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Sustainability

Sustainability

Environmental stewardship is core to our mission.

After more than 30 years of incorporating this ethic into our business practices, it’s become second nature to us.

One example: we built our manufacturing facility with a focus on efficiency and sustainability. By investing in advanced technologies and powering our building with renewable energy, we’ve minimized our ecological footprint and essentially prepaid our energy bill for the long term. Likewise, our long-standing commitment to lean manufacturing has increased our flexibility and productivity, reduced costs and waste, and enabled us to maintain tight controls on product quality.

Our efforts have been recognized by both regional and national organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, Winning Workplaces, Best Places to Work, and the Vermont Governor’s Office.

Here are some of the ways that we work sustainably every day:

Energy

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings consume more than 40 percent of the energy used in the U.S. With this in mind, we chose to power our manufacturing facility with 100 percent renewable energy generated onsite. By making a substantial investment in solar power and energy efficiency, we are avoiding CO2 emissions and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

Renewable Energy

Our building is powered by a 199.1 kW solar photovoltaic system and a 10 kW wind turbine. We also have building-mounted PV panels and roof-mounted solar collectors that use the sun’s energy to heat our main domestic hot water tank.

Heating/Cooling

A highly efficient radiant heating and cooling system provides optimal comfort and climate control in the building. Water circulates through twelve miles of tubing in the building’s concrete floors—in the winter, warm water is circulated; in the summer, cool water is circulated.

Energy Efficiency

Our building’s walls and roof are airtight and super-insulated. The warehouse walls consist of four-inch foam, steel-skinned panels, and the office walls have three inches of sprayed-on foam. Triple glass windows filled with insulating argon gas slow heat flow to the outside in winter and reduce heat gain in summer.

Materials

According to Worldwatch Institute, buildings use 40 percent of raw materials globally. When constructing our new facility, we paid close attention to where the products we chose were made and how they were manufactured. We source locally made and earth- and human-friendly materials whenever possible.

Reuse + Recycle

Recycling receptacles throughout the facility encourage employees to recycle. We also compost our paper towels and food waste, which is then used to fertilize the company gardens. In addition, our facility’s steel structure contains 90 percent recycled content comprised of recycled cans, cars, and appliances, and the tiles in our bathrooms are made from recycled automobile windshields.

Natural Resources

More than half of the wood in our building is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, which means that it is sustainably grown and harvested. Meeting areas feature Vermont-made furniture using FSC-certified wood, and our kitchen cabinetry is certified as well. For the cabinet interiors, we chose natural wheat board in place of plywood.

Flooring + Finishes

We installed stained concrete floors because they offer several advantages: they avoid the use of carpeting, which can harbor dust mites, mold, and other allergens; they avoid the need for harmful adhesives used with carpet, linoleum, and other floor coverings; they require minimal upkeep; and they have a long lifespan.

Water

Our world’s water supply is becoming increasingly stretched, and water quality is an urgent global issue. Due to our location near Lake Champlain, protecting water quality was a top priority in designing our facility.

Water Quality

We chose a grassy, pervious parking surface that allows rainwater to soak into the ground, reducing the stormwater runoff that can affect the quality of rivers, streams, and lakes. In addition, our 1.3 million gallon pond collects and treats runoff and acts as a heat sink for our radiant cooling system. For our building’s cleaning needs, we work with a service that uses phosphorus-free and environmentally friendly products. Phosphorus, found in fertilizers and cleaning products, contributes to algae growth—an increasing problem in Lake Champlain.

Water Use

Our facility features dual flushing toilets and water-saving devices that reduce water usage by 30 percent over typical practice and save more than 100,000 gallons of water per year. In addition, our landscaping features native vegetation that eliminates the need for irrigation.

Work Environment

We designed our building with the conveniences of home to help employees feel good about coming to work every day. Through the use of natural light, the selection of environmentally friendly materials, and fitness amenities, we have created a work environment that energizes and motivates.

Lighting

Our building features dozens of skylights and operable windows that maximize natural light, provide natural ventilation, and showcase views of the outdoors. Employees in every work area can see outside, and windows between the warehouse and office areas foster a sense of connection with the activities on both sides of the building. Our high efficiency fluorescent lights are equipped with automatic dimmers that adjust the lights as sunlight increases or decreases. Occupancy sensors throughout the building turn lights off when they are not needed, and windows are equipped with special “light guiding” blinds to redirect and diffuse sunlight for general illumination.

Air Quality

We used low-VOC emitting stains, paints, adhesives, and sealants throughout the building to protect our employees’ health and ensure quality indoor air. The composite wood products used in the building—such as particleboard and plywood—were specially chosen to avoid the use of formaldehyde-emitting glues. In our warehouse, employees move products with electric forklifts to avoid the use of propane fuel, and in the offices, lush green plants fill planter boxes alongside workspaces to further improving indoor air quality.

Health + Fitness

The third floor of our building features an endless swimming pool and fitness room for the health and enjoyment of our employees. We also encourage staff to use our two well-equipped kitchens to store and prepare food.

Download our building fact sheet (PDF) »