Archive for March 2012


O’Reilly/DePalma and Blogger Andie Day in Kitchen + Bath Business

Posted on March 27, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Today Kitchen + Bath Business published a profile of blogger and designer Andie Day that included a mention of how Day uses social media to keep in touch with PR friends and colleagues Nora DePalma of O’Reilly/DePalma and Leanne Wood of Flying Camel.

In the profile, Day also discusses the many opportunities that have opened up to her through the use of social media, and the value of meaningful connections that can be developed and maintained through Twitter.


Bringing a Client Case Study to Life at the Future Exploratorium

Posted on March 25, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Communicating complex building system solutions is a unique expertise of O’Reilly-DePalma.  Principal John O’Reilly recently traveled to San Francisco to art direct a photo and video shoot of a radiant cooling and radiant heating system installation in a new science museum under construction.

Picture 1 of 5

With the city of San Francisco serving as a backdrop, the Exploratorium project is shown under construction on the left. The new, all-glass Observatory is in the foreground, while Pier 15, currently undergoing a gut renovation, is immediately behind it. The finished museum will feature both indoor and outdoor exhibits.


Building Relationships on Twitter with Stacy Garcia

Posted on March 19, 2012 by Nora DePalma

People who think Twitter is nothing more than giant time suck probably don’t know about Twitter chats.

Stacy Garcia, on the other hand, knows that using Twitter chats is a good way to build community and awareness.

Stacy has been hosting KBTribeChat on Twitter since April 2011, bringing together designers, architects, brands and media people for a fast-paced one-hour online chat every Wed. at 2 pm ET/11 am PT.

Although a sales rep recently called her a “pioneer in social media,” the Garcia Cabinetmakers co-owner said she spent nearly a year on Twitter just meeting new people and learning the ropes. “I liked it a lot, so I just kept wondering, ‘How do I make this useful?’”

She was inspired to start the chat after former Hafele social media manager Rob Ainbinder suggested it and told her she should “just do it!”

“At first, it was crickets,” Garcia laughed. “It took a lot of time to get going. The only ones talking were the companies: Hafele, Formica and some of the appliance people.”

Stacy and Michael Garcia of Garcia Cabinetmakers, Huntington Beach, CA. Stacy runs KBTribeChat on Twitter. Michael says he isn’t sure about social media, but after 33 years of marriage, he’ll admit he’s been wrong before.

More recently, KBTribeChat has averaged 35 to 40 participants per week on topics such as The Vision House at Epcot, Lighting Styles and Strategies for Kitchens & Baths, Kitchen Islands, and my own turn at hosting on Steamy Shower Thoughts last week, sponsored by Mr. Steam.

A Return on Relationships AND A Return on Investment

Garcia says of social media, “Sure, it’s mostly about relationships. But you have to think about the bottom line. I think we’re all there to sell something. You put your personality out there and you hope there would be some sales.”

So has Garcia Cabinetmakers landed business from social media?

“Yes, today!” Garcia replied. A custom cabinet contract signed, sealed and delivered from someone who found the Huntington Beach, CA, firm from Stacy’s online activities, which include:

Garcia Cabinetmakers website with a photo gallery of their custom cabinetry craftsmanship.
Garcia Cabinetmakers on Twitter
Stacy_Garcia on Twitter
• The Garcia Cabinetmakers Facebook page
• The KBTribeChat blog
• The KBTribeChat Facebook page

Garcia’s husband and business partner Michael admits he isn’t quite so sure about the whole social media thing.

“To me, business is one-to-one. It’s a handshake. This is…well, I don’t know,” he said, shaking his head.

“But isn’t social media like a digital handshake?” I asked “A one-to-many way to network efficiently?

“Besides,” I added. “Your wife just said you got business from it.”

“OK, so I’m wrong! I’ve been married for 33 years. It’s happened before,” Michael said.

The March 21, 2011, kbtribechat will be hosted by blogger, builder and social media specialist Todd Vendituoli talking about Blogging for Business. Not sure where to start? Learn how to join a Twitter chat on Stacy’s blog.


Low Flow Delivers High Satisfaction in Water Conservation Retrofit Test

Posted on March 16, 2012 by Nora DePalma

If you were offered a free upgrade to a low flow toilet or water saving showerhead, would you happily accept, or would you think twice about it because of concerns about performance? That challenge was accepted by twenty-one homeowners in the suburban Atlanta communities of Serenbe and Chastain Lakes who agreed to participate in a water conservation retrofit by replacing their traditional showerheads, toilets, and faucets with water saving, WaterSense-certified models from American Standard.

The installations - 71 toilets, 96 faucets, and 55 showