omaha, nebraska (402) 681 - 9458 | info@verdisgroup.com

Our home to share our thoughts and host an (e)discussion about the opportunities sustainability presents and how our world will be changing as a result. From savvy strategies for clients to our fleet of Schwinn 10-speeds and everything in between; we invite you to the conversation and hope that we can explore true.green. together.


We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with Methodist Health System and its three hospitals!

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The project includes

  • Identifying sustainability strengths, successes, and achievements
  • Developing a sustainability vision to inspire and motivate change
  • Benchmarking and analyzing sustainability performance as it relates to emissions, energy, water, waste, mobility/transportation, and engagement
  • Developing measurable and strategic sustainability goals
  • Recommending a short-term course of action

Within the next few weeks, we will begin analyzing data, surveying students/employees, and meeting with key personnel and stakeholder groups.

We can’t wait to help Methodist Health System develop and formalize its sustainability plans!

If you have questions or thoughts about this project, please contact brent@verdisgroup.com.

 

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Park Arbor Day - 4

(above) Students from Kearney Public Schools participate in a tree planting event to celebrate Arbor Day. (April 2015)

 

Spring is probably my favorite time of the year. The weather improves, nature becomes prettier, people seem more energetic and happy, and two of my favorite sports (track and field, baseball) are in full swing. Spring is also a time when we seem to pay more attention to the environment and environmental issues. Thank you, flowering plants and Earth/Arbor Day.

As people check back in with the environment, I would like to take a few moments to allow you to check back in with our work. Here’s what’s new and exciting at some of our clients:

 

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Due to successful investments in sustainability projects during the past four years, the zoo’s revolving Green Loan Fund currently sits at an all-time high amount, and the zoo is avoiding energy and water costs of over $385 thousand annually. The zoo is also busy constructing its new African Grasslands exhibit, which will incorporate sustainable features that conserve energy and water. For example, the elephant barn floor will be made of sand and natural materials instead of concrete, thus requiring little or no water for cleaning.

 

Omaha Public Schools

The U.S. Department of Education recently named Wilson and Gomez schools winners of the 2015 Green Ribbon Schools award. Meanwhile, the district has established new goals related to energy, water, recycling, and emissions. New estimates indicate the district has achieved $4.9 million in energy savings over the past four and a half years.

 

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Since rolling out its Sustainability Master Plan several months ago, UNO has earned Omaha by Design’s inaugural Access & Mobility Award. UNO has also launched its online dashboard widget that showcases the university’s progress towards its sustainability goals.

 

University of Nebraska Medical Center & Nebraska Medicine

UNMC and Nebraska Medicine recently celebrated their 5th annual Earth Week to engage students and staff in environmental stewardship. In June, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine will launch the TravelSmart program. This transportation/parking demand management program will encourage/incentivize staff and students to bike, carpool, use transit, and walk to the 42nd & Dewey campus. The program will include subsidized bus passes and free rides home in emergency situations.

 

University of Nebraska at Kearney

UNK is currently finalizing goals for its Sustainability Master Plan and will soon begin prioritizing strategies for achieving said goals. While that planning is underway, UNK has started a Recycling Task Force to improve its campus recycling program. Recently, several campus groups partnered to conduct the annual waste audit, in which volunteers sampled UNK’s waste and recycling streams. Also, led by the student group Enactus, UNK is researching a bicycle sharing program.

 

Kearney Public Schools

Thanks, in part, to this school year’s Green Schools Challenge, the district has accomplished exceptional decreases in electricity consumption in most buildings and increases in measured levels of sustainability engagement.

 

We are so proud of our clients’ sustainability achievements. As spring warms into summer, I look forward to ice cream, and our Verdis Group team looks forward to continued success with the organizations we serve. -BR

 

 

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Verdis Group is seeking an intern for this upcoming summer!

The full-time, paid intern will get hands-on experience at our sustainability consulting firm in Omaha. His or her specific responsibilities and projects will vary based on interests, needs, and priorities, but the intern should expect to gain experience related to sustainability practices, data analysis, communication, and project management.

Application deadline: February 28, 2015

Click here for more information and application instructions:

Internship Info & Application Instructions

 

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We are thrilled to announce our newest client, the University of Nebraska at Kearney. We will be collaborating with UNK to develop its comprehensive sustainability master plan. The project is set to kick off in January, and we can’t wait to get started!

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UNK is a public, residential university with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. This will be our third sustainability master planning project with the University of Nebraska system (University of Nebraska Medical Center; University of Nebraska at Omaha) and our second sustainability master planning project in Kearney (Kearny Public Schools).

 

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ZacharyStading

“My name is Zachary Stading. I have worked as an intern with Verdis group since August of this year. It is a very hard-working, but light-hearted group.

Everyone likes the satisfaction of crossing something off of his or her to-do list. One of the enjoyable parts of working with Verdis Group was that I was constantly getting small projects out of the current work that other team members were doing to supplement my personal projects. Examples include pulling together the acknowledgements page for UNO’s Sustainability Master Plan, helping analyze some of the data from surveys, compiling lists of sustainability strategies as a reference for clients, and researching alternative methods for sending out online surveys. This gave me a break from my own projects while providing great work experience, a sense of accomplishment, and made me feel like part of the team.

