Sustainable Business Spotlight: SMC

Next up in our Sustainable Business Spotlight series is SMC, a medical manufacturing company located here in Devens. For this blog, Alan Fluet, Facilities Manager at SMC, was kind enough to offer us an interview.  SMC is preparing for a significant expansion and has chosen to further invest in their Devens operations. They are building a new building at 11 Grant Road to facilitate the relocation of their tenant, Werfen, to this new location so that SMC can use the entire building at 18 Independence Drive.  The following points are the main takeaways from our fascinating conversation on green buildings, adaptive reuse, their continued investment in the Devens community, and more. 

How does sustainability factor into SMC’s day-to-day operations? 

Sustainability factors into everything SMC does. The majority of their equipment is electric, their products are made as efficiently as they can be, all the lighting in their buildings both internally and externally is LED, and they utilize 200,000 square feet of rooftop solar power. 

SMC is co-located in a reused building with Werfen,  another biomedical company, how has adaptive reuse helped SMC operate and grow here in Devens? 

SMC’s location was a former Gillette building , but has been renovated for SMC’s use. Adaptive reuse, the practice of adapting older buildings for modern usage instead of demolition and construction, is a key tenant of sustainable development in Devens and a major economic incentive for companies like SMC.  Reuse of existing buildings capitalizes on the embodied energy that these buildings hold, reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions from building demolition and/or new construction.  

Have Devens' sustainable/low-impact development requirements helped your company think more deeply about sustainability? 

While SMC was already considering sustainability in their operations, the Devens sustainable development permitting process helped bring it to the forefront. The major value-add was the expedited permitting process, which allowed SMC to work with the Devens Enterprise Commission for a lightning-fast turnaround time of less than 75 days. This process helps companies like SMC get a jumpstart on developing in Devens and builds a partnership rooted in sustainability and mutual benefit.  

Could these practices Devens required (like building a green wall) make their way into your development plans elsewhere? 

While SMC has 8 total sites around the globe (with their headquarters in Wisconsin) the Devens facility was the first site the company developed themselves. Developing their first site sustainably makes moving forward with sustainable development elsewhere much easier. 

How vital has the mutual partnership between Devens and SMC been to your company's choice to continue growing and investing in this community? 

SMC was drawn to Devens for a few key reasons that have made the company choose to stick around and invest in the community: The great relationship with MassDevelopment and the Devens Enterprise Commission, which makes working together easier, Devens’ ability to attract and retain local economic development, and the overall burgeoning economic vitality of the community that grows while maintaining a clear focus on sustainability.      

Additionally, SMC staff are active members of the community, taking advantage of amenities that make working in Devens attractive, such as solid public services and an abundance of open spaces to enjoy. SMC staff in particular are known to take advantage of the 13 miles of multi-use trails in Devens. 

What’s the next sustainability project for SMC? 

Right now, the company is looking at building out onsite backup battery generation sometime in the future. This goal coincides well with the Devens Forward Plan’s aim for clean emergency power and making battery storage more affordable. Additionally, SMC is working on several efficiency improvements across their buildings and seeks to work with Devens on expanding the Devens Shuttle service and public transit connections on or near the site.  

We’d like to thank Alan and the SMC team for offering us their time! Please check out the SMC website for further details on their work. And, as always, make sure to check back on the Devens Forward dashboard to stay updated on all things climate action and sustainability here in Devens.