Social Marketing / Sustainability


Thornhill Associates has a special interest in conducting research that has an impact on people’s lives and the environment.  A client once asked Susan when she got involved in water conservation and she responded, “I think it was when I was 5 and my dad yelled shut that water off”!  Being respectful of resources and not wasting has been a way of life, so working on sustainability projects is extra rewarding for us.

Using innovative approaches, Thornhill Associates has conducted many successful research studies in the world of water efficiency such as:

  • Feasibility of National Organization on Water Efficiency
  • Conservation Market Study (Landscape) with Residential Homeowners
  • Commercial, Industrial, Insitutional Conservation Program Evaluation
  • Landscape Sector Analysis
  • Industrial Process Improvement Rebate Program Update
  • California Friendly Landscape Pilot (major home builders)

Having worked with leading irrigation manufacturers for many earlier years as an executive search consultant Susan, brings an understanding of landscape water use from an additional perspective.


CONSERVATION MARKET STUDY – Residential Landscape –  A leading water wholesaler was interested in better understanding attitudes and awareness of single family residential customers on the topic of landscape irrigation.  These insights would be used as a foundation in the development of a pilot program offering homeowners incentives to help drive behavior change and achieve greater landscape water efficiency.   The Thornhill Associates team  developed a robust multi-phase research design with each phase building on knowledge gained.  An online survey was conducted with 500 residents within the water district’s service area, one-on-one telephone interviews were conducted with select innovative water agencies to identify industry best practices, qualitative research was conducted with homeowners, culminating in the design of a recommended pilot incentive program.  As part of the focus group methodology, an online discussion board activity provided real time photos and videos of homeowners yards, irrigation systems and timers allowing us to “virtually” visit homes.  Based on the findings of this comprehensive study, the water wholesaler is finalizing the parameters of a new Conservation Incentive Pilot Program.