We achieved a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council for our building. Our goal is to provide an environmentally responsible and healthy workplace for our employees.
In 2012, we earned an ENERGY STAR certification for the second time. To qualify, our building achieved a rating of 92 on EPA’s 1-100 energy performance scale, indicating that our building performed better than at least 92% of similar buildings nationwide.
Between 2006 and 2008, we installed over 120 photovoltaic panels on our roof to provide 17 KiloWatts of our energy for our building. Annual energy production has remained over 16,000 kWh every year with an average of about 18,500 kWh.
Most of the water from our south parking lot drains into a large bioswale that hosts native plants and helps to filter the water before it goes into our local watershed.
Our rooftop bee hive provides a great home for these busy critters who keep all of our local plants pollinated.
We donate many of our unusable electronics and product packaging to SCRAP, a local organization that finds creative ways to reuse waste products. In 2012, SCRAP diverted over 129 tons of usable material from the waste stream.
We collect food scraps from the kitchen, coffee grounds, grass clippings, and paper towels. Volunteers, called the worm wranglers, empty the scraps into the worm bin containing a colony of red wiggler worms. The worms turn this portion of our garbage into nutrient-rich compost that we use on plants around our building.
We give preference to:
We have two certified Master Recyclers, Janeen Sollman and Natalie Tunison, who work with many local recycling organizations to prevent recyclable materials from ending up in landfills.
We have a team of employees who meet to identify ways to continuously improve our policies and procedures, to educate employees on best recycling practices, and to organize contests and events about sustainability.
We provide both indoor and outdoor bike parking, a locker room, and showers for those who pedal to work.
Every Vernier employee is provided a free, full-access pass for Tri-Met, Portland’s award-winning public transportation system. Vernier’s building is a short walk (200 meters) from the Millikan Way light rail station, making public transportation a viable way to commute to work.
In addition to providing priority parking for hybrid and electric vehicles, in 2011 we installed an electric-vehicle charging station. We use an electric Zapcar for short runs between our main building and our warehouse. 10% of Vernier employees own hybrid, plug in hybrid, or pure electric vehicles.
We encourage employees to walk, bike, take public transit, or carpool to work as much as possible. Each month we have a drawing for everyone who participates (four days or more) to win a $20 gift card from a local business of their choice.
Vernier’s generous warranty means that our products last much longer than most electronics and provide years of classroom use.
94% of our vendors are US based businesses. Of those US vendors, 23% are either OR based or operate offices in OR that we directly do business through. 7% of those vendors are in neighboring WA, between Seattle and Vancouver.
We constantly strive to reduce or eliminate waste from our packaging and use recycled products.
We also work with our vendors to help make other companies’ products cleaner. As a result of our repeated requests, many of our suppliers have stopped using styrofoam packing peanuts. By encouraging them to go green we spread the message that green is the way to go.
Each year, we organize a group of company volunteers to work with SOLVE to clean up trash, remove invasive species, and take other measures to keep Oregon clean.
In conjunction with a non-profit group, Friends of Trees, we planted 200 trees in the wetlands near our office.
Vernier developed a partnership with Earthshare so that our employees are able to make regular payroll contributions to over 70 environmental and conservation groups. These conservation groups have accomplished a lot to keep people healthy, reduce the impact of global warming and preserve wildlife habitat.
Vernier supports the local chapter of the Nature Conservancy with volunteer hours and financial donations.
We annually contribute to many environmental and other socially responsible charities. In fact, we earned an award for outstanding philanthropic companies.