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Stuart O'Brien

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Aquateck – Better cleaning solutions – pure and simple

Aquateck from Oxfordshire company GreenTeck Global is a just-launched, innovative, product that looks set to make waves in the commercial cleaning market.

The process is environmentally friendly, green, cost-effective, efficient and safe… since it starts and ends with ordinary a salty brine.

Tap water is fed through a standard water softener and salt is added (0.5 gms per litre – sea water is approximately 30 gms per litre). This solution is then passed through the Aquateck electrolysis unit. 

The result is known as AW (Activated Water) contains FAC Freely accessible Chlorine– the world’s strongest natural steriliser – and chlorine (5 ppm, compared to around 1.5 ppm for water in a swimming pool) and produced at a rate of around seven litres a minute.

This AW can be used in a number of ways: spray-bottle applicators, direct application to surfaces, mop and buckets and even via industrial Floor cleaners; effectively replacing the need for aggressive and expensive chemical cleaners,

In a spray-bottle, the AW solution remains active for around 72 hours, but after use there is even no need to rinse because as it works it degrades back to ordinaryH20 and salt.

Greenteck Global already manufactures and markets a range of airborne ozone generators, but its founder David Thurston has high hopes for Aquateck across a wide range of markets that includes care homes and nursing homes, hotels and motels, conference and exhibition facilities, student accommodation / halls of residence in universities, colleges and schools.

Extensive scientific trials of the Aquateck unit have just been completed at the Burlington Court Care Home in Northampton with remarkably impressive results.  The large, modern, home has more than 100 residents and is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC, so standards are already high.

Swab tests for Recoverable Live Units (RLUs) were taken both before and after cleaning in different locations around the home on a daily basis and the AW was used in direct competition with the products used in the home’s established cleaning regime.  These sites included:

  • Door push plates – where frequent use means cross-contamination could be an issue
  • Handrails on staircases – also used regularly by staff and residents
  • Food contact surfaces – prone to bacteria unless cleaned regularly and thoroughly
  • Sluice room – lower than expected starting readings, possibly because of regular use with existing chemicals
  • A separate trial was also undertaken in one specific bedroom where staff had identified a persistent odour problem that was proving resistant to treatment.

The results across the fortnight of the trial showed that AW outperformed the existing chemicals across all the test areas: with the exception of just one day where it is believed there may have been an issue with the water supply prior to it entering the activation process.

Pre-cleaning swabs showed lower levels of RLUs, there was a significantly greater per centage reduction in the number of RLUs after cleaning and it appears AW gave greater and longer protection against the reappearance of RLUs.  In the bedroom trial, where carpets were treated using AW in home’s own steam-cleaner, staff reported a dramatic reduction in the odour and noted that this seemed to be an on-going improvement.

Burlington Court is owned by Tej Sehmi, along with two other homes in the area, with a new, fourth one currently under construction and due to open next year.  He said: “It is fair to say we were very, very impressed with the results.

“It certainly seems we were getting at least as good – if not better results – than with our existing regime.  However we could certainly save money by not having to buy the range of chemical products we currently use.

“These products are aggressive and there is potentially the risk of a serious incident if they are misused or accidentally mixed. We have to have COSHH training for our staff to make sure they understand how to use these chemicals and the dangers associated.  Whereas with the Aquateck unit there are no COSHH requirements because it is absolutely safe to use.  It is also true to say that our staff really liked using the AW because it was literally as easy as turning on the tap . . . odourless, completely safe to use and so no significant risk of any accident.”

David Thurston, who has been involved in the ‘ozone industry’ for around ten years, including time spent in Chine, the USA and Central America where it is already big business, added: “We are really grateful to Tej and all his staff at Burlington Court for giving us the opportunity to carry out this capability demonstrator in the field so to speak.

“I have known for a while just how effective our AW is and we have installations of our other trioxygen generators to back that up, but it is always nice to be able to produce results and hard data to back them up in a real, live working environment.”

5 Minutes With… Bruce McDonnell, Incentive FM

In the latest instalment of our FM executive interview series, we spoke to Bruce McDonnell, Managing Director at Incentive FM, about his company, industry issues, careers advice and Peaky Blinders…

Tell us about your company, products and services

At Incentive FM we self-deliver the full range of TFM services.  Our model is open book, fully transparent and our aim is to work in true partnership with our clients as trusted advisors.

