posted May, 25 2012

Just about everything at Zehnder Rittling in Buffalo is green.

That includes the ground the office and manufacturing facility was built on, the products it manufactures, the way the company reuses its waste energy, and the manufacturing processes.

In January 2007, construction was completed on a 160,000-square-foot building located on 35 acres of a revitalized brownfield off Tifft Street. The parcel was part of 210 acres that had been the Republic Steel site.

The company, which dates to 1946 and employs about 140, makes hydronic radiant ceiling panels that are used in hospitals, schools, university housing and health-care facilities, to name a few.

The building is a working showroom for company products, as well as those from its parent, Zehnder, which purchased Hydro-Air Components Inc. in 2007. Not including the products from Zehnder, the energy-efficiency project cost about $1.4 million.

"It's already paid for itself," said Zehnder Rittling President Walter Zurowski.

Working with Allied Mechanical Inc. of Buffalo and engineers from Europe, a solution was created where products were used that were made by Hydro-Air Components, Rittling Corp. and its parent company, Zehnder Group. Doing so made the building as energy efficient as possible.

Zurowski, whose father founded Hydro-Air, began working with the company in 1980, bending sheet metal on the shop floor. He said the products used are common in Europe, and his may be the only building in the United States with such features.

Zurowski and Allied President Michael Modrzynski hosted Business First to show what they created. Compared to the building the company previously occupied in Hamburg, the result is an estimated monthly energy savings of about $15,000.