Stiebel Eltron, 25 Years Australian

1995 — the Macarena went viral; Carlton Football Club won a Grand Final, and Stiebel Eltron distribution arrived in Australia. It’s been a long energy-efficient road since then, but the child of Stiebel Eltron Europe has turned twenty-five!

Founded in Germany in 1924, Stiebel Eltron has long been a household name in Europe. Stiebel Eltron has met the antipodean challenge with future-forward technology, energy-efficient thinking and a focus on home comfort. All set against a new climate backdrop that puts a premium on energy. From electric instant water heaters to the WWK heat pumps introduced in 2006, there is a lot to celebrate this quarter-century milestone. Stiebel Eltron stands at the electric front of hot water, heating, cooling and ventilation design/manufacture.

Andrew Whitney, Managing Director of Stiebel Eltron Australia, has been with the business since day one.

It has been a tough but rewarding challenge, creating markets when none existed and challenging the established home comfort solutions present in the Australian market with our energy-efficient and innovative solutions from Germany. Twenty-five years later, we’re still fully motivated and thriving, and now we get to set the course again. A renewables-based, environmentally friendly, future proof path! This is an exciting time.

In 1996 the Brisbane office opened, and Stiebel Eltron launched electric instantaneous water heaters — the key product of the time. Stiebel Eltron then extended reach to Perth and then, just in time for the Olympics in 2000, re-introduced themselves to the world with a Sydney office. Finally, six years later, a Stiebel Eltron Southern Hemisphere first, the Richmond premises, a store focused on only Stiebel Eltron products.

Fast forward to 2016 where out from underwing of the Australian branch, a Kiwi cousin emerged. The New Zealand subsidiary was launched under Jason Kerr, a Kiwi who had worked with the Australian team for many years.

In 2020, electric instantaneous water heaters compete directly with centralised gas plants for the apartment market. Stiebel Eltron believes in an all-electric future for this country with products like hot water heat pumps and electric instantaneous water heaters leading an energy revolution as the largest sales categories.

Due to overwhelming government support, gas remains the biggest competitor, but a lot has changed since 1995.

Entrenched attitudes towards gas are no stranger to Glenn Day, National Sales Director, who started with STIEBEL ELTRON product solutions back in 1996.

I remember talking about energy-efficient all-electric hot water products to a gas dominated industry; twenty-five years later, we’re still fighting that fight! That said, with the uptake of renewables in Australia, the transition to all-electric future is within reach. We’ve come a long way from the pioneer ’90s and the revolutionary idea of decentralised hot water to being a one-stop-shop for the net-zero energy home.

To imagine heat pumps in the Australian market twenty-five years ago would have been pure science fiction, despite being around in Europe since 1976.

Hydronic heat pumps and ventilation were officially launched in Australia in 2017. Once future-forward visions for Stiebel Eltron heat pumps are now a staple product, with sales increasing year after year. With ventilation introduced as the new frontier of energy efficiency, an exciting chapter is emerging — another line in the long history of emergent technology.

Darren Fletcher, Product Manager, started with Stiebel Eltron in 1998 and has seen the influence of Stiebel technology on the Australian market.

It’s a difficult exercise bringing new technology to market — turning it mainstream against sometimes prohibitive building and policy standards, has seen some ups and downs. But seeing the influence we’ve had, bettering standards, impacting lives, believing in this technology and seeing the benefit — now, that is a transformation worth working for.

Stiebel Eltron has grown to be an enormously influential and encouraging force in the energy market of Australia, a long way from those early days. With brand new showrooms in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne — the Stiebel Eltron future is powered by a holistic one-stop approach, where energy efficiency and comfort lead the way another 25 years, at least.

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