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Smart buildings & connectivity; Dutch HVAC installers are the frontrunners in Europe

​ Ever since man started to build houses and buildings to live & work in, they continuously tried to improve them. We moved from simple structures using natural materials to high rise buildings made from steel, aluminium & glass (although in some cases natural materials are making a comeback).

Various technologies, complex buildings

Buildings today are already very complex structures containing a lot of technology, but most of this technology works separately (lighting, security, heating, ventilation, air conditioning). We are now moving from buildings that contain various technologies towards buildings where these technologies are connected. With this development, we are reaching smart & connected buildings at its most fundamental level.

This story about smart buildings & connectivity has been quite a hype in the last couple of years, but there are clear signs that this development is increasing more rapidly. A wide variety of manufacturers are introducing products which are smart (from thermostats to pumps) and can also be monitored remotely (to keep track of performance, maintenance etc.).

Smart buildings

We wanted to investigate how far smart buildings/products and connectivity already penetrated the work life of the European HVAC installer & plumber. Therefore, we devoted an entire report on this topic in the European Mechanical Installation Monitor. The topic of the Q2 2017 report of this quarterly research amongst 4,800 HVAC installers in 6 European countries by USP Marketing Consultancyis Smart Building and Connectivity. I want to focus on the frontrunner with regards to HVAC installer who already works with smart products; The Netherlands.

In the image above you can see the percentage of Dutch HVAC installers working with smart products. In the Netherlands, almost two thirds of HVAC installers are working (always, regularly or occasionally) with smart products. Furthermore, a little under 70% is feeling very positive or positive on the development of more smart & connected products.

Reasons to be positive

When asked about the reason why they are positive, the top 3 answers of Dutch HVAC installers where:

  • The products are easy to use and control by the end user (30%)
  • This is the future (19%)
  • Increasing demand from clients (11%)

The third reason is obviously very important. Our study shows that 66% of Dutch HVAC installers experience an increase in demand from clients for smart/connected products and solutions.

Amongst many other questions, we also asked about the type of smart/connected products that are most commonly installed. In the Netherlands these are central heating/cooling controls/thermostats (91%), sensors (61%), zoned heating & cooling (59%) , lighting (48%) and detectors (46%). The high share of electrical products mentioned by the Dutch HVAC installer, can be explained by the fact that there are a lot of companies in the Netherlands that do both electrical and HVAC installation.