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Endress + Hauser state-of-the-art customer experience and process training centre setting a new example in Burlington Ontario.

Burlington has long been home for Endress+Hauser and when the advanced manufacturer required more space, the company pulled out all the stops to stay in the city.

“Burlington speaks for itself in terms of quality of life. Our people love it here. We knew we would lose valuable people if we moved,” says Tony Varga, general manager of Endress+Hauser Canada.

The Swiss-based global instrumentation company moved into its new $28-million Customer Experience Centre in November 2021. It’s just 300 metres from the building it had outgrown.

“Burlington is one of the best places to live in the country and it has a very well-run municipal government that is easy to work with. They are accessible, transparent and approachable. It is attractive to talent, who come from abroad or from the many high-quality post-secondary institutions within a two-hour radius”, says Varga.

Endress+Hauser, a family-owned company with net sales of about $4.2 billion CAD in 2021 and more than 15,000 employees in 70 countries, specializes in process automation and laboratory instrumentation equipment.

Endress+Hauser has been in Burlington since acquiring Davis Controls 30 years ago and now employs 90 in the city. When it outgrew its facility, the company negotiated a severance for a piece of property that wasn’t on the market.

“We paid a premium for that land because we wanted to stay in Burlington. What solidified our decision to stay was the support of the mayor, the local councillor and city staff. We felt heard and we had access to those who could help us resolve issues as they came up. There will always be challenges with a project like this, but we got impeccable support from the highest levels in Burlington,” says Varga.

“Burlington is a vibrant, friendly city that balances urban living with a small-town feel and rural beauty,” says Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

“Simply put, companies choose Burlington because it’s where their employees want to be. We’re close to Toronto and the U.S. border, and you’ll find 20 post-secondary institutions within a one-hour drive. Our business community is strong, and Endress + Hauser is a perfect example of the type of industry leaders you’ll find here. If you are considering relocation or expansion in Ontario, I would like to personally invite you to discover Burlington and everything we have to offer. You won’t be disappointed.”

Endress+Hauser consulted with employees about what they wanted in the new building and studied other locations around the world. The goal was to create an inspiring, flexible and beautiful place for employees to work.

The 47,000-square-foot facility includes a process training unit (PTU), which includes a full-sized pilot plant, a calibration lab and training spaces that demonstrate the company’s products and helps customers choose the right solutions.

The building also features sunlit, open concept collaboration spaces, an expansive outdoor terrace, a fitness centre, a multi-faith prayer room, two cafes, multiple coffee bars, casual seating areas and phone-booth-style privacy rooms. The two-storey atrium includes a large planted tree.

During the design process, the company’s board challenged the Canadian team to “really push the envelope on sustainability.” That resulted in a building that is pursuing both net-zero carbon and net-zero energy, along with LEED Gold. It is the first such private facility in Canada.

The building includes 800 solar panels on the roof, 50 geothermal wells that drill 200 metres into the ground, sophisticated sensors that adjust air purification, temperature, humidity and lighting, and electrical plugs that shut off when a room is not occupied.

The building has won the Rethinking the Future Award 2022 in the Industrial (Built) category and a 2021 Ontario Builder Award, and has captured the attention of companies around the world, says Varga.

Endress+Hauser has now committed to building to LEED Gold and net zero standards around the world.

“Our board didn’t ever ask about return on investment (which comes in 20 years). We did it because it’s the right thing to do.”

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