HEALTHY HOME GUIDE
for Residents of [INSERT Project Name]
[INSERT developer’s name]
RE: Adapting and Customizing the Green O&M Manuals for Other Development Projects
A Green Operations & Maintenance Manual for ___ has been developed for use by the development’s
management and maintenance staff, along with a Healthy Home Guide for the project’s residents.
When preparing to use one of the template documents as a model, please review the entire document in order to identify the content that is or is not applicable to your own project. The template manuals do not provide comprehensive information on all building systems and materials, and the template cannot be used wholesale. Every project is unique and specific content will inevitably need to be removed, modified, and added to the template document to make it relevant to your project. [Insert name of project and unit
configuration]. As such, the manual covers aspects of green O&M that are unique to this population and this type of housing.
To supplement the information provided in the manuals, management and maintenance staff should also refer to the manufacturer and product information provided by the project’s General Contractor, including Owner’s and Operating Manuals, product specifications, and warranty information for specific equipment
and systems, as well as preventive maintenance schedules for routine pre- and post-warranty maintenance, and as-built drawings. The owner, property management, and maintenance staff should also reference and integrate this manual’s green recommendations into any existing property management and building maintenance manuals and other key reference documents for this project.
Lastly, please bear in mind that the manual serves as only one part of a comprehensive Green O&M Plan and Program that should be established for the project. To implement a successful green O&M program, the manual must be used in conjunction with other ongoing strategies and activities, such as:
1) On-site trainings for staff and residents to ensure that the best practices are understood and
carried out (this manual can be used to help guide the training curriculum). Have knowledgeable
staff and residents educate new staff and residents who arrive. Also consider developing incentive
programs to encourage the proper implementation of best practices.
2) Signage, where it would help to provide reminders or clarification on specific green practices,
maintenance products to use or avoid, or special settings for equipment. (Whether permanent or
temporary, the signage should be made from green materials, e.g., non-PVC, recycled content
materials with low-toxic adhesives.)
3) Green procurement/purchasing policies and service contracts (e.g., for vendors/suppliers of
cleaning supplies, paper goods, fluorescent lamps, paint and adhesives).
4) Ongoing monitoring and commissioning of all building systems, and adjustment of settings and
controls, to ensure that systems are operating as intended and at optimized efficiency.
It would be beneficial to designate a member of the on-site management staff as the point person in charge of monitoring and coordinating all of the development’s green operations and maintenance activities.
Healthy Home Guide
for Residents of [Project Name]
Healthy Home Guide 2 [Project Name]
[Notes and items that might need to modified or customized are inserted in brackets and/or highlighted in yellow throughout. Review and address or remove these notes prior to the final printing.]
This document is based on a guide that was prepared by M. Landman Communications & Consulting on behalf of Enterprise Community Partners, for The Plaza Apartments in San Francisco.
The parties involved in the funding or creation of this manual make no representations or warranties with respect to the contents and specifically disclaim any implied warranties or fitness for any particular purpose. No endorsement of named products is intended, nor is criticism implied of products that are not mentioned. Enterprise reserves the right to revise this manual without obligation to notify any person of such revision.
[Insert publication date]
Healthy Home Guide 3 [Project Name]
Healthy Home Guide
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to Keep Your Home Clean and Healthy
A. Housekeeping and Cleaning
B. Trash and Recycling
C. Pest Control
D. Smoking Policy
How to Save Energy and Water
; Green Materials and Systems in [Project Name]
; Resources for More Information on Green Housing
; Recycling Collection sheet
; Transit Map[May or May Not apply]
[Review and adjust all page numbers once the guide has been finalized, formatted and
Healthy Home Guide 4 [Project Name]
Welcome to [Project Name]!
[Insert some general information on the project and its sustainability goals, achievements, benefits, etc.
To keep the building healthy and to conserve natural resources, it is important that residents (and maintenance staff) clean, maintain, and operate the building using green and healthy products and practices. This guide is meant to help residents do that. It presents some of the things that you can do to keep your home environment clean, green, and healthy. Many of these things are easy to do, and all of them are worth the time and effort.
We hope that you will use this guide and we hope that it will help you to maintain an enjoyable living environment at [Project Name].
