By Roy L Hales
Vancouver intends to be obtain 100% of its’ electricity from renewable sources by 2050. This is quite a jump from the 31% usage today and involves conservation as well as incorporating new energy sources. One of the firms that make 100% possible is Kambo Green Solutions, which provides businesses with solutions to lower their energy needs.
One of the Firms That Make 100 Percent Possible
Two years ago Karim Abraham and his sister, Yasmin, observed that no one was offering a holistic way for businesses to reduce their energy consumption. So with the help of their father Areef Abraham, who has been in the energy efficiency business for +40 years, they founded Kambo as “Canada’s first one-stop destination to evaluate, calculate, install, and monitor energy efficiency solutions for businesses.”
This family relationship has continued in the form of two sister companies: Quality Program Services, which Areef founded in 2008, and Kambo. They work out of the same office, in Vancouver’s Gastown district. The two companies also share the services of twelve full-time and eight part-time employees. (Yasmin works for both companies.) However the emphasis is different: QPS’s target market is indigenous and ethnic minorities; Kambo serves the business community.
Kambo is also run by millennials, who approach their work with a sense that it is a mission. Karim, who recently turned 30, was raised in a household where energy efficiency was important. His company attracts like minded employees, “who believe in what they are doing.”
The Customer Experience
Kambo does the energy assessment, provides a business case of what suggested improvements will cost and oversees the implementation. While they hire sub trades, they are directly answerable to Kambo.
The improvements usually involve lighting, heating or cooling. Sometimes new technologies are introduced. Other jobs require a more efficient usage of existing
“Almost all of our projects pay for themselves in under three years. That is something most businesses are interested in and they can forecast into their budget. Anything over three years is pretty tough (to sell),” said Karim.
He added, “We put in a ten year cash flow on that project, so businesses can see how (completed) projects will effect them for the next ten years.”
Kambo has upgraded 7 of the 15 Mr Lube outlets in the Lower Mainland.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this story occurred when Kambo came back after the project was finished.
The client was very appreciative of the visit,” You guys are the first trade that has come in here, done something, and then actually come back and talked to us about what happened.”
As the were checking the electricity usage, Kambo noticed a spike during lunch time. This was when Mr Lube’s employees were turning the heat up in the lunch room. A couple of behavioural changes, such as ensuring the door was closed and the heat turned off when it was not needed, saved the company $1,200 a year.
FCMC Assisted Living Senior’s Care
With another client, Kambo found that a few behavioural changes were preferable to using more advanced technology.
FCMC Assisted Living Senior’s Care has facilities in Chilliwack, Maple Ridge and Delta.
Kambo installed digital thermostats in the common areas, but opted to try this out in a few of the private rooms. It turned out that the residents neither liked or understood the new devices. They were seniors and preferred the simplicity of older thermostats.
“This is a good example of us going to the client and saying don’t spend $10,000 on this because you might get some energy savings, but you will also get a whole bunch of headaches,” said Karim.
Residents were asked to conserve energy and staff were given the task ensuring the heat is not left on when not needed.
Paradigm Group Parkade
When the Paradigm Group Parkade was skeptical about his projections, Karim suggested they try his solution out on one floor. Kambo observed that all of the lights were on all of the time. Installing occupancy sensors, so that the lights would not be on when no one was around, would save a lot of money.
When Kambo returned two weeks later, they discovered the occupancy censors had reduced the energy consumption on that floor by 49.3%.
The client was astonished, “How can I say no to this? It is based on real data. You guys have proved your worth to us.”
So they were given the contract.
“The reason I love this business so much is that every single day we are working with people and it is always ‘win-win.’ We are providing a measurable way to reduce the cost and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Karim
Businesses like Kambo are making a significant contribution towards Vancouver’s green energy goals.
Kambo currently serves Vancouver and the Lower Mainland but, thanks to a recent investment from Empresario Capital Partners, they hope to expand into Vancouver Island and Northern BC during the next 18 months. Their next target is Alberta.
Top Photo Credit: Another one of Kambo’s clients, Artinas Jewellery Vancouver – Courtesy Kambo Green Solutions