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Who are the most sustainable installers?

Sustainability is a hot topic in the European installation sector, but its temperature varies from country to country. As we saw in an earlier article, HVAC installers from Poland and the Netherlands report that sustainability is taken into account in more than half of their projects, while in France that share is only 31%. With about two thirds of installers promoting sustainable solutions to their clients, Polish and Dutch installers also take the lead in actively spreading the word on sustainability.

But what about installers’ own sustainability? Are they only spreading the word or are they leading by example? For the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Mechanical Installation Monitor, we interviewed 700 HVAC installers from six major European markets about the role of sustainability in their installation projects. We also asked them about their efforts to reduce their own CO2 emissions, and whether they are even aware of what they emit.

Awareness of own CO2 emissions varies a lot

In the two countries where sustainability plays a role in installation projects most often, Poland and the Netherlands, installers are also most aware of their own impact on the environment. 86% of Polish installers and 72% of Dutch installers report that they are aware of the CO2 emissions of their own company. Most striking is the enormous variety in awareness, from 86% in Poland to only 5% in France.

Awareness does not necessarily mean action

Installers’ awareness of their emissions seems to say little about installation companies’ adoption of sustainable solutions. When looking at the share of installers using electric vehicles as company cars, for instance, Polish installation companies are at the very bottom of the list, with 77% not using electric vehicles at all and not planning to do so in the future either. Of the French installers, who were the most unaware of their CO2 emissions, a quarter is already using electric company cars and another quarter is planning to.

Similarly, the shares of installation companies who have EV charging stations for their customers or who are using photovoltaics on their own premises do not follow the division and spread that is seen in the above awareness graph. It seems awareness does not necessarily mean action, and that action is not necessarily linked to installers’ awareness, but there is an exception.

Except for promoting sustainable solutions to customers

Interestingly, in countries where installers show the most awareness of their own emissions, they are also promoting sustainability to their clients the most. The share of installers actively promoting sustainable solutions to their clients is largest in Poland and the Netherlands, and smallest in France. Awareness and promotion does not necessarily result in sustainability playing a role in more projects though. In the UK, for instance, well over half of the installers are actively promoting sustainable solutions, but sustainability plays a role in only 31% of installation projects which is the lowest of all countries. These details are most interesting for manufacturers and brands of installation products and systems. They not only show where installers are most eager to promote their sustainable solutions to clients, but also where and how manufacturers can help installers to do that more successfully. For a detailed overview of installers’ experience with and attitudes towards sustainability in six European countries, we refer you to the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Mechanical Installation Monitor.

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