All Iced Up and Ready to Roll

HVAC Rentals
Written by Pauline Müller

Known especially in the food and outdoor events industries for having the largest fleet of temperature-controlled transport in Canada, HVAC Rentals does much more than its name suggests. Fast expanding into British Columbia and the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, its offering is as dynamic as the depth of its service is generous.

Beyond renting refrigeration, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment and temperature-controlled transport units, the Montreal, Quebec-based company also provides a complete set of services that answer all its clients’ needs in the areas around Edmonton, Windsor, Toronto, and Calgary—an aspect of its business that puts it several notches above others in its local market.

“We see ourselves as a solutions provider and not a renting company. Regardless of any problem [clients] have, we support them and help them design a setup for what they need,” says Vincent Roy, General Manager across all four of the company’s divisions in Canada. And that support is complete—covering layout, installation and post-installation operations, and beyond.

As such, the company’s services include several aspects surrounding running HVAC equipment, starting with round-the-clock emergency call-outs every day of the year. The team prides itself on an average arrival time of one hour from the time of the call-out, with installation typically being complete within another hour following that. The team also handles any and all breakdowns, including electricity outages and equipment failures. With the largest fleet of mobile coolers and rooftop HVAC component selection available, HVAC Rentals is always ready to save the day—no matter how large the problem.

The company also serves organizers of large events like national golf and tennis tournaments, concerts, and Montreal’s F1 Race, which it has proudly served for a quarter of a century. Here, layout, power, cooling, and access to reliable refrigeration for food and beverage needs are all covered. In tandem with this, the HVAC Rentals team arranges the floor plan and temporary installation for optimal function within the space. Then there is its traditional collaboration with other contractors across several fields, including plumbing, construction, electrical, and more.

“They know that any problem they run into, we will be there to provide them with a solution,” says Roy. “Whether it’s air quality, ventilation, cooling, heating, electric distribution panels, generators, or temporary installations on complex projects… we can come up with any solution on any given day. The good thing is that we offer this service 24/7,” he adds.

Being proactive is part of the team’s DNA. That was again very evident during COVID-19 when it developed a unique solution that set the company on an entirely new growth trajectory. One of its big wins of that period included creating a HEPA filter solution with a particulate-absorbing power of as small as 0.3 microns that cleans the air better than any other filter commonly available on the retail market today. That proved a lifesaver for clients in dire need of improved ventilation due to high temperatures in establishments like retirement homes, healthcare facilities, interim testing outfits, and field hospitals, where the company’s refrigeration expertise also went a long way to enabling the optimal storage of medications. Its proactive approach meant that all its clients continued receiving excellent service and that it could retain its incredible staff.

The team of 225 throughout the country is a great source of pride for its leadership, thanks to their self-motivation and commitment to excellence. “We brought our solution to a standard unmatched by anybody else on the market. It is something that we are really proud of. It was not just the engineering team; it was a group effort. And we navigated through that [very] well,” Roy says.

This period of innovation, chiefly serving Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta, gave the company the capital injection it needed to upgrade equipment and technology and introduce new capabilities while strengthening customer relationships.

In recent years, the company also added several mechanically frozen outdoor ice rinks across Calgary to its assets, positioning itself well for the outdoor events trend that has taken root firmly throughout Canada and continues to expand. In this division, the company supplies small to medium-sized municipalities with temporary ice rinks for about half a year per rental, depending on local needs. And, to ensure that visitors enjoy the safety of comfortable and good quality cover, HVAC Rentals collaborates with general contractors to erect permanent roofs. “We want to expand [our temporary ice rink] offering to the rest of Canada. We are starting here in Quebec, but it is a long-term project,” explains Sylvain Peterkin, Director of Business Development.

Roy ascribes the popularity of temporary ice rinks to climate change as the time frame in which naturally occurring ice is available in the wild has significantly shrunk over the years. “We can build an ice rink anywhere we want. Over the past two years, we built a skate way in downtown Montreal during the Light Festival where we bring the good old Christmas fun together with an ice rink,” he says. To ensure permanent ice on its rinks, HVAC Rentals employs specialized chillers to keep temperatures down. “I think every city deserves a couple of exterior ice rinks during the winter.”

The Canadian oil industry and growing additional markets also brought fresh opportunities that the team is fully embracing from its recently opened location in Leduc, Alberta, which serves as a platform from whence to expand the business further into the north of the country—the obvious next step. “I think Alberta is a great market,” says Peterkin. “Further west is also a great market to grow… oil and gas are here to stay, and we are looking at green solutions too.” These ideas include—perhaps as soon as 2024/2025—partially replacing generators with solar panel and battery combination systems as the technology becomes more affordable and reliable. This move will also go a long way toward continuously making the company’s overall offering more environmentally sustainable.

Considering its vigour, it is not difficult to appreciate the HVAC Rentals vision. With labour availability at ongoing all-time lows, the firm has set out to grow its own quality expertise by supporting younger job applicants in improving their skills and knowledge with quality internal training. By doing this, the company is also building loyalty amongst employees, securing a steady flow of new intakes for the future, and cementing its service excellence across all operations.

“We are proud of our technician education,” shares Peterkin. “Without bragging, our technicians sometimes know more about those units than the manufacturer technicians do. Because we have no choice.”

The trailblazing does not end there. HVAC Rentals performs a great deal of equipment improvements onsite to address client needs. One example of this work includes its low-temperature evaporators that allow the team to turn virtually any space into a refrigeration or freezer unit—uncommon equipment rarely available on the open market that illustrates its pioneering spirit and love of pushing the boundaries. Naturally, the company also keeps itself aligned with national standards and legislation.

Going from a small HVAC rental outfit founded in 2000, it was Montreal’s film industry that would set the company up for success when it started supplying sets with rooftop air-conditioning units, from whence it expanded into chillers, generators, and more as its customers’ needs evolved. Today, its innovation still generates incredible growth, putting the company at the forefront of temporary HVAC solutions for refrigeration, heating, ventilation, and cooling in Canada.

“There is this old adage. Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business. We have proven that this works very well,” Roy says with a smile. We do not doubt that this secret to success will continue to drive HVAC Rentals’ growth across Canada over the years to come.



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