“Depending on the conventional fuel source available, a rural home or business owner can realize energy savings of up to 80 per cent by integrating GeoSmart geothermal. In a best case scenario where a household uses $4,000 a year on energy cost for heating, air conditioning and hot water, we can potentially achieve energy savings of $3,000 annually. It’s these energy savings that payback the investment in the system over time. That’s why today we focus on rural customers to build our market.”
— Chad Brezynskie, Vice-President
With extensive experience in design of geothermal energy systems, GeoSmart provides the most energy efficient alternative for heating and cooling homes and businesses who ask for clean, simple, and energy efficient, high performance solutions. Based in Cambridge, Ont., GeoSmart Energy started in 2005 but already became one of the largest distributors of geothermal heating and cooling systems and solutions in Canada, offering the most effective and efficient geothermal energy products and services available on the market today. The geothermal heat pump products of the GeoSmart brand are manufactured in Indiana, and GeoSmart’s North American network of regional contractors brings the option of geothermal technology directly to the customer.
“While we are young company, all of our senior team has vast prior experience in geothermal energy solutions. Our CEO Stan Marco has been in the industry for over 25 years, and he is very well respected within the industry as one of the grandfathers of geothermal technology.”
Idiosyncrasies of the Economic Downturn
Passing through the economic downturn, the geothermal industry thrived as the government ecoENERGY grants shifted the market by 180 degrees, from mostly rural new construction to 80 per cent urban and rural retrofit and 20 per cent new construction projects. However, with the ending of the ecoENERGY grants in 2011, the retrofit market softened and the urban market slowed due to record low prices for natural gas. Once again, GeoSmart had to adjust to the changing market, refocus and scale down in order to grow organically in the future.
While the company was able to start in only a 4,000 square foot building, growth was rapid and they quickly doubled their space expanding into 6,000 and then to about 8,000 square foot facility. With the government ecoENERGY grants and incentives between 2008 and 2011 at top gear, the company made a strategic decision to relocate into a 30,000 square foot facility in order to support increased sales and marketing activity. Today GeoSmart settled into a newer facility with just under 10,000 square feet of spacious open concept offices and highly efficient warehouse space.
“According to our industry association, since the ecoENERGY grants ended the urban and rural retrofit market for geothermal technology shrunk by 70 per cent.
That takes us back to almost exactly where we were before the grants in 2007. In the city, with low prices of natural gas, the market there is quiet. That’s why we refocused on rural new construction and retrofit, where heating and cooling options using oil, propane and electricity really puts financial strain on the household. Depending on the conventional fuel source available, a rural home or business owner can realize energy savings of up to 80 per cent by integrating GeoSmart geothermal. In a best case scenario where a household uses $4,000 a year on energy cost for heating, air conditioning and hot water, we can potentially achieve energy savings of $3,000 annually. It’s these energy savings that payback the investment in the system over time. That’s why today we focus on rural customers to build our market,” says Brezynskie.
According to Brezynskie, the opportunity in the city and suburban markets lies in the construction industry’s competitiveness. The company worked with smaller builders focused on custom homes, and the competitiveness in this segment may bring on the potential of larger builders adding new energy efficient options for the homebuyers in more heavily populated subdivisions. “It’s the consumer who can create the demand in this market, and what we can do is educate and put the information about the technology out there — inform about its efficiency and comfort. These are two main features on which GeoSmart’s geothermal heat pump truly delivers.”
While the urban market is currently under siege by low natural gas prices, this trend is not to last, and GeoSmart plans to continue to expand organically in rural areas, seek out inroads back into the urban areas, search for new markets as a distribution company, and find new products and technologies that would complement the company’s core business.
“In my opinion, the bottom line is the energy savings provided by the technology. No matter what the government is doing, our systems save consumers money every day they are heating or cooling. Energy savings remain the main driver behind our business and our industry’s growth. Natural gas and other fossil fuels will continue to rise in price every year as they always have, and that will create additional incentives for people to choose this technology,” concluded Brezynskie.