ENERGY

The business of saving fuel

ANN FINLAYSON December 8 1986
ENERGY

The business of saving fuel

ANN FINLAYSON December 8 1986

The business of saving fuel

ENERGY

Canadians still use vast amounts of energy to heat their homes and offices. As a result, operators of a small Toronto-based company say that there is an untapped market for a system that corrects poor energy-use habits and saves clients money in the process. Declared Brian Cappe, managing director of Enershare Technologies: “To put it simply, Canadians don’t like turning things down or off.” The company does that for them by replacing a client’s fuel-guzzling equipment with a more efficient system— and taking a sizable percentage of the money saved.

Enershare’s founders say that they got their idea by adapting a technique developed by international oil companies after the Second World War. At that time, Shell Petroleum Co. Ltd. and other oil giants provided no-risk third-party loans which enabled European industrialists to rebuild their bombed-out factories. In return, the rebuilt factories quickly began using their benefactors’ oil. In Enershare’s case, the company buys and installs any new equipment for the client and monitors the company’s energy use for one to 10 years. When the contract expires the client owns the equipment.

Enershare’s aggressive sales campaigns from British Columbia to Nova Scotia have persuaded many Canadians that they have nothing to lose. In operation for a year, it has signed contracts worth $13.3 million with clients operating 50 buildings—including nursing homes, hospitals, factories and three municipally owned hockey arenas. For one, it installed $66,500 worth of equipment last winter at a Toronto plant operated by paper manufacturer G.H. Woods & Co. Ltd. In return, the company paid Enershare an amount which was 6.5 per cent less than last year’s heating bill—an arrangement which will continue for the length of the seven-year contract. G.H. Woods vice-president Alan Amos acknowledged that falling energy prices would have saved his firm as much money over the past year. Still, said Amos, “I think we have all learned by now that energy prices can be very unpredictable indeed”—a fact which seems likely to ensure the popularity of enterprising energy-saving programs.

-ANN FINLAYSON in Toronto