Client: Rheem Manufacturing Company®
Industry: Heating, Cooling, Water Heating and Commercial Refrigeration
Headquarters: Atlanta, GA
Research Methodologies: Customer Demand Study, MaxDiff Analysis
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.
“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,” said Kathleen Payne, Research and Customer Insights Manager, Rheem.
Rheem enlisted Hanover Research to design and field two quantitative studies to a sample of homeowners and HVAC & plumbing contractors.
- 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
“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 is prioritizing sustainability in their business decisions. Hanover brought out research techniques like MaxDiff to help create the best survey instrument for our needs.”
Research and Customer Insights Manager
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 each group experiences 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 rigorously rank the appeal of potential sustainability initiative components.
As a result, Hanover recommended that Rheem market its products with ecofriendly 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.
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