What have been the biggest challenges the FM industry has faced over the past 12 months?

The effects of Carillion and other struggling businesses has placed nervousness with clients and supply chain alike.  Brexit has, and is bringing its own challenges regarding the uncertainty and shifting rules around EU nationals working and applying for settled status as well as the whole debate over supply from the EU, the impact that may bring and identifying clear resilient processes to keep the wheels turning.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

I think the biggest opportunities for us as a business is that we are in a unique space in the market, we are not a huge multinational bottom line focussed corporate like many of our competitors.  Instead we are fully independent, truly listen to our clients, we are empowered to make the right decisions and focussed on working with businesses to develop long term sustainable partnerships.  We are seeing more and more clients looking for that independent partnership way of working.

What is the biggest priority for the FM industry in 2019?

People! We need to make sure that our people are at the heart of everything we do.  The nervousness discussed already ripples through to employees and that coupled with Brexit and other factors mean that as always for us we need to keep our teams informed, be a good employer, reward and recognise great performance and live our vision of “to have staff who love working for us and clients who love working with us”.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2019?

There is a lot of excited buzz around Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things along with other smarter ways of working.  For us, harnessing this technology to deliver real value to our clients and the industry is essential.  There are a lot of white elephants out there so we all need to tread carefully and confidently in this emerging market.  There are a lot of financial pressures in the industry, particularly in retail and clients are keen to see strategies that harness technology output to deliver savings.  This will only become more prevalent.  Working smart is nothing new, everyone needs to focus on evolution and how we adapt our overall approach to match future demands.  Innovation isn’t just a clever widget or system, its doing things differently to enhance what or how we do things to deliver value.

In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?

As a fan of all things winter sport related I’m sure I will be talking about the Bejing winter Olympics.  I’m fairly certain there will also be some talk of the football World Cup too!

Which person in, or associated with, the FM industry would you most like to meet?

 The Home Secretary, National Security is part of facilities management for our nation isn’t it?

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the FM sector?

The fact that it is the third largest employment sector in the UK behind the NHS and construction.

You go to the bar at the Facilities Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

Japanese whisky served with a smile!

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Working with great teams. 

And what’s the most challenging?

Sustaining the culture and values as we grow.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Leave problems and challenges on the wave behind and focus on the gap in the waves in-front of you! (I heard this from Humphrey Walters and his learnings from sailing around the world in the toughest yacht race, the BT Global Challenge).

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

Peaky Blinders!

Confirm your place on the Facilities Management Forum guest list

There’s a free place reserved for you at the Facilities Management Forum. Are you able to join 60 of your fellow professionals?

27 & 28 January 2020 – Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

This unique event is entirely FREE for you to attend – simply reserve your place here for the opportunity to:-

  • Source new innovative and budget-saving suppliers
  • Attend inspirational seminar sessions from industry thought-leaders
  • Network with like-minded peers
  • Complimentary overnight accommodation, plus all meals and refreshments.
  • Enjoy our networking dinner.

RSVP now to avoid disappointment!

Do you specialise in FM Software? We want to hear from you!

Each month on FM Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the facilities management market – and in October we’ll be focussing on FM software solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help FM industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of FM software and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Paige Aitken on p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

October – FM Software

November – Business Continuity

December – Fire Safety & Equipment

For more information on any of the above, contact Paige Aitken on p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk.

Sustainability Pays: How to take care of the planet and your profits

Being good to the environment is great for your business finances.

Taking control of your own energy needs – using onsite generation and storage – can reduce costs and cut carbon emissions. It will also protect your business from energy supply disruption.    

Download our research report to discover the 4 steps you can take to accelerate your energy sustainability and improve your profits.  

FREE REPORT: Why sustainability is good for business

Sustainable businesses see energy as an opportunity, not a financial burden.

They’re exploiting distributed energy technologies, such as onsite generation and storage, to cut costs and carbon emissions. This also increases operational resilience and enhances reputation.  

Download our research report to see the 4 steps you can take to accelerate your energy sustainability and improve your business performance.

CASE STUDY: How trioxygen is cleaning up on campus

A new generation of powerful deodorisers and sanitizers is helping clean up on campuses across the UK.

The Gteck range from Oxford-based Greenteck Global is harnessing the power of trioxygen – and elemental force as old as the planet itself – to provide high-tech cleaning solutions for the 21st Century.

