Emerson reports that contractors are developing marketing plans for the 13 SEER transition.

ST. LOUIS - About 77 percent of HVAC contractors plan to convert to the 13 seasonal energy-efficiency rating standard by January 2006, according to an Emerson Climate Technologies survey.

The survey of 571 HVAC contractors, which is the second in a series from Emerson, also found that 12 percent of contractors still plan to aggressively sell remaining 10-SEER units after the transition deadline.

"The contractor's role is vital in helping the industry plan for this transition," said Karl Zellmer, vice president of air-conditioning sales for Emerson's Copeland Corp. "With 77 percent of the contractors moving ahead, it is crucial that forward-thinking contractors take advantage of the opportunities this transition offers and implement business changes to ensure success. Only those contractors who are proactive will be positioned for a smooth transition."

The survey also found that of those contractors taking steps to prepare for the transition, 33 percent are actually beginning to develop a marketing plan. While Zellmer says that number is a good sign, he does acknowledge that it needs to be higher.

"With the minimum efficiency at 13 SEER, contractors need to understand that higher energy will no longer be a differentiating benefit they can use to up-sell their customers," said Zellmer. "13 SEER is now driving the need for a total change in mindset across the industry. The contractors who take a strategic look at their business and assess other ways to differentiate and up-sell in a 13-SEER marketplace will continue to be successful."

To view the full survey results, visit www.emersonclimate contractor.com.