As an HVAC industry professional, its important to know where to put your limited time and resources when it comes to learning and adopting new strategies that will grow your businesses. It turns out that big national industry trends related to energy usage and technology do eventually trickle down to the guys on the service trucks. If you’re not up to speed, you’ll never be able to service the bigger more lucrative fish in your pond. But in 2020, what energy management strategies will make a difference in the commercial markets served by most commercial HVAC contractors?
What Is Hot in Energy Management?
It’s no secret that the manufacturing and industrial sectors have generally paved the way when it comes to energy management strategies. The reasons for this are fairly obvious as energy usage has a huge impact on their operating costs. Solutions to high energy costs have included the usual cast of characters including:
- Negotiating energy costs directly with utility companies (Note: not a strategy available to your average business owner.)
- Moving to renewable sources of energy as they become cheaper and more readily available. This also reflects a societal change in the value system we are using to asses our energy needs.
- Implementing more sophisticated HVAC solutions in both the mechanical room and the data center
What is interesting however is that non-industrial, commercial businesses have finally gotten on board with at least 2 out of three of these strategies. Consider that in 2019 according to the EPA, commercial businesses accounted for 35% of US electricity usage, a full 8% more than industrial and manufacturing sectors. But the commercial sector is more fragmented and not all energy strategies available to say, General Motors, are available to small businesses, restaurants and other retail operators.
Thus with so many smaller commercial enterprises feeling the pinch, and the larger energy management players still focused on the big fish, the time is right for players in the energy industry to offer practices and systems that can benefit an emerging, but as yet underserved light commercial market.
Selling HVAC Solutions to Light Commercial Businesses
So what does all this means for the average commercial HVAC company trying be the best solution for smaller companies with increasing energy awareness? Here’s a few thoughts from the heating experts at Heat-Timer®
- Energy Management Technology is moving down market – Innovations like smart thermostat’s are well known now to both professionals and consumers. The tech is more functional than ever and at price point’s that make it easier to sell and implement. Add to that the many smartphone and mobile apps that allow you to control the environment in your small business and you need to have this as part of your offering or you’ll just seem like yesterday’s news.
- Sell the Complete Solution, not just the boiler – Increased awareness amongst the light commercial energy market means they know and are more open than ever to hearing about advanced control solutions that promise to extend the life of their equipment as well as reducing energy use each month. Indeed, the Heat-Timer® Digi-Span series of controls was made to address exactly this market. They are both affordable, yet carry many of the most sophisticated features offered by our Platinum Series. They are a perfect fit for many of the light commercial jobs that are the lifeblood of commercial HVAC contractors.
- Sustainability and Millennials, Perfect Together – According to a Nielsen study, 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for a socially responsible product, with over 50% saying their purchase decision is impacted by a brand’s commitment to environmental responsibility. More than 9 in 10 Millennials say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause — an important statement from a market segment that wields over $1 trillion in purchasing power in the United States. This means corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are increasingly important to a profitable business strategy, and energy consciousness and carbon emissions reductions must be a top consideration. Previously viewed as only a cost-cutting measure, saving energy is now also driving the top line, sales. The authenticity with which brands create and implement CSR programs has the power to make or break businesses of all sizes and your ability to talk all things sustainable will increasingly make the difference in attracting the clients you want.
Here’s to the New Decade
At Heat-Timer® we think it’s a great time to be in the energy management industry. The challenges are great but the innovation going on is also tremendously exciting. A new generation is rising into leadership, and they value solutions that will both challenge our industry, but that bring a better roadmap for energy consumption and the planet.
We’re proud to be part of it. Have a great 2020 and beyond.