Conscious Custodians

The University of Alabama custodial staff is a great asset to our campus and community. Beyond providing students, faculty and staff with clean, comfortable spaces, they also strive to be as energy efficient as possible. Custodians have a drastic impact on the amount of energy expended by the university. Collectively, they occupy virtually all spaces on campus. Greg Gettings, Director of Custodial Services, indicated that nearly 250 custodians are currently staffed. Considering this vast number of employees and their constant use of campus spaces, it’s undeniable that they are a substantial influence to UA’s overall carbon footprint.

Shonna Evans has served on UA’s custodial staff for eleven years. She is an exemplary employee who aims to be energy conscious without compromising the quality of her cleaning. She shared that she often cleans without turning on lights when natural light is available through windows. She added that the custodians opt to clean with cold water versus warm whenever possible (only if cold water is sufficient. Tasks that require warm water, such as mopping, still utilize warm water). These minor efforts eventually amount to major savings, when the frequent cleaning done by this plentiful team is taken into account.

Trish Lee serves as the Manager of Training & Operations for Custodial Services. She added that custodians always carpool to their destinations, which saves energy and fuel costs while reducing pollution. This carpooling can range from two to four custodians in one vehicle. This also results in monumental savings, as it cuts the need for vehicles in half, at the very least.

Gettings added that green ratings are taken into account when considering what equipment to purchase. The custodians also take caution when setting up their materials to ensure that their tasks aren’t requiring an abundance of energy.

Custodians can make a difference on campus in saving energy and water every day.

  • Turn off lights in unoccupied spaces
  • Turn off monitors and projectors in unoccupied spaces
  • Submit work order requests for toilets and urinals that are constantly running water
  • Submit work order requests for faucets that run water constantly or drip constantly
  • Report any exterior doors that do not close or seal properly
  • Carpool to reduce vehicle use on campus

The efforts of our University of Alabama custodians are greatly appreciated. We hope their story inspires conservation efforts from other members of the community.