STIEBEL ELTRON 1924 bymy father,who unfortunatelydied a long time ago. The first product we came upwithwas an electric immersion heater.Thesewere the beginnings of electricwater heating. Say,for example,youwere at a farmandwanted towash your hands or disinfect something,youwould stick this heater into a bucket of coldwater.That’s basicallyhowwe got started and from there it went to tank-typewater heaters.I think the tra- ditional model back then in Germanywas a coal stove in your bathroom to heat thewater.Therewas a little fire chamber in the bottom to heat the bulkof thewater,then youwould use electricity to keep it warm for a fewdays.” Stiebel Eltron evolved from there into pure electricwater heating and then into tankless electricwater heating.Today, that represents 40 percent of their business,globally–theyare theworld’s largest manufacturer of tankless hot water heaters. InNorthAmerica,popularity for tankless is growing.Stiebel AT A GLANCE STIEBEL ELTRON WHAT: Global producer of water heaters and solar thermal products WHERE: North & South American operations based in West Hatfield, Massachusetts WEBSITE: www.stiebel- notes,“Every time I go to trade shows and talk to peo- ple,they tell me tankless water heating is gettingmore popular,especiallyon the gas side,becausewith a gas flame you can go up to 199,000 BTUs before you need ASMEapproval.That’saverypowerful heater.Youcan heat sixor sevengallons perminuteofwater flow; electricsdoa littlebit less, but it’s stillverysatisfactory.” North and SouthAmeri- can business is taken care of from theHatfield,Mas- sachusetts location,bya highly-skilled teamof 40. From there,theyassist the Germanyoperations with engineering products, and do a small amount of assemblywork.Manyof their other products come alreadyassembled.Most are brought fromGermany, but theyalso have a plant in China,where they source electric space heaters,and a plant in Slovakia,where they source the heat pumpwater heaters.Themajor- ityof Stiebel Eltron products are for residential use, except hand dryers and the small point-of-use tankless electricunits andmini-tankunits,whichmostlygo into commercial applications.The biggest product in terms of North and SouthAmerica sales volume (65 to 70 percent) is the tankless hot water heater. Stiebel jokinglydis- misses the competition: “As for the others,they’re not really in our league, sowe don’t consider themcompetitors.Seri- ously,though,we have competition in every arena.The biggest on the tankless side is EEMAX. When it come to hand dryers,it’smostlyWorld Dryer and Excel.We do about eight trade shows per year,including IBS (International Builders Show),AHR,Green Build,and NESEA(NewEngland Solar EnergyAssociation).Plus, the plumbing industryhas their own shows,sowe do quite a few.”The company sells to plumbingwholesal- ers,never directly to the consumer.Theyhave a dual,