For the past few years, the topic of sustainability and the green movement have taken a back seat to the economy. Even though customers understood the value of being an environmental steward and purchasing with a “green” intent, saving money trumped saving the environment. In other words, a sustainable green message temporarily was lost. The key word is temporary. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified homes, products with the Green Seal of Approval, hybrid and electric automobiles, alternative energy solutions, recycling initiatives, water conservation strategies, among other sustainable solutions, are again making their way back into the news.
Rental houses have an opportunity to take advantage of green in a couple of product areas, including renting floor equipment that is designed to have a minimal impact on the environment. “Green is not a fad,” says Paul Albrecht, national account manager for Clarke Equipment. “The rental market usually follows what has become popular in professional applications. Hospitals and school districts especially are continually buying more products that are green, which means rental houses will likely see an increased demand in the same way.”
Mike Englund, product manager for Powr-Flite, sees demand coming from homeowners, as well. “Homeowners have had other things on their mind, and being green wasn’t one of them,” he emphasizes. “Green awareness declined, but now it’s coming back. Just walking down a grocery store cleaning supply aisle tells part of the story of a green message revival.”
Floor equipment manufacturers Clarke and Powr-Flite offer green solutions for both homeowner and commercial customers. Albrecht highlights three products as examples.
“Our Focus II Boost Auto Scrubber reduces water and chemical consumption by up to 70 percent over traditional disc scrubbers,” Albrecht explains. “A unique scrubbing head cleans with an aggressive, tight orbit that doesn’t sling water. Using less water and chemicals is not only good for the environment, it also increases run time and saves on labor required to dump and refill the tank.” A low sound level, only 65 dB(A), adds to the unit’s environmentally friendly features.
“Introduced six years ago, this auto scrubber is ideally suited for commercial use in schools, universities, hospitals and gymnasiums,” says Albrecht. “The 20-inch model is ideal for rental houses; it can do both large and small areas, is easily transportable, and runs three hours on a battery charge.”
Clarke’s BEXT Pro 100H portable carpet extractor features the Carpet & Rug Institute’s (CRI) seal of approval for carpet extraction, which comes with LEED endorsement and the Green Seal Standard for Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services (GS-42). The unit cleans with 212-degree F heated water and can be used without soap, which lends to its green attraction. As Albrecht points out, the hot water sanitizes the carpet while cleaning 40 percent better than cold water.
The third product on his sustainable list is the company’s line of dust containment vacuums that can be attached to all Clarke sanders. “The vacuums eliminate the dust when performing a wide range of sanding jobs,” says Albrecht. “Four models are available, including a backpack model for small sanding jobs and three tank models.” An optional H.E.P.A. filter can be installed to meet federal regulations when sanding surfaces that may contain lead-based finish.
Powr-Flite also offers a complete line of carpet and floor care equipment, many products of which also cut down on the use of water and chemicals. “Our Multi-Wash micro automatic scrubber uses 30 percent less water and chemicals when used on a hard floor and 70 percent less when used on its low-moisture carpet mode,” Englund points out. “Our Predator 14 battery-powered automatic scrubber also features an eco-friendly, low-moisture system that saves on chemicals and water.”