Innovation Snapshot
Innovator:Genics Inc.
Location:Acheson, Alberta

Protecting Wood Structures

The wooden monoliths that are utility poles line lonely gravel roads and loom over busy highways. But every one that rots or is damaged needs to be replaced and that takes a lot of wood.

Genics Inc. aims to make the utility industry more sustainable by protecting utility poles and other wood structures with environmentally safe materials. By extending the life of wood products, less wood is needed for replacements.

For almost 40 years, the company has developed wood treatments that fight rot, provide fire protection, and keep away pests that can destroy utility poles, wooden buildings and other structures.

Genics was founded by two brothers, Cal and Wes Wall, based on their experience working in the wood treatment industry during their university days. The chemicals they used were very good at protecting the wood, but they were also highly toxic and had serious impacts on both the environment and the workers.

Genics products use a combination of copper and boron to protect wood from threats like fungus and insects. The solution has much less impact on the environment and is much safer to apply.

While it is based out of Acheson, Genics has expanded by setting up testing labs in Hawaii, Mississippi and Louisiana — humid places that are very hard on wood — to continue to refine and improve their products.