Opening doors in Europe

Escea managing director Nigel Bamford is excited by the potential in Europe for the company's gas fires. Photo by James Stringer.
Escea managing director Nigel Bamford is excited by the potential in Europe for the company's gas fires. Photo by James Stringer.

When it comes to energy efficiency, Dunedin company Escea is on fire.

The company's DX series gas fireplace was recently rated the most efficient in Europe by the British Standards Institution.

It achieved a 94.1% energy efficiency rating from the institution as part of its CE certification process, allowing Escea to sell products to most European countries.

Managing director Nigel Bamford said the rating was validation, as the company knew its products were efficient but every country measured efficiency in slightly different ways and it was very hard to ''benchmark yourself country to country''.

Now it could benchmark itself against European producers.

The company's technology and thinking had managed to outdo all those European companies that had been very efficient for many years, he said.

There were hundreds of European fireplace companies, some of which had turnover of hundreds of millions of euros ''and we managed to trump them'', Mr Bamford said.

It had positioned the company as the ''thought leaders'' in the space.

''I don't think that means to say we're going to start selling 10,000 products a week over in Europe [but] if a distributor or another company over there wants to partner with leaders in the efficiency space, they ring us,'' he said.

That was already happening as the rating opened doors with potential distributors and companies.

Before it received the rating, Escea had established a Norwegian distributor.

The DX1500 was also on sale in Australasia, the UK and North America.

Escea was now actively looking to develop additional European distribution networks in the coming months.

The company has had other successes recently, being named as one of New Zealand's 10 hot emerging companies by TIN100 and the DX series fireplaces were placed in the top six in the World Architect News product of the year competition.

While the recession years were hard for anyone providing products to the building industry, the past two years had seen people starting to build houses again, Mr Bamford said.

The D-series technology was really starting to sell well, especially in places like Christchurch, and Australian consumers were also very big on fireplace efficiency.

The company, established in 2002, was now of an age where it could really capitalise on its opportunities, with a good factory and good staff.

Staff numbered 50 and that number would grow over the coming months, he said.

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