By Greg McMillan
Brian Bates of Quantum Geothermal has never been one to walk away from challenges – in fact, he embraces them.
As owner and founder of a southern Ontario company that provides quality geothermal solutions for homes, he takes pride in making sure each system is designed to the specific needs of customers to insure the best value and performance.
“I particularly enjoy working on custom-designed new build residential projects, where unique architecture may require a more sophisticated heating and cooling solution,” says Bates, P. Eng., who graduated from the University of Waterloo with a B.A.Sc. in mechanical engineering. “These more challenging projects are very satisfying. You have a chance to establish a relationship with the architect, builder and clients. It takes months to complete a project but we can really bring value to the outcome.”
Quantum Geothermal, founded in 2009, has a mandate to be a full-service operation, working in all areas of geothermal. By focusing exclusively on residential geothermal projects – both retrofit and new build projects – the company has developed a competitive skill set and highly efficient business model.
“I reach out to architects and builders,” Bates explains. “I host information seminars and visit architectural firms to meet and discuss ways to optimize the integration of geothermal heating and cooling systems into the project at an early stage in the design process.
”This initiative has allowed Quantum to develop some degree of repeat business with participating firms. Residual income or generating repeat business is a problem with our geothermal business model since the life cycle is very long. With residential installations, particularly, there is virtually no maintenance (or spare parts) required.
”By developing relationships with other stakeholders, however, it helps to address this business issue.”
From day one, Quantum has gone that extra mile.
“A friend of mine who is a custom home builder was looking to expand his use of geothermal heating and cooling systems for some of his projects in the west GTA but had become discouraged by the lack of professionalism and quality of service from some of the geothermal contractors he had approached,” recalls Bates. “From there, a process of investigation and due diligence followed, leading to the conclusion that there was a need and an opportunity. He helped me assemble a team of experienced and well-respected partners.
”Next I spoke to all the reputable equipment suppliers in Ontario to determine which brand of heat pumps Quantum would represent. “
He says this led to Quantum’s designation as an authorized dealer for NextEnergy from Elmira, Ontario. Bates noted that NextEnergy represents the ClimateMaster product line manufactured in the United States and is also expanding its commercial presence by offering both ClimateMaster and Viessmann heat pumps.
With hundreds of successful projects completed and an impressive list of satisfied customers, Quantum’s reputation for cost competitive, quality installations continues to grow. In fact, Quantum has recently received a National Award and has been recognized for its growth and professional commitment. Bates says the company takes an intelligent, honest and personalized approach as it continues to grow the business and expand the use of geothermal heating and cooling systems in southern Ontario.
“The retrofit market has always contributed to our bottom line but the pace is different,” Bates explains. “We get the crew onsite to excavate for a day or two (or drill vertically for a few days) and then spend a day down in the basement replacing the old furnace with a new heat pump. Done … then move on.”
The public, Bates says, has been extremely receptive to Quantum’s product, which has a cost- competitive model and offers a quality solution to a variety of client requirements.
“But there is still an urgent need to continue to advocate for this technology,” Bates says.
“Often the first question I get when we receive a new inquiry is ‘how much will it cost?’
“I understand that, but it misses the mark in terms of thought process. That is like phoning up a car dealership and asking ‘what does a car cost?’
“That is why we developed our own Energy Evaluation survey on our website. People need to understand that there is a process involved that is essential to constructing an energy-efficient and cost-effective geothermal heating and cooling system. There is science and guidelines and regulations and knowledge and client-specific information required.
To that end, Quantum can provide builders with a comprehensive report describing its scope of work, so they know exactly what skills and services are in the mix.
Looking ahead, Bates sees more challenges for Quantum and, again, he relishes the opportunity to confront them head on.
“Generating sales is an ongoing challenge for most small businesses and Quantum is no different,” he says. “Marketing, advocating for geothermal and continuing to reach out to architects and builders will be critical to our continued success.
“But particularly in the construction of new homes, I see geothermal being specified right from the concept and design phase with ever-increasing regularity. This is very encouraging and sustains our belief that our efforts are being recognized.”
Web: HYPERLINK “http://www.quantumgeothermal.com/” \o “This external link will open in a new window” \t “_blank” http://www.quantumgeothermal.com/
A key part of Quantum Geothermal marketing is done through the HYPERLINK “http://www.quantumgeothermal.com/” company website where there are links to associated government and industry sources. Visitors can also complete Quantum Thermal’s Energy Evaluation survey, or watch a three-minute video for a quick company overview. Geothermal is well-established and will continue to grow as a viable, renewable energy alternative to fossil fuels. Advocacy and education are keys to accelerating the curve.