Guy Duchaine has had a passion for green technology for a long time now. He and his family have been recycling and composting “forever,” in his words.
It all started when he was stationed up north with the army and saw some real environmental ugliness, thanks to some inconsiderate contractors who saw the frozen north as a wasteland where they could dump their unwanted garbage.
“I’ve seen waste at its worst,” he said.
That conviction stayed with him and helped him embrace more environmentally friendly technologies during his time with the Department of Highways and while he was working on the Coquihalla.
“We started to use beet juice and brine instead of chemicals to deal with ice,” he said, a much better solution in his eyes than using chemicals on the roads that would be washed into the streams and affect the fish and wildlife.
Guy Duchaine is bringing his passion for green technologies to Nakusp April 2 when area residents will have a unique opportunity to learn more about geothermal green technologies. His company Geoxergy will be coming to town to give a talk on the subject at the Emergency Services Building from 7 to 9 p.m.
But Duchaine isn’t just bringing the company to town to spread the word about geothermal technologies, he’s planning on setting up their British Columbia headquarters here in Nakusp. Having recently completed a project in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast where they built a geoexchange system for the village that residents can hook into in order to heat their houses, Geoxergy saw that there was enough demand out west to set up an office. For Duchaine, this was a golden opportunity to bring his green business home to Nakusp.
“We could settle in Vancouver, but it would cost us an arm and a leg,” said Duchaine. Not only that, but due to the nature of the business, an office can be set up anywhere internet and cell phone service are available.
“It doesn’t make sense to travel,” said Duchaine. Most business communications can be done more cheaply and quickly in a video teleconference call, which reduces the amount of stress on both the traveler and the environment, he said.
“I can work two hours on the computer, then go cross country skiing or to the hot springs,” said Duchaine, “It’s a quality of life issue.”
The Geoxergy CEO also sees a potential office here as a real draw for employees who would enjoy the “fringe benefits” of living in a beautiful environment to raise a family.
“It’s a good business decision,” confirmed Duchaine, who can take care of the administrative affairs right from home.
Geoxergy is in a good position to spread the word about green technologies too. The company has done projects ranging in scale from single private homes to large shopping complexes.
Once a project is seen as worthwhile, the next stage is designing the appropriate system.
“Design is key,” Duchaine stressed, “A system that is too powerful is just as bad as one that isn’t powerful enough.”
Although Geoxergy is capable of doing large projects, they are still keen on introducing homeowners to geothermal alternatives, part of their aim to “green” as much of the planet as they can.
“We’ve got to go green, and stop using fossil fuels,” said Duchaine. He conceded that fossil fuels may be needed in some industry still, but that people should reduce their use of them as much as possible, not only because they are a non-renewable resource but also because they come with some nasty side effects.
The third and final portion of a project is implementation, and Geoxergy tries to hire local contractors or subcontractors who have the necessary equipment for the job.
Duchaine emphasized that his company has the ability to teach as well, and have helped contractors get outfitted for geothermal work.
Each project is unique, and Geoxergy helps their clients achieve the highest energy efficiency that they are able.
“Everything depends on the situation,” said Duchaine. Getting a client to be as green as possible can include informing them of everything they can do to be more energy efficient, like changing their light bulbs to ensuring their windows are well insulated.
For Duchaine, every undertaking is about people, something that he also took away from his days in the military.
“People make things happen, not leaders,” he said, “Leaders give people the opportunity to succeed.”
Taking people out of the picture, along with poor communication skills, is what makes businesses fail, Duchaine cautioned. People want to do their best, and a good company lets people do their best.
“It’s all about people,” he said. Duchaine and Geoxergy are bringing geotech to the people on the evening of April 2.