By Alice Sinia
For the second consecutive year, Canada has ranked as a top country for LEED® green buildings. LEED is the internationally recognized mark of excellence for green building. Canada’s high ranking could be in response to growing consumer interest in protecting the environment. Food service establishments have followed the overall consumer interest trend of using environmentally friendly practices. Specifically, the food service industry has been increasingly adopting sustainability programs, products and services to bolster their corporate image. One easy but often overlooked solution to go green and meet LEED requirements is through proper pest management.
Canada’s LEED Rating System incorporates Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as a requirement for a green building. An IPM approach poses the least risks while maximizing results and reducing costs. It is also the most environmentally responsible approach to help eliminate pests through a balanced plan of using preventive measures such as proactive sanitation, facility maintenance and least-toxic strategies. The goal is to minimize the use of chemical treatments.
The following pest management best practices can help you earn points toward your LEED certification and become a better environmental steward.
Create a customized IPM plan
To ensure you’re following the correct requirements, contact a pest management provider that has experience in IPM and green practices. A qualified pest management professional can help you review the LEED Canada Rating System to determine how the requirements will best fit your establishment and create a customized IPM plan for your property. Your pest management professional should begin with an assessment of your establishment to determine pest pressures, both inside and out, as well as pest conducive conditions. Make sure your plan includes an outdoor as well as an indoor section as both are required for certification.
Cockroaches, ants, wasps, small flies and rodents are the most commonly found pests in the food service industry. To help prevent these pests from entering your establishment, work with your staff and pest management professional to eliminate the three survival elements – water, food and shelter – by inspecting the following:
- Entry points: Kitchen backdoors, windows and shipping/receiving areas and gaps around utility lines.
- Water sources: Restrooms, dish washing areas, air conditioner units and janitorial closets.
- Food sources: Food storage, dish washing areas and dumpster areas.
- Harborage points: Behind the cover plates of electrical outlets, inside cabinets or beverage machines, and under seating in dining areas, behind kitchen equipment, prep areas and cracks in baseboard and wall voids.
Review your maintenance program
Within your IPM program, your maintenance program should also be reviewed. Work with your team to ensure that the maintenance methods at your establishment are up to LEED standards. Below are a few maintenance efforts to include in your program:
- Exterior maintenance: Closely inspect the exterior of your establishment for any unnecessary openings, make sure to seal doors, windows, cracks, walls, or other potential pest entries with weather resistant sealant.
- Waste management: Remove waste daily, or more often if needed. Also, line and seal all trash cans, as pests are attracted to trash, and even small amounts of food waste can feed a large number of unwelcome pests.
- Cleaning solutions: Pests like to dine on the grease and grime in kitchens. Be sure to scrub all drains with a brush and an organic, environmentally responsible cleaning solution that contains naturally occurring bacteria and enzymes. Clean up spills immediately and fix any leaks in the area as that moisture can attract both insects and rodents.
Document your monitoring
To meet LEED requirements, your pest management provider must provide thorough and detailed communications on your pest management program. Make sure your IPM program incorporates the following documentation:
- Site diagram: A detailed site diagram showing the location of all pest control devices. All indoor and outdoor control devices should be numbered and represented on the layout map.
- Service report: Notes of observed pest activity and corrective actions taken.
- Inspection report: Notes of sanitation or structural conditions observed and addressed.
- Pesticide usage logs: If least-toxic pesticides are necessary, they must be recorded stating the pesticides’ trade name, registration number and active ingredient.
- Trend data: Tracks pest trends, such as times and places of increased pest activity.
By incorporating these best practices into your IPM program, you can help keep pests out of your establishment and earn credits toward your LEED certification.
About the author:
Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is Quality Assurance Manager – Regulatory/Lab Services for Orkin Canada focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. With more than 10 years of experience, she manages the Quality Assurance Laboratory for Orkin Canada and performs analytical entomology as well as provides technical support in pest/insect identification to branch offices and clients. For more information, email Alice Sinia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.orkincanada.com.