Mike Rodrigues is so confident about his product that he puts his money where his promise is.
As the owner of True North Energies in Chandler, he says if his Energy Cool high-performing secondary condenser for air conditioning systems doesn’t cut his residential or commercial customer’s energy consumption by at least 20 percent, they don’t owe him a dime.
The Chandler man and his partner/operations manager Joseph Marino, also of Chandler, are in a good place to back that claim since 50 percent of a building’s energy costs involve air conditioning.
And with the air running a good six to eight months a year in Arizona, they feel their product will be especially appealing to places, like restaurants, that have had to reduce occupancy because of the pandemic.
“I was expecting a good savings but I was pleasantly surprised when the Energy Cool units saved me 42 percent on my HVACs electrical use,” said Scott Yarbrough, a Chandler Chick-fil-A franchisee.
Explained Rodrigues: “Many restaurants can only sit a fracture of their dining capacity but have to cool their entire space. The weighted cost of the electricity is significantly higher than what it was pre-COVID. So when we can come in and reduce that burden for them, it creates a sizable increase to their bottom line instantly.”
That explains why Rodrigues thinks that the pandemic in the long run “will enhance our value proposition.”
He wasn’t so cheery about the pandemic when it first hit Arizona.
A native of Hawaii who has lived in Arizona the last 20 years - operating a financial services firm with his wife for most of that time - Rodrigues had planned to launch True North Energies after spending the previous six months preparing.
“Of course we, like everyone else, never expected a worldwide pandemic to hit at the end of Q1 2020,” he said. “That shut down our supply chain for a while and disrupted conversations we started to have with major retailers. Our target customers shut down their facilities and didn’t know when they would reopen and what their new-normal would look like, so most of them weren’t very open to make changes.
“But as things opened up, we’ve been able to pick back up on most of those discussions and start many new ones.”
Rodrigues got interested in Energy Cool after meeting the owner of the patent, who lives in Japan.
“I was amazed how well the product worked,” he said, “how the results could be validated, and yet it wasn’t being sold in the United States. I first helped get it into Hawaii and now am building our distribution in the continental United States, starting with Arizona.”
And he and Marino picked Chandler as their base not just because they have homes here, but because “Chandler is a very pro-business city. It supports its local businesses and has the entrepreneurial climate that we wanted to be in to grow our business in.”
Energy Cool is a high-performing secondary condenser for air conditioners with a multi-stage double cooling system that maximizes an air conditioner’s efficiency while reducing its energy consumption.
It’s not something that anyone can install on their own, which explains why North Star is aggressively courting HVAC companies. ”Our product is a natural fit and enhances HVAC companies’ product offerings,” Rodrigues explained.
As for how the product works, Rodrigues said, “It’s basic physics.”
“The most efficient way to cool something is to increase its surface area. By increasing the amount of condenser coils, this is achieved. But with the increase in length of the coils, other products have run into the problem of the refrigerant getting stuck and clogging the system. What’s patented in our device is the adapter nozzle that accelerates the refrigerant all the way through.
“So it provides the additional cooling area without any of the problems previously associated with additional condenser coils. The net effect is that the HVAC’s compressor runs less and therefore consumes less electricity. Additional benefits are reduced CO2 emissions and the life of the HVAC gets extended.”
Some notable companies have bought into Energy Cool among them, Toyota, Marriott, Sony, 7-Eleven, Panasonic and TDK.
As with any start-up, Rodrigues said his biggest challenge is “getting to the decision maker.”
“Once I can have a conversation with him or her, typically good things happen,” he said. “It just makes sense and they have absolutely nothing to lose to get a No-Cost Performance Pilot Program going at their place of business to experience our results. We prove the system works to them before they buy.”
Still he recognizes as well that “many business owners are dealing with major problems and are in survival mode.”
“I understand why they are consumed with what’s wrong but for those who think strategically and act proactively, our devices will get them to their financial goals quicker.”
Information: TrueNorthEnergies.com or 480-462-8022.