In addition to this guide, you should also have owner’s manuals for the appliances in your apartment; please refer to those manuals for information on maintaining your appliances. If you do not have those manuals, request them from a building manager. And if anything breaks in your apartment, or if you need some other type of maintenance or repair help, please contact your management agent by calling [ insert telephone number and primary contact person or other preferred method of contacting maintenance].
Healthy Home Guide 5 [Project Name]
How to Keep Your Home Clean and Healthy
This part of the manual includes sections on housekeeping and cleaning, trash and recycling, pest control, and the building’s smoking policy.
A. HOUSEKEEPING AND CLEANING
It’s important to take care of your home, to keep it clean and pest-free, and to clean it using safe
products, in order to help protect your health and maintain a pleasant living environment. Here are some recommendations on general housekeeping practices, cleaning products, and clothes cleaning.
General Housekeeping Tips
NOTE: Remove/Insert/Amend the below Tips specific to your property
; Sweep the floors of your apartment regularly (preferably at least once a week), and mop
the hard surface flooring whenever it starts to get dirty or sticky.
; Vacuum the carpet regularly. Dirt and dust get trapped in carpet, and they can trigger
allergy symptoms and asthma.
; Wash any dirty dishes daily and clean kitchen surfaces with a damp cloth whenever they
; If water or any liquid is spilled on the carpet, sop it up immediately with a dry towel or
rag. Mildew and mold can develop in carpeting that stays wet too long.
; Wipe up any puddles of water from your bathroom or kitchen floor.
; If your toilet overflows and you can’t get it to stop, report it to maintenance staff
; If you see discoloration on surfaces (white, orange, green, brown, or black), see cracked
or discolored grout, or smell a musty odor, it might be mold or mildew. Clean the areas
with baking soda or borax. If the discoloration does not go away or gets worse, notify the
building maintenance/management staff, as mold can cause serious health problems if it
is not addressed.
; Open windows whenever there are odors, fumes from cleaning products or other
chemicals, or excess moisture in your apartment. Also use a fan to help air out the room.
; When you are using your stove, turn on the rangehood fan if the cooking is creating any
smoke, steam or odors.
; Clean the grease filter on your stove’s rangehood when any grease builds up; if you have
questions about how to clean the grease filter, please ask the Maintenance staff.
; Don’t use bristly brushes or other abrasive products when cleaning, as they can leave
; Throw out and replace used sponges and cloths/rags if they’re dirty or smelly.
; When using a cleaning product, read its label and follow the instructions for using and
storing the product.
; Don’t mix different cleaning products together (unless specifically recommended or
unless they are benign, non-reactive, non-toxic substances).
; Glues, adhesives, paints, and other household products often contain volatile organic
compounds (VOCs), which contribute to indoor air pollution (as well as to outdoor smog).
Try to choose products that are labeled as “low-VOC” or “non-toxic,” whenever possible.
Healthy Home Guide 6 [Project Name]
Cleaning your home is important because it helps remove harmful contaminants, such as mold and bacteria. But many conventional cleaning products can also cause health problems. The use of toxic cleaning products can be a particular problem for people who have health conditions such as asthma or allergies or who have chemical sensitivities or weak immune systems. Some cleaning products can cause headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, respiratory irritation and asthma, eye irritation or worse; some contain cancer-causing substances, reproductive toxins, central nervous system toxins, and endocrine system/hormone disruptors.
Fortunately, many alternative, non-toxic cleaning products are now available. And you can find some good, inexpensive products that aren’t even located in the cleaning products aisle at the store. Some very basic and multi-purpose household substances can be used as safe and effective alternative cleaning solutions for most household cleaning jobs; these substances include baking
soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, and salt, as well as hydrogen peroxide and borax. Borax and
baking soda are especially versatile household products; they can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, baking soda will clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces (just dissolve a few tablespoons in some warm water, or use the baking soda directly on a damp sponge). A combination of baking soda, hot water, and vinegar can clear drains. And borax, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide can remove stains and mildew. Alternatively, using a mild soap (like dishwashing detergent or a liquid/Castile soap) with some water will clean most
Here is one recipe for a non-toxic, all-purpose cleaner (for cleaning countertops, floors, walls, etc.); but these ingredients can be used separately, as well:
1 quart warm water
1 teaspoon liquid soap
1 teaspoon borax
? cup undiluted white vinegar
Mix ingredients and store in a spray bottle.