Trioxygen, or ozone (O3) occurs naturally in our atmosphere, most noticeably in the Ozone Layer high above the Earth’s surface, and is produced by lightning over the oceans. People visiting the coast often say they can ‘smell the ozone’.

The Gteck units use UV light to produce trioxygen in carefully controlled amounts and rates. The extra electron in the oxygen (O3) ‘attacks’ odours, grease, mould spores and even smoke damage.

But at the end of the process the O3 simply decays back to normal oxygen (O2). So as well as providing significant cost-saving benefits compared with using traditional, aggressive, chemical cleaning methods, the Gteck system is safe, easy-to-use and environmentally friendly.

Greenteck Global produces a range of units from one small and simply enough to plug in to a standard electrical socket to provide constant background deodorising to the powerful 64 g generator that can be used for ‘shock-treatment’ in a particularly badly affected room /location.

There is also a Gteck Destruct unit: fully compatible with the generators; that will operate automatically at the end of a cleaning cycle to neutralise any unused trioxygen.

In addition to the standard deodorising / sanitising the units can also be installed with – or retro-fitted to – extraction systems in commercial kitchens to degrease and remove cooking odours.

For universities and colleges one of the main uses for trioxygen is in student accommodation / halls of residence.  This is especially true at this time of year when cold, wet, weather means the heating is turned up, windows are kept closed, dirty, wet, clothing is often left piled in corners and so mould and odour are almost perennial problems.

Over the past year Greenteck Global has sold / installed units to universities up and down the country, including: Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford Brookes, Royal Holloway University of London, Falmouth and Optivo Welkin Halls of Residence Eastbourne.

  • Cardiff – uses the plug-in units to control malodour in student rooms 
  • Leeds – has now purchased wall-mounted Aura units for a number of stair wells where there were issues with malodour migrating up stair wells onto other floors, this was, in part, from Mould .They also purchased the Airteck 10000pd unit which they use for quick turnaround rooms where they have malodour caused by students eating , smoking in rooms, plug-in units are also used in student rooms again for background control of living style odours.
  • Manchester – purchased the Aura unit and a Airteck5000p. The Aura unit was installed in a corridor directly opposite toilets where they had a particular difficulty: the corridor leads to management offices so the pungent odour migrated into the main reception area.
  • Oxford Brookes – purchased the AirTeck 10000pd for the main gymnasium. The gym is particularly busy with around 30 rowing machines – Brookes now ozonates the gym overnight to remove malodour and freshen the air space for the following day.
  • Royal Holloway – had a major mould issue in a five bedroomed student house.  GTG deployed the AirTeck 1664 ozone shock system to remove the mould from five rooms with major mould issues on walls.
  • Falmouth – purchased a number of plug-in units used for odour control in specific student rooms.
  • Optivo Welkin – the site has a 5000p unit currently on trial for use in old accommodation with mould issues.

From Manchester Emily Taylor, Deputy Head of Facilities Management, commented: “The Aura unit really helped us manage the smell from two heavily used toilets in an awkward area: where nothing else we tried eliminated the nasty smells.  Everyone has commented on the genius system.”

While David Thurston, founder and head of Greenteck Global added: “Following on from participating at the CUBO summer conference last July, we have had a fantastic response from a number of universities.  Initial site trials have now concluded with our ozone units being deployed permanently.

“Ozone now plays a major part in day-to-day housekeeping regimes and we have proved that ozone is a far more affective on all malodour issues from student life-style to mould and wash room related odours.

“We are extremely pleased with the response so far and continue to get fresh enquiries from Universities battling with the extract same issues. We continue to support the university sector with our products and services and welcome fresh enquiries to trial our systems.”

The advantages of using smart technologies in commercial buildings

As the UK Government pledges to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the urge for sustainable buildings is stronger than ever.

According to the UK Green Building Council, an estimated 40% of the UK’s carbon footprint is attributed to the built environment, half of which comes from energy used in building. Heating alone created 10% of the country’s carbon footprint. 

Yet sustainability is still out of reach for many property owners and managers. Old buildings, small budgets, tenants’ varying needs – there are many factors that make it hard for a property manager to truly measure the sustainability of a building and to act upon any findings.

