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Rheem Measures Homeowner and Contractor Demand for Sustainability

Rheem enlisted Hanover Research to design and field two quantitative studies on new sustainable products with a sample of homeowners and HVAC & plumbing contractors.


For more than 90 years, Rheem has been a leading manufacturer of residential and commercial water heaters and boilers, as well as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Continuing its legacy as a leader in heating, cooling, and water heating innovation, Rheem launched a sustainability initiative that would position itself as an industry leader in environmental practices.

Research Goals

  • Determine the market demand for sustainable HVAC/water heater products from homeowners and contractors
  • Identify the aspects of sustainability that are the most important to each group
  • Reveal potential barriers to purchasing and selling sustainable HVAC/water heater products


Rheem enlisted Hanover Research to design and field two quantitative studies on a sample of homeowners and HVAC & plumbing contractors.


Hanover designed two sequential quantitative online surveys deployed to HVAC/water heater contractors and homeowners. The surveys sought to understand:

  • The market demand for sustainable products,
  • The aspects of sustainability that are most important to each group, and
  • Which barriers does each group experience when selling or searching for sustainable products?

To understand the sustainability components most important to these groups, Hanover included a MaxDiff exercise in each survey to rank the appeal of potential sustainability initiative components rigorously.

As a result, Hanover recommended that Rheem market its products with eco-friendly terms that customers perceive positively. Hanover’s surveys provided key insights into the top factors that would influence each group to pursue sustainable, energy-efficient products and the barriers that may keep them from purchasing these products.

A survey bar graph showing the level of importance for homeowners and contractors when choosing an HVAC or water heater system. Most important to homeowners and contractors for both systems were 1. Price 2. Energy Efficiency 3. Reliability. These three outrank energy efficiency certifications, warranty, capacity, brand, smart tech, safety claims, and product availability.
Energy efficiency and reliability top importance for contractors, while price and utility bill reductions though lower energy usage are the top priority for homeowners.

“When planning our sustainability initiative, we needed to know what aspects of sustainability mattered most to our contractors and end-users, and what features they valued most in sustainable products, as that would ultimately inform our marketing strategy.”

Kathleen Payne
Research and Customer Insights Manager, Rheem.

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The Outcome: Rheem Launches a Sustainability Platform Based on Strategic Research

Informed by Hanover’s survey findings, Rheem launched a comprehensive sustainability platform, A Greater Degree of Good, as well as 2025 sustainability commitments, including:

  • Launch a line of heating, cooling, and water heating products that boast a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas footprint
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and achieve zero waste to landfill in global manufacturing operations
  • Train 250,000 plumbers and contractors on sustainable products or sustainable installation and recycling best practices


reduction in the greenhouse gas footprint with the launch of new heating, cooling, and water heating product lines


plumbers and contractors trained on sustainable products or sustainable installation and recycling best practices


waste to landfill in global manufacturing operations

“We wanted to take a holistic approach to understand consumer behavior, perceptions, and what words resonate with consumers and the trade when it comes to sustainability. Hanover’s survey insights helped inform our sustainability strategy: we saw that consumers and contractors really care about sustainability and value a manufacturer that prioritizes sustainability in their business decisions. Hanover brought out research techniques like MaxDiff to help create the best survey instrument for our needs.”

Kathleen Payne
Research and Customer Insights Manager

The Client

Rheem Manufacturing Company®


Heating, Cooling, Water Heating, and Commercial Refrigeration


Atlanta, GA

Research Methodologies

Customer Demand Study, MaxDiff Analysis

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Hanover assessed the product opportunities for Rheem through:




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