I had three big projects that I worked on independently. The first was researching universities in the region to assess which ones Verdis Group could potentially partner with in the future. The second was compiling survey data for the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The third was performing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Verdis Group.

The greenhouse gas emissions inventory was by far the most educational. I chose my own direction for the inventory such as what utilities and company activities I would try to account for. I had to make my own survey and send it out to the team to gather information. I was also able talk with other professionals to get information about our office expenses while working on my networking skills. Then I chose to compile that information into metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the industry standard comparative tool. I wrote up my methods so this inventory could be replicated in future years and drafted a report for the team. Finally, I was allowed to present all of my findings to the team and get their responses, questions, and suggestions.

While working with Verdis Group, I found that I have a lot of learning left to do when it comes to using survey tools. I had never known the depth to which surveys could be analyzed or how critical surveys could be when it comes to making business decisions. Another important skill I learned was that not all business comes to you; you need a strategy for going to get it. I learned how to narrow down potential partners and clients by researching organizations’ previous activities. As someone who is struggling to figure out how to search for a post-graduate job over 1600 miles away, I found this to be a very helpful analytical tool. The last key thing that I learned was that who you work with is often more important than what you are working on. When you work with a nice group of people any project can be completed with little boredom and even less stress.

One thing that I was very happy to learn from this experience is that there are people out there, like me, who want to make the world a more sustainable place to live, while still being able to pay the bills. I was also happy to find that many of the simple programs and analysis skills that I have learned during my time at Creighton University can be readily applied to a work environment. I am very grateful for this internship because I want to work as a sustainability consultant for my career. This opportunity gave me confidence as a graduating senior that I will be able to compete for a position at a sustainability company and be a valuable member of the team.”

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I started working at Verdis back in October 2014 and, as the new guy, I was (and still am) continuously understanding more and more about all of the great work we do. The nature of our team’s responsibilities requires that, on any given day, I might work on projects related to only three or four of our clients. The same can probably be said about my five colleagues. So it’s easy for each of us to get laser-focused on the specific work we’re doing for particular clients. Thus, we occasionally need to take a step back and celebrate what we, collectively, have helped our clients achieve.

I asked the rest of the team to assist me in highlighting some recent and noteworthy accolades we’ve helped some of our clients accomplish. Here’s what we came up with.

 

Omaha Public Schools

Client since July 2009

As we enter into our fifth year partnering with OPS, we are happy to report the district is receiving the recognition it deserves. On Earth Day 2014, the U.S. Department of Education announced that OPS was one of only nine school districts in the country to receive a Green Ribbon Award. The numbers back up the awards: we have helped OPS save over $4 million through its sustainability efforts. Click here to read more about our work with OPS.

 

The Nebraska Medical Center; University of Nebraska Medical Center

Client since April 2010 and July 2012, respectively

For the past several months we’ve been working with both The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC to create a new, integrated Sustainability Master Plan. The plan will potentially launch as early as fall 2014 and includes joint goals for energy, water, waste & recycling, parking & transportation, campus planning, and campus engagement. We recently helped the two organizations establish the Office of Sustainability, which included hiring a full-time Sustainability Manager to implement the Sustainability Master Plan and fully integrate sustainability into the operations of the two organizations. Also, we worked with the two organizations to expand and standardize the mixed recycling program. They deployed 675 additional recycling bins and achieved a 40% increase in collected recyclables as a result. Click here to read more about our work with The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC.

 

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Client since January 2012

From lighting retrofits to recycling expansion and a revolving green loan fund to support innovative ideas, we have helped the zoo take major steps to embed sustainable action and decision-making into its culture, and the impact has been huge. The zoo has cut energy use intensity by 7% in just two and a half years, water use is down nearly 19 million gallons per year, and recycling has nearly doubled. Additionally, the zoo is developing a compost action plan to prepare for the additional compostable materials generated from the forthcoming African Grasslands exhibit. Click here to read more about our work with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

 

Kearney Public Schools

Client since June 2013

We completed the first phase of our work with KPS in late 2013 when the district approved and rolled out its Sustainability Master Plan. Since then, our work has focused on coordinating the district’s efforts, including developing an energy reduction incentive program that incorporates several operational and behavioral best practices. Most recently, the KPS Board of Education solidified their commitment to green schools by unanimously passing a Sustainability Statement. Click here to read more about our work with Kearney Public Schools.

 

Beatrice State Developmental Center

Client since June 2013

We are partnering with BSDC to help them develop a Sustainability Master Plan. We have assessed their resource streams, and they now have a sustainability vision and preliminary improvement goals. In June 2014 we performed a waste assessment in which we sampled BSDC’s dumpster waste and measured the composition of landfill-bound trash bags. This has helped BSDC to identify opportunities for improved recycling, composting, and waste reduction. The next step in our planning process is to develop strategies that will help BSDC achieve its sustainability goals and vision.

 

University of Nebraska-Omaha

Client since February 2014

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (enrollment 15,000+) recently brought us on board to develop a Sustainability Master Plan. With an emphasis on widespread engagement of students, employees, and community members, we have used numerous methods during our discovery phase to inform the university’s sustainability vision and goals. In the coming months we will be mapping out the steps UNO should take in order to achieve the bold vision it has set. Click here to read more about our work with UNO.

 

That sample of highlights emphasizes to me that, though Verdis is small, we are quite mighty: our clients are making huge, positive impacts. Stay tuned for more accolades to come…


 

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