Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

September 30, 2002


"We Sell Warmth, Not Heaters"

Keywords: Eco-business / Social Venture Non-manufacturing industry Policy / Systems Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

Nihonkai Gas. Co., Ltd., based in Toyama Prefecture, Japan sells gas as well as gas appliances, including cooking ranges and fan heaters. But in the winter of 2001 they started a service to rent fan heaters, on the grounds that what their customers want is heat, not heaters.

The rental fee is 3,000 yen (about U.S$25 dollars) for one season. In their first year of service, all 150 units for rental were fully booked immediately. Due to the high demand, the company eventually rented out more than 200 units. It is reported that more than 90 percent of these customers placed reservations to continue the use of the service for the next season when the company collected the fan heaters in the spring.

When the weather warms in the spring and heating is no longer needed, the company takes back the fan heaters and stores them in its warehouse, after technicians have completed maintenance. It is thought that this thorough maintenance will prolong the working life of fan heaters longer than if kept at home, making this rental business profitable even at the seasonal fee of 3,000 yen. The company claims that their customers are happy with this service, and that the longer life of the fan heaters can help reduce waste and the amount of resources used . This approach could create a win-win-win situation for everyone involved--the customers, the company and the Earth--by focusing on function, rather than on the product itself.

Posted: 2002/09/30 04:29:13 AM
Japanese version