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Trane’s (Not So) Secret Sauce: Combining Expertise, Teamwork, and Motivation to Achieve Sustainability

Culture of collaboration, innovation and teamwork pays dividends when tackling decarbonization and other challenges.

Trane has a long history of collaborating with customers to solve challenging problems – from providing reliable heating to mitigate tough winters to developing efficient cooling. Today we’re taking the initiative to make big progress in perhaps the most significant HVAC challenge: decarbonizing the built environment.

These efforts are being driven by customer goals, government regulations, global need, and our own desire to improve the environment for our people and planet. Regardless of the impetus, Trane is eager to address this challenge. With our innovative systems and tools, deep expertise and customer focus, Trane has the necessary pieces to lead the way.

Driving Higher Efficiency

We continuously work to develop more efficient HVAC systems – the economics just make sense. As a result, evolving into a sustainability-driven company has been relatively seamless. It’s where we’ve been going all along, and what we’re passionate about for our customers.

Embracing sustainability is good for the planet, but it’s also smart business. Customers may be motivated to pursue decarbonization, or not. Regardless, they almost always want the most efficient equipment and automation, within budget, for each specific project. It’s Trane’s job to meet that need, and we take a systems approach.

“If you look at our leadership on sustainability, we don't talk about individual components so much as systems,” said Ryan Sayre, a systems team leader in Denver, Colorado. “We're writing white papers and application guides about integrated systems, not about products or controllers. Not many companies take that systemic view.”

Some sustainability efforts require new technologies, and there are many Trane employees and customers eagerly waiting for the latest, most advanced equipment to roll out. But there are also novel ways to orchestrate existing equipment and controls and unique engineering resources to develop creative solutions.  

“It’s great to be part of a large company with so many experts,” said Mike Warmbold, sales team leader in Charlotte, North Carolina. “If I have a customer asking about a huge heating plant, I don't have to pretend to be an expert. Somebody else at this company has done it already. That’s not a luxury our competitors have.”

A New Set of Rules

Different regions are approaching sustainability in different ways. Denver is pursuing stringent regulations, with hefty fines, to decarbonize the city. Many of Sayre’s conversations with clients revolve around these emerging codes.

“They are relying on Trane to innovate to meet the requirements,” said Sayre. “It’s interesting because, in some cases, nobody really knows how to reach some of these goals. It’s really cool to work for a company that is on the cutting edge of developing products and systems that can help.”

This focus on solving large, complex problems differentiates Trane from others in the industry. The push to decarbonize means engineers and contractors have to create new playbooks, rather than relying on decades-old methods. This is where layers of internal expertise come together to refine equipment, controls, systems principles, installations and everything else.

“Our ability to solve problems is built on the relationships we have and the ability to bring the team together and say: this is what we have to do,” said David DiFrancesco, controls account manager in the New York metro area. 

“We identify what's happening, get team buy-in, adjust based on people's different experiences and go help solve the customer's problem. Designing plants that help decarbonize buildings is one of the most important things we can be doing right now, and there's a lot of purpose behind that.”

David DiFrancesco Controls Account Manager in the New York metro area

Beyond Systems

Customers may buy a certain system for a range of reasons; perhaps it’s the quality of equipment and connected building solutions Trane pairs for a simplified solution. Or perhaps it’s the reputation of our people and the stance they take alongside our customers to ensure system success in the field.

“My biggest customer always tells me the differentiator is rarely the product,” said Warmbold, “it's normally the people that they’re getting with it. I think what really differentiates us is when we're working between offices, like working with engineers in a different territory; how easily we coordinate to make things seamless. That’s mostly invisible to customers, but it happens all the time.”

This global movement towards sustainability will continue to gain steam, and developing the best solutions is going to require buy-in from many people. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of enthusiasm to get the job done for our people and the planet.

“Trane has been a market leader for more than a hundred years, and now we have this whole new thing we have to tackle,” said DiFrancesco. “I don't think there's ever been a more exciting time to be an HVAC engineer or to work at this company.”

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