By DAN HEATH
Sep 14, 2010
A Montreal-based company is in production on the flight line at Plattsburgh International Airport.
Clinton County and The Development Corp. said the environmentally friendly Smardt Chiller Group, which signed a five-year lease in May, is now operating in 26,500 square feet at 22 Colorado Ave.
It is the company’s first U.S. location.
The company plans to hire 32 employees within three years to manufacture chillers, a major piece used in air-conditioning systems, according to a news release from The Development Corp.
Smardt Chiller is the fifth-largest chiller manufacturer in the world and is the largest in the oil-free high-efficiency centrifugal chiller sector.
Smardt Chairman Roger Richmond-Smith said the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning sector accounts for about 40 percent of energy consumption in U.S. buildings. Those buildings, in turn, account for about 40 percent of the country’s total energy, he said.
“The chillers that drive large AC systems are a major energy consumer, so when independent audits reveal that CFC-free (chlorofluorocarbon-free) Smardt chillers can save over 50 percent of the energy consumed by old CFC chillers, it means a lot not only to building owners and operators but also to our rapidly warming planet,” Richmond-Smith said.
He said 1,800 of the company’s chillers have been installed in 15 countries.
The company’s core strength in its oil-free centrifugal technology, he said, which gives it clear energy and ecological advantages over traditional lubricated chillers. The machines instead use magnetic bearings and integral variable speed drives that increase reliability and greatly reduce maintenance costs.
Smardt approached The Development Corp. in the fall of 2009 with interest in a Plattsburgh location. The company was shown several options and decided the chosen location worked best.
Erin Hynes, the economic developer for The Development Corp., said it is exciting news.
“Smardt is truly an innovative company, which endorses global transition to green technology through the manufacturing and distribution of their product.
“In the end, the competition was between Plattsburgh and one other location, and we truly feel that the county’s facility and amenities, coupled with the region’s dedicated workforce and state benefits programs like the Empire Zone, are what put the area over the top.”
Empire State Development North Country Region Regional Director Peter Wohl said the company’s new location is a huge win for the entire region.
“This global company will not only bring needed jobs to the area but will help grow the North Country’s economy. In addition, Smardt’s green technology manufacturing practices will save businesses money and make for a more environmentally friendly future for New York state,” he said.
Clinton County Legislature Chairman Jimmy Langley said the county was pleased to welcome Smardt Chiller to the airport.
“Utilizing the industrial facilities adjacent to the airfield is not only critically important to the success of our commercial and general aviation operations but is also a strong indicator of the quality of both the economic development team and workforce in Clinton County.”
Development Corp. President Adoré Flynn Kurtz said Smardt Chiller is the latest in a series of green tech companies to come to the Plattsburgh area since October. That includes APG Neuros in the Banker Road Industrial Park and SOLVE Composites in Imperial Industrial Park this year.
“I firmly believe that all three companies ultimately chose Clinton County over other potential site locations because of the clearly obvious collaborative efforts of The Development Corp. with Clinton County, our partners at the state and the Workforce Investment Board’s OneWorkSource,” she said.
North Country Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Paul Grasso said the collaborative efforts created a win-win situation for the region and the company.
“Smardt Chiller Group’s decision to locate in Plattsburgh is the result of a strong strategic vision and a lot of hard work by many people.
“It’s a coup for the community, and I am confident that Smardt will enjoy their business experience here.”