Patrick Villaume: Blending Old And New Technologies To Deliver The Optimal HVAC Service

Patrick Villaume | Sustained Engineering Solutions (SES)

Tell us about yourself?

I am an engineer trying to make the world a better place through the combination of applying new technologies and the optimising of existing ones in neighbourhood, and city-side HVAC systems. In addition to their application, I strive to educate new and current HVAC professionals on these technologies so they can drive the industry in innovative directions in the heating and cooling spaces.

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

The single biggest misconception is that startups have to be flashy and always about cutting-edge technology. SES is here to promote the technologies that make the most sense in the spaces we are presented with, this may not be only new ideas, but ideas from other areas that previously were not realised could apply. We look to the past as well as the future to make a more sustainable present, not necessarily the flashiest or most cutting-edge.

If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?

Start sooner! I have spent too much time not focusing on herding the different theories and practices and not speaking the narrative. All in good time, but there is so much to do in regards to applying the best and most sustainable practices to the industry.

What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?

To my knowledge, I am the only consultant juxtaposed between new and old technologies to drive a sustainable future with new and existing buildings. Many are focused on one or the other, but it is a more holistic approach that is needed to make sure we maintain our inventory of systems while making the globe more efficient and sustainable not just for tomorrow, but the day after.

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What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?

Narrowing into the problem, rather than starting on the focus. This approach allows one to not exclude ideas that are adjacent to what you are trying to solve, rather than things that are simply obvious.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

Our team’s mission is to provide guidance, analysis, and education to the greater engineering community. We specialize in energy distribution and generation, efficiency as a service (EaaS) as well as general operation, tackling needs of alternative fuel sources such as hydrogen and biofuels, thermal and mechanical energy storage, and overall system efficiency. We are driven to create a more comfortable, sustainable future for people all across the globe through engineered solutions to your everyday needs.

Where do you see your business in five years?

I see SES in 5 years not only driving change in the HVAC systems industry, but partnering with universities, manufacturers, and engineering firms alike to bridge the divide between research ideas and commercially available options for innovative approaches to system management and product application.

It has been referred to as the “valley of death” where research projects fail to make it to the commercially viable stage. I see many of these technologies being able to thrive, just needing some sales and marketing assistance as well as a vision of the possibilities they can be used for. I want to guide these ideas into the industry by being a liaison to all parties involved through educated decisions for a more sustainable future.

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What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?

The biggest challenge would be getting the proper audience for the technologies and ideas that there will be to present. This is mainly due to the fact that the technology has not been built yet and the businesses are not necessarily either, at least aware of the possibilities that are out there. That is the work of SES from now until then, to awaken the conversation on all sides.

Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?

The biggest success SES has had would be in consulting for a university that was having significant issues with their geothermal system. They were thinking it was in the controls of the devices that they had in place and that they were not controlling the heating and cooling loads properly.

Our team decided to take a further back view and see what the system is actually doing, looking at the pumps, valves, the thermal storage units themselves, and see what is within reasonable tolerance. It was then that I realised that many of the units were cycling their temperature at a more drastic rate than the other cells. This lead to an imbalance in the heating and cooling loads which, in turn, did not allow for proper thermal regulation. Controls were a part of it, but simply allowing the system to balance itself and not control this as much ended up saving the university 30% on their energy load savings.

How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?

I never have thought of myself as much of a salesperson. I believe in the technology and ideas that I promote, and that passion that I share with others, allows people to make their own decisions. Any customer that comes to us is given the opportunity to have their system, neighborhood, or city treated equally so that they can operate at their best, most efficient selves always.

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What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?

It is actually an engineering saying, measure twice, cut once. Meaning, be calculated with your decisions so that you can go all-in with the data that you have, rather than go into something and then have to try again. Failing is an option! Don’t get me wrong, but always do your best to get all the information beforehand so your failing and succeeding is well analysed for the future.

And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?

I hope the future brings both SES and myself many opportunities to better manage the heating and cooling infrastructure as a whole, rather than individual parts. I also hope that it brings successful products from research to the market making the HVAC environment a better place. One main mission I have for myself would be to create a more aware HVAC culture for a more sustainable future. It is through future education and product development in the heating and energy sector, that I feel we as a society can drive down the path to a better tomorrow.

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