may think, is more prevalent in the American South and Midwest. Foundations and trade organizations are opening new facilities every year, effectively expanding the market for cleaning services in these districts and away from the coasts.
7. Repurposed Architecture
The decline of the United States motor industry in the 1980’s and the 1990’s lead to the devastation of many working class communities. Detroit, Michigan is a classic example, often studied in economics classes the world over. But something grew from that despair. As mentioned before, millennials have a keen eye for sustainability. This is why there’s a movement across the U.S. to repurpose old factories. Motor-age aesthetics and the down-home energy of a former industry hubs are meeting together in the world of architecture and design. Sustainable business often looks to these areas to streamline their idea of keeping green. But before anything can be sold out of a factory filled with cobwebs and rats, there is a massive restoration period. It takes a very large team to clean a relatively passable space. But for cleaning projects as large as repurposing factories, commercial cleaners are the only viable option. There’s an absolute necessity for professionals in the cleaning industry to be a part of every step, from planning to execution. After all, there comes a point where it’s not just about mopping floors. The usability of entire sections is dependent on its capacity to be suitable for high end consumers.
8. Vegetables On The Rise
Vertical farming is one of those beautiful ideas that inspire awe and wonderment to those who dwell on it. As the world continues to need more and more food, the limited farming space and expansive planar water distribution is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. But countries like Singapore have found an answer: go up. Vertical farming operations have very specific needs in terms of sanitation and facility upkeep. More often than not, they’re dealing with consumable goods. The Food and Drug Administration has fairly stringent guidelines in order to prevent infections like E.coli from spreading to the population. In a vertical farm, this is done primarily by preventing contamination. Contamination, in turn, is mitigated greatly by the involvement of proper facility cleaning. In the United States, the vertical farming market is projected to reach 3 billion dollars by 2024. This poses a great opportunity for expansion and contracts by trained professional cleaning companies.
9. Green Carpet
Carpet and upholstery cleaning rake in over 4 billion dollars in revenue. This is a huge share of the commercial cleaning market and shows exactly how particular consumers are when it comes to making sure their comforts are protected. In many companies, especially ones that are aligned with a more eco-friendly direction, the cleaning products used are of great concern. There’s a push towards natural or more environmentally conscious ingredients in the various reagents used during the process. Every year study after study gets published listing the potentially harmful particles and fumes in one’s immediate environment. And since people spend about a third of their life at work, it’s no surprise that green conscientiousness would extend to the minor details of cleaning operations. It’s an adjustment, but positioning oneself and one’s company as an ally to their cause adds a great advantage in the world of green business.
10. The Environmentally Friendly Fleet
Probably the most recognizable aspect of green industry is sustainable transportation options. Commercial cleaning takes not only a lot of employees, but a lot of trucks and vans. This is a great opportunity to make a shift towards hybrid or fully electric options for your fleet. Between jobs and hauling materials to various points, hybrids may be more economical down the line. On top of that, this adaptation serves as an additional closing tool to attract clients who wish to align themselves with a fellow green company. There’s a definite attraction towards being a 360 eco-friendly company and contracting a fleet of massively fuel efficient vehicles adds to the repertoire of any player in the green industry.
Every year, the green industry expands in response to the basic idea that we need to preserve this planet. Yes, there is opposition to the notion, but there is a global awareness to the potential dismay that many agree should be acknowledged. And much like how commercial cleaning thrives on the idea that maintaining one’s space is necessary for health, new methods of improvement can and will arise. Looking forward, it seems like both industries can benefit from their respective advancement.