How Trane Helps Create Healthier Homes
This home in Williamsburg, Va., built by the CEO and founder of Health E Community Enterprises, features Tranquility by Trane.
When a firm develops a reputation as a leader in its market, it is usually because that company has either superior technology or strong associates. But Trane brings the combination of both to the air conditioning systems industry.
Today, the company offers extensive engineering expertise to its customers, in addition to high-performance, efficient equipment with modern, digital controls. “That’s why we earned the tagline, ‘It’s hard to stop a Trane,’” David Maruna says.
Maruna is the marketing leader for residential new construction and multifamily property management for Trane. The firm focuses on solving energy and climate challenges with innovations in the HVAC and design services industries.
One of the company’s newest offerings, Tranquility by Trane, has the goal of using HVAC installation, a third-party design partnership and building science to provide healthy and comfortable homes, while also improving homebuyers’ sleep and energy usage. Five years ago, Maruna says, the company created a specialty Strategic Accounts team to work with builders on their projects.
Today, its associates help builders through the challenging process of constructing a high-performance home, assisting with HVAC system design and ensuring industry regulations are met. But Tranquility also helps builders provide the luxury of comfort at a lower price point.
“It is great for the entire housing industry,” Maruna says. “It is a way to think differently about how to build and design homes.”
Trane introduced the Tranquility service with an ad in Parade of Homes magazine in 2019. Immediately, Maruna says, the ad earned the company a strong and enthusiastic response from builders.
“We had builders call and ask, ‘What is Tranquility and how do I get it?’” Maruna recalls. Trane’s ad set itself apart from other HVAC advertisements by featuring a woman relaxing in a fluffy bed. “It said, ‘Tranquility makes you breathe easier.’”
This helped earn Trane three pilot projects for Tranquility in 2019. “We’ll have more in 2020,” Maruna predicts, adding that the company plans to begin offering this service to some of the homes built for the St. Jude Dream Home Program, whose earnings support the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
More than 40 builders across the nation volunteer their time and secure donations to build and then, in most cases, raffle off the homes. Trane serves as a national sponsor for the program and provides the Climate and Energy (HVAC) system for each of the Dream Homes. “We have a very strong relationship with the St. Jude organization,” he says.
Trane’s future projects also include a home for a well-known athlete in Charlotte, N.C. “We’re also expanding our team to take it into multifamily,” he says, adding that many millennials who cannot afford to buy still have the desire to live in a healthier home.
As with anything new, Trane has encountered a little resistance to the Tranquility service from some builders. “Nothing is ever easy,” Maruna admits, explaining that busy builders assume that a healthier home means more cost and complexity.
But Trane has worked through this challenge with the help of Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO of Shelton Group.
Shelton’s work focuses on health and wellness, which makes her a good fit for Tranquility. Her research found that “71 percent of people who have a highly efficiency home assume it’s a healthier home,” Maruna says. However, higher efficiency does not necessarily equate to a home’s indoor air quality or other wellness factors.
Shelton has discerned that there are two things consumers want most of all: a better night’s sleep and more time. “What we’re trying to do is speak in that language,” he says. “That’s why we use the word ‘Tranquility’ — we offer the possibility for a better night’s sleep, among other benefits.”
When conveying these messages to clients and end-users, the company avoids using complex, technical jargon so they can understand the benefits of its service. “We’ll also back up every claim we make with the data that we’ll provide with our equipment,” Maruna says.
Trane recently spread the word about Tranquility with a launch at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas this January. This included a presentation with builder and YouTuber Matt Risinger, and Chris Little, the president of Builders, which specializes in high-performance design and construction.
The company also held a “High Performance Home Chat” with Risinger and Dr. John McKeon, the CEO of Allergy Standards.
The timing is right for Trane to offer its Tranquility service and efficient products that provide a healthier environment for homeowners. According to Maruna, the Global Wellness Institute recently determined the wellness industry to be worth $4.2 trillion.
“They also think that the wellness industry is going to collide with the real estate industry,” he continues. This could transform the business, resulting in builders and end-users asking for components that provide healthier options and wellness in new homes. “For us, [this] is a wonderful opportunity.”
Maruna sees a strong future ahead for Trane and its Tranquility service. After building individual homes, the company would like to bring the service to entire communities.
“Hopefully, we can find a top-five builder that’s committed to building healthier homes for their customers,” he says. “Since homes are usually our most significant financial investment, it is logical that they should be ingrained in our desired health outcomes.”