Considering this, Frankie Bryon, Sustainability Surveyor at LSH discusses why smart technology can help buildings improve on sustainability as well introduce other benefits that include promoting health and wellbeing and enable agile working…

Smart is sustainable
Firms’ sustainability strategies have been a major driver of the rollout of smart technology. By providing more efficient controls over energy usage, it can deliver significant reductions in energy consumption.

It is no coincidence that some of the smartest office buildings in the world are also rated by BREEAM as among the greenest. Smart systems allow lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation to be monitored and adjusted according to a building’s usage and occupation. Energy wastage can be minimised by turning off heating and lighting when an office is unoccupied. Intelligent building facades may also be used to control the heat and light entering the building in response to changing weather conditions.

The next generation of energy efficient smart buildings have their own sources of power generation and some are even able to generate more energy than they consume, with surplus energy going back to the grid.

Workplace wellbeing
Smart technology is increasingly recognised as having an important role to play in promoting health and wellbeing. It can help to create environments that support alert, energised workforce. 

Sensors can monitor air and water quality, light, temperature and noise levels. Issues known to affect workers’ concentration levels such as poor air quality or a lack of natural light can thus be detected and fixed.

More advanced smart office technology can also make use of data from wearable biometric devices monitoring the health and comfort of workers. In fact, research by Instant Offices shows 45% of the UK workforce would feel comfortable with sharing information via wearable devices for the purpose of protecting their health and wellbeing. 

Ambient conditions can be adjusted when workers show signs of discomfort, or an individual’s immediate working environment can be changed according to their personal preferences.

Work smarter

Sensors, smartphones or wearable devices may collect data monitoring environmental factors such as temperature, light, air quality and noise, as well as data on employees’ usage of the building.

The data collected can deliver building managers with actionable insights on how to improve a building’s performance, or it may feed through to automated systems controlling the office environment. With smart technology continually evolving, it is being used to support an increasingly wide range of applications, providing multiple benefits to building owners, investors, occupiers and employees.

Enabling agile working
Smart technology is providing occupiers with a better understanding of who uses the office at any given time, how they work and with whom they collaborate. These insights can enable increasingly agile, flexible working.

Some of the newest generation of smart buildings have fewer desks than workers. Instead, employees may reserve a workspace using an app, with a choice of spaces depending on whether they would prefer a collaborative workspace, private meeting area or a quiet space.

Smart systems may thus facilitate a move away from the convention of employees ‘owning’ a desk, which then goes unused for periods when they are out of the office. Flexible workspaces can be used more efficiently and may be continually adapted to changing employee demand and new work styles.

Improving workplace experiences
As well as enabling desk and room bookings, workplace apps can also be used to order food and drink, book gym sessions or reserve parking spaces. They may allow employees to control ambient settings, as well as providing new ways of connecting and collaborating with colleagues.

Workplace apps are thus developing as important interfaces between employees and office buildings, giving individuals greater control over their office experience. This will help to align the modern office with the expectations of a younger workforce for whom smart technology already plays an integral part of their lifestyles outside of work.

The benefits of being smart
Overall the advantages that smart offices offer are in terms of the following:

  • Sustainability
  • Employee wellbeing
  • Agile working 
  • Workplace experience

Smart offices also aid talent attraction and retention, by creating spaces in which people want to work, while appealing to workers’ environmental values. Modern, sustainable offices can help to reinforce a company’s brand values and define a progressive, forward-thinking corporate culture.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Bring a friend to the FM Christmas Party!

Join us at the FM Christmas Party, hosted by the FM Forum and FMJ.

It’s set to be the FM industry’s networking event of the year, taking place on the evening of Wednesday November 27th at the plush private members club Beat London.

Early Bird tickets are priced at just £35 which includes entrance, drinks and canapes.

Book yours today to avoid disappointment. And bring a friend or colleague!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Your invitation to the Facilities Management Forum

We would like to invite you to attend the Facilities Management Forum as a VIP guest – sign up today!

RSVP here today!

This unique event takes place on January 27th & 28th 2020 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted.

The Forum will give you access to innovative and budget-saving suppliers for a series of pre-arranged, face-to-face meetings based on your requirements. You can also attend a series of seminars, and network with like-minded peers.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our networking dinner, are included with your free VIP ticket.

Please confirm your attendance here.

Places are limited, so register today or contact us to avoid disappointment.