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Gretchen Metz, Staff Writer 08/10/2004

The county’s first "green" building could sprout up in Sadsbury this winter, joining a growing national trend of constructing energy-efficient, environmentally friendly buildings.

The 40,000- to 50,000-square-foot building in the Meetinghouse Business Park will represent a $2.5 million investment for Aerzen USA, which is opening up part of the planning process to the public at a week-long charrette.

Aerzen USA, currently located in Valley, is owned by Aerzener Maschinenfabrik, a north German manufacturer of industrial blowers and compressors. Aerzen USA assembles parts shipped from the parent company.

Beyond the "green," the manufacturer is planning to go "lean," an initiative sponsored by the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center that improves the flow of manufacturing by eliminating wasted movements. Assembly line manufacturing, for example, is replaced by cellular units.

Aerzen Engineer Jeff Hammond, who is managing the new building project, said the vision to make the building green came from company president Pierre Novak.

At first, Hammond acknowledges, he was skeptical. He said his idea of being environmentally friendly was recycling newspapers and soda cans.

"And it sounded like it was going to cost money," Hammond said. "But Pierre is a wise man and I left my mind open to explore."

Hammond said the up-front cost to build green is about 3 percent to 5 percent above a regular building. But, because the buildings are designed to use less energy, savings are realized immediately, Hammond said.

"It made financial sense," Hammond said.

"Green" buildings run on renewable energy, take advantage of natural light or use reclaimed water for irrigation, according to the Waste News.

Aerzen will look at ways to filter in daylight without glare and situate the structure so that natural breezes can be captured to cool the building, Hammond said. The company will also look at pervious pavement that allows water to soak through so that there is no runoff.

Hammond emphasized nothing is written in stone, yet.

"I don’t want to predict, it will all be part of the discussions," at the charrette, Hammond said.

The charrette will be made up of company officials, architects, heating-air conditioning-ventilation professionals, builders, Sadsbury officials and neighbors.

A technical charrette begins Monday at 9 a.m.

The charrette will introduce the project to the public from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday at the Coatesville Moose Lodge, 1200 Airport Road, Valley.

The technical charrette will continue Aug. 17, 18 and 19.

The process will again be open to the public from 4 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 20.

At that meeting, the conceptual design will be discussed and Aerzen will gather ideas and feedback from the public and plan its next steps for the project. The open house meeting is to be held at Aerzen USA headquarters, 645 Sands Court in the Highlands Corporate Center.

"Decisions will be made transparently in front of the people they will affect downstream," Hammond said. "Instead of layer upon layer of revisions, after the weeklong meetings, everybody will pretty much have their marching orders."

Hammond said part of the charrette will be to discuss ways to achieve the company’s goal of a green building.

Hammond said the company will seek a "green" building certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Thus far, there are 10 council-certified "green" buildings in Pennsylvania.

Aerzen’s presence in the United States dates back to 1983, when it opened a light manufacturing facility in Ohio.

The company moved to the Exton area in 1986 but outgrew that building and moved to a 20,000-square-foot building in Highlands Corporate Center in 1994.

Product lines that use Aerzen blowers and compressors make everything from cosmetics to corn flakes, Hammond said.

İDaily Local News 2004


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Last modified: 12/01/07