Residential & Dining Enterprises wants to share its recently recognized green cleaning system

RDE logoLast spring, Mirrielees resident ARJUN KUMAR, ’20, banished his bleach and ditched his disinfecting wipes. Instead, he scoured his apartment from countertops to toilet with a chemical-free cleaner from the tap in the laundry room. A machine attached to the tap uses electricity to create stabilized aqueous ozone (SAO), also known as “engineered water.” The solution is as effective as traditional chemicals with no environmental consequences.

“SAO cleans and disinfects any surface, with no toxic smell, and can even be used as a laundry detergent – and it’s free,” said Kumar, who trained students weekly to use the system. Kumar and other Mirrielees residents were participating in a student-dispensing pilot with Residential & Dining Enterprises’ (R&DE) new Student Housing Green Cleaning program. SAO can be used as a disinfectant for 24 hours and remains a multipurpose cleaner for up to seven days before converting back to water.

R&DE’s Green Cleaning program is the first of its kind at a West Coast university. The program was recently recognized with a best practice award by the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

“Adopting engineered water as our green cleaning standard made sense. It saves money and protects the environment, all while keeping our residences just as clean and safe for students,” said IMOGEN HINDS, executive director of student housing operations.

The best news is that the department wants to share. R&DE Student Housing is giving away three home engineered water systems. Any person affiliated with Stanford University is eligible to enter the raffle here.

The program began in 2015 as a student-suggested collaboration between R&DE Student Housing, Students for Sustainable Stanford and Delta Delta Delta sorority house. Students helped collect data on bacteria levels, and surveyed custodians and students on whether they felt their spaces were just as clean.

KRISTIN PARINEH, R&DE sustainability and utilities manager, hopes students will take engineered water out into the world after they leave Stanford.

“Our students are going to have their own places someday. We are planting a seed and hopefully making them more responsible for what they have to do for the planet. We’ve tested it, we know it works, so rely on us to feel confident to use it,” she said.

Read more about the new system and raffle.