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News I published 15 April 2022

Who wants sustainability?

In a previous article we saw that in Europe, sustainability is taken into account in 44% of HVAC installation projects on average, regardless whether it concerns projects in the residential or non-residential sector. Looking at specific countries, that share varies between a third and well over half of the installation projects, according to installers from the seven countries we investigated.

This shows that sustainability is an important topic and influential trend, but it does not show what drives that trend in the every-day life of the installer. To know that, we have to ask who wants sustainability? Who actually asks for or demands that more sustainable solutions are used? The answers to these questions can be cornerstones for the business strategies of manufacturers and brands of installation products.

Knowing where demand derives from shows how manufacturers can help installers by providing the right certification, information or marketing materials to help the installers sell and install their products, thereby improving brand image and even market share. That is why, for the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Mechanical Installation Monitor, we asked 700 HVAC installers from six major European markets which of their clients actually ask for sustainable solutions.

Many clients ask for sustainable solutions

European installers report that on average, 83% of the end consumers they work for ask for sustainable solutions. Of their business clients, for instance, contractors, architects or commercial building owners, 79% ask for sustainable solutions on average. With around four out of five clients asking for sustainable solutions, there seems to be little difference between business clients and end consumers on a total level.

Looking at specific countries, differences do appear. Demand from business clients seems to be higher than demand from end consumers in Belgium, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, for instance. In Poland, and especially Germany and France, that is the other way around.

But they are not always willing to pay for them

When combining the above graph with the shares of installation projects in which sustainability is taken into account, an interesting question arises. If 83% of the end consumers and 79% of business clients ask for sustainable solutions, how can it be that sustainability is taken into account and sustainable solutions are used in only 44% of installation projects on average?

An answer is found in the fact that sustainable solutions may cost more than less sustainable solutions. Even though around four out of five clients ask for sustainable solutions, less than half of all clients is willing to pay extra for sustainability. Interestingly, just like the demand for sustainability did not differ much between end consumer clients and business clients, their willingness to pay is similar as well. That means that end consumers and business clients are equally driving the use of sustainable solutions in the daily life of the average HVAC installer.

Zooming in on specific countries, significant differences in both demand and willingness to pay for sustainable solutions and installations do appear. For that level of detail and a deeper understanding of how these differences can make or break marketing and sales strategies of manufacturers operating in specific areas, we refer you to the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Mechanical Installation Monitor.

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