In 1976, as a result of client demand and interest in alternative heating systems, primarily wood and solar, GARN | Dectra Corporation founder, Martin Lunde, PE, began personally funding internal research on wood combustion. By 1978, he and his associates had developed a crude prototype of what was to become the GARN WHS unit. Initial testing showed the concept was viable.
In 1979, the Department of Energy awarded Lunde a grant to continue research and development on the unit. One of the first prototypes was installed in an energy efficient residence in 1980. While the design won awards, the system was too complex and expensive.
Between 1981 and 1983, twenty to thirty prototypes were developed and field tested as the GARN design continued to evolve, and the first of several patents were granted. By the end of 1983, Popular Science published an article about the development of the unit and generated enough interest that Lunde started the process of building a company to manufacture and distribute the GARN units.
In 1984, Apache Oil joined as a major investor. Lunde founded GARN, Inc. and registered GARN as a trademark. From 1984 to 1990, the GARN design was further refined, gained UL and CSA listings and several additional patents.
At the end of 1989, oil prices in the world market dropped by over 60%. Apache Oil consolidated its holdings and resold its stock to Lunde. Lunde merged the GARN product into his consulting firm, Dectra Corporation, and continued to develop and improve the product. Between 1990 and 2004, Lunde continued to manufacture and produce GARN equipment at reduced levels, and continued to personally fund additional research, development, and improvements.
By 2003, rising oil prices had caused a significant resurgence in interest in alternative energy. Sales of GARN units began to rise to pre-1989 levels. By 2005, Lunde began bringing on additional partners and consultants. In the first quarter of 2008, manufacturing space was doubled to meet the significant increase in demand for the clean-burning and efficient wood units.
Today, GARN | Dectra celebrates 30 years of quality, efficient products that are in use in diverse settings such as remote Alaskan villages, cohousing communities in the Northeast, small commercial operations around the United States…and across the globe, including as far away as New Zealand.