I am going to take a break from educating our readers about radiant heating and cooling systems to make you aware of a very important effort that has begun. We will return to more information on radiant heating and cooling systems in next month’s column.
A new subgroup to our Hydronics Industry Alliance committee was formed back at the beginning of the year. This group consists of a number of large hydronic equipment manufacturers with major foresight. This very intelligent, very observant group came to the realization that hydronics’ market share, which has been estimated at being around 15% of the commercial market, is backsliding.
This does not sit well with people whose business is dependent on hydronic sales to make their operations profitable. They decided to form an ad-hoc group to begin countering this loss of potential revenue, as well as increase their market share of new commercial installations. The ad-hoc group was initially called the R-718 Group. For those not experienced in refrigeration, R-718 is the designation of water vapor as a refrigerant. This name, while quite recognizable in refrigeration engineering circles, was deemed as inadequate when it came to getting the word out about hydronics to the people who are charged with the responsibility of deciding which type and or kind of heating and cooling systems was going to be installed in the new buildings being built, as well as replacement systems for the many aging systems out there in need of replacement.
Consequently, the group adopted the name Hydronics Industry Alliance — Commercial. The Radiant Professionals Alliance made this announcement earlier this year when our formal agreement to provide the group with a new home was made. Since that time, we have started meeting on a monthly basis and have begun a manufacturer recruitment program; developed the business tools necessary to ensure the chances of a successful advertising campaign; put together a comprehensive website; and developed a targeted marketing campaign for round one of our advertising blitz.
For a short period of time, we were meeting on a weekly basis during our drive to increase membership within the organization. This helped keep the momentum alive and brought even more hydronic equipment manufacturers on line and into the committee.
The core group of manufacturers met for a face-to-face strategy meeting June 12 in our facilities in Mokena,Ill. Key decisions were made regarding the ads being developed for use within targeted magazines to get our message in front of the decision makers (owners, builders, designers and engineers). A budget was fine-tuned for the initial efforts, and commitments were made by all attending the meeting to move forward with our efforts. The initial plan is to place short, to-the-point ads in certain magazines letting people know that water is the best choice for providing heating and cooling, regardless of the application.
The ads will then direct the readers to the HIA-C website, which will contain a plethora of white papers and other reference materials showing readers that hydronics is not new — it has been around for hundreds of years — and that it is, as we have all known, the most efficient method of transferring energy into or out of a given structure.
At that point, the logos and a URL link to the participating manufacturing members’ websites will allow the readers to dig even further into the information being purveyed, with that common message being “Water is the best, most efficient, safest method for maintaining building comfort.”
As a hydronic equipment manufacturer, you should be involved in this industry effort. I found it very exciting to be sitting in a room with some of the best engineering/marketing minds this industry has to offer, with competitors sitting shoulder to shoulder, agreeing that if they didn’t do something real soon their market share could actually erode to zero in a fairly short period of time. They agreed that something needed to be done now to stop the loss of market share and increase that market share moving forward.
This is not about “My product is better than yours.” It’s more about, “Our method is better than the competition’s!” And, for the record, the competition that is vying for our market share includes the variable refrigerant flow industry, gas-fired direct/indirect heater manufacturers and others.
With many major cities (New York, Chicago, Seattle, etc.) developing energy usage benchmarking models, hydronic heated and cooled buildings are being recognized as some of the most efficient buildings in the world. As I previously stated, our industry has known this for quite some time, and this very intelligent group of equipment manufacturers has taken the initiative to get the word out to the commercial building world to increase the percentage of commercial buildings being developed with hydronics, as well as retaining the market share we currently have.
Keep an eye on the Hydronics Industry Alliance’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date information on this important group. If you are interested in joining as a manufacturer, e-mail me at [email protected], and I will get you some information about becoming involved.
Please join this historic industrywide effort!
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