Telfer School of Management
University of Ottawa
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Research Links - September 2005 - When Friends Think Green
Professor David Large
School of Management Team Helps Bring New Energy-Efficient Technology to Market.
While David Large and his long-time friend James Glouchkow were discussing the importance of commercialization technologies that enhance energy efficiency, the two researchers experienced a ‘eureka’ moment.
“Jamie mentioned that he and his colleagues at Natural Resources Canada were collaborating with a small Ontario-based company called Ecologix Heating Technologies that had developed a promising new type of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning technology for residential use”, says Dr. Large, an assistant professor at the School of Management. “I am a firm believer in the value of collaboration between universities and industry, so we quickly figured out how the School of Management could put together a team and conduct a comprehensive feasibility study of the company’s new system.”
Known as ‘zoned comfort’, the Ecologix technology consists of a unique combination of computerized sensors and ductwork, which enables occupants of two- and three-storey homes to heat or cool the levels of their homes that require it most. The innovative system reduces the need for space heating and the size of air- conditioner condenser units, and can lead to significant energy savings during peak periods.
“The zoned comfort system would be particularly useful for homeowners who leave their air-conditioning units running during heat waves but still find the upper parts of their homes hot and uncomfortable,” explains Dr. Large. “Their costly hydro bills can also be quite uncomfortable!”
The feasibility study, which is funded by the CANMET Energy Technology Centre and uses in-kind contributions from the School of Management, is divided into three phases.
First, a market research plan—completed this summer by six School of Management MBA students—examines a host of key market and consumer issues. The plan also analyzes Ecologix’s corporate strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and outlines the risks and financial requirements associated with launching this new technology.
Second, a product marketing strategy will delve into essential marketing requirements such as targeting consumer segments, developing a brand, and recruiting marketing and distribution partners. This plan will be completed when first-generation field-trial results of the system become available.
Third, a case study will be written to assist government officials, academics and entrepreneurs in their ongoing efforts to bring innovative new technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace.
“What makes this project so interesting is that it features applied research on a product that will make its way to market”, concludes Dr. Large. “Far too many innovative technologies created by Canadians are developed and marketed in other countries; we need to improve our ability to commercialize our products on our own terms, particularly when these technologies contribute to improving Canadians’ quality of life.”
The six MBA students who participated on this project with Professor Large are Sheriff Abdou, Arjun Balaram, Samer Forzley, Douglas O'Bare, Ivana Pavic and Jennifer Sweezie.
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