University of Wisconsin-Madison

UWM CHOOSES SAO

We have 41 stabilized aqueous ozone dispensers in our buildings and it is still a much cheaper way to clean and sanitize versus using chemicals. In our first year, with just one dispenser in one building, we saved over $6,000. Today, we’re saving over $25,000 a year by not buying chemicals.

Jodi Krause, Assistant Director of Housekeeping
University of Wisconsin - Madison, Division of Housing

Quick Facts

  • 45,000 students attend the university’s 13 schools and colleges
  • Campus covers 935 acres
  • School ranks #4 in U.S. for Academic Research
  • #1 most active Twitter account in U.S higher education

University of Wisconsin, Madison logo

“This university leads the U.S. in research,” states the always cheerful Krause. “So naturally we always look for opportunities to be more innovative in our cleaning and maintenance programs.” That opportunity presented itself in 2012 when a supplier encouraged Krause to try stabilized aqueous ozone instead of traditional chemicals to clean and sanitize. “I was the most skeptical person of all—I took a ‘show me’ attitude.”

Krause, who helps oversee a staff of 80 cleaning two million square feet across 28 Residence Hall buildings on three shifts, installed just a few units to clean bathrooms at first. She approached the situation like one of the university’s researchers: “We would clean normally with chemicals one day, then switch to the aqueous ozone the next day,” she explains. “At the end of each day we examined the surfaces with an ATP meter. The positive results really surprised me and after a year, I was sold. I wanted to switch.”

“Over the 18 years I’ve been here, our staff would regularly complain of breathing problems and skin rashes when we were using chemicals. After we switched to aqueous ozone, the complaints literally stopped.” Krause notes the residents even noticed a difference: “The students have told me they appreciate the hallways no longer smell like chemicals, the counters aren’t sticky from residue, and the carpets don’t crunch.”

All of the residence halls on the campus are multiple stories high, some ten or eleven stories and while Krause wanted a dispenser for every floor, she didn’t have the budget at the beginning for that. She approached the university’s capital expense group: could they retro-fit the dorms with piping that would circulate the aqueous ozone from the top floor down through the building with a mini-dispenser on each floor? The group agreed and Krause was off to the races. “Even with the capital expense from all the plumbing, we’re still saving money,” she says.

“It’s a great system,” Krause states. “We clean and sanitize the ceramic, glass, and chrome in bathrooms, common areas, laundry rooms, kitchens, computer labs, and even the medical areas in our University Health Services office.”

Does she miss the chemicals? “No, we’ll never go back. Everyone here has embraced it. Today, staff and students naturally demand sustainability and alternative ways of doing things. With the aqueous ozone system, we’re saving money, we’re greener, and my staff is healthier. Why would I ever use chemicals again?”