If you’re selecting a more conventional cleaning product (from the cleaning products aisle) at the store, look for products that are labeled as non-toxic, low VOC or zero VOC, and/or
biodegradable. Also look for unscented products (some people are allergic to certain fragrances) and products with recyclable packaging/containers.
Products to avoid:
Avoid the use of chlorine bleach unless it’s absolutely necessary to use such a strong disinfectant. Hydrogen peroxide is a good alternative to chlorine bleach. Never use undiluted chlorine bleach
or ammonia; both of these can cause major respiratory irritation. Also avoid most “anti-bacterial”
and “anti-microbial” products; use of such products can cause germs to become resistant to
Read product labels, including the small print. As a general rule, you should avoid all products that are labeled “Danger—Poison.” (Products with “Warning” labels are also dangerous, but less so, and products labeled with “Caution” are the least harmful of the three, though they can still be hazardous.) Also avoid products that are labeled as “Corrosive,” “Severely Irritating,” “Highly Healthy Home Guide 7 [Project Name]
Flammable,” or “Highly Combustible.” And avoid aerosols when possible; they often contain
substances that are flammable and that can contribute to indoor air quality problems.
Avoid using most “air freshener” products, especially if their labels say that they contain para-
dichlorobenzene. Ingredients like this can cause headaches and other health problems. Also avoid using mothballs; instead, store wool items in plastic bags or airtight containers, and if there is a moth problem, you can kill the moth eggs by washing the affected garments in hot water or putting them in the freezer for a few days.
The building’s laundry room is located [INSERT project specific information here].
Choose a laundry detergent that is labeled as phosphate-free, biodegradable, and/or non-toxic.
(Also consider selecting an unscented product.) Such products include borax and Arm & Hammer’s Washing Soda or equivalent . Only a small amount of detergent is necessary; do not use more than the amount that is recommended in the instructions on the box/container.
When you are done drying your clothes, please clean the lint out of the dryer’s lint filter. This will help the dryer work better for the next person who uses it (and it also prevents the lint from becoming a fire hazard).
Healthy Home Guide 8 [Project Name]
B. TRASH AND RECYCLING
Your apartment should have a small blue recycling can, along with a trash can.[May or May Not Apply] Please put all recyclable materials into the blue can, separated from the trash.
There is a trash room [Insert building specific information here]. Empty the contents of your recycling can into the hallway trash room’s recycling bin [before putting recyclable bottles and
cans into the recycling bins, please rinse them out with water, so that they don’t attract pests.]
The materials that can be recycled are [Modify to be town/city specific]:
; Paper: All types, including newspaper, cardboard (unwaxed), paperboard (e.g.,
cereal boxes without the lining bag), office paper, envelopes (plastic windows OK),
junk mail, magazines and catalogs, milk cartons, paper egg cartons, phonebooks,
wrapping paper, etc.
; Aluminum cans and foil
; Glass bottles and jars
; Plastic bottles (#1 through 7)
; Plastic tubs and lids (#2, 4, and 5 only: check the number on the bottom)
; Spray cans (empty)
; Tin (steel) cans
Materials that cannot be recycled include: juice boxes, light bulbs, plastic bags, styrofoam, ceramic dishes, coat hangers, waxed cardboard, mirrors, and window glass. Do not put these types of items or any trash into recycling bins.
All of the recyclables listed above can be put into any recycling bins located in the trash rooms on each floor in the building; the items do not need to be separated according to the different types of recyclable materials. They just need to be kept separate from garbage.
Check out the Recycling Collection sheet that is in the Appendix at the back of this guide; the sheet includes pictures of the various types of recyclable materials.[Insert Guide]
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Hazardous waste materials may not be thrown in the garbage. They must be dropped off at the appropriate [insert location of hazardous waste material disposal site in your town/city] facility for safe disposal or recycling, so that they don’t contribute to the contamination of the air, water, or soil.
Hazardous waste materials include:
; chemical cleaning supplies
; batteries (all types)
; fluorescent lamps/light bulbs
; paint, paint thinners, primers, stains and other finishes
; toxic glues and adhesives
; medical/biohazard waste (including needles)
; pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizer
; computers, TVs, and other electronic equipment
Healthy Home Guide 9 [Project Name]
; printer/copier ink/toner
; used motor oil
; compressed gases
A staff member might be able to drop the items off for you, along with the building’s
maintenance materials [include if applicable]
Healthy Home Guide 10 [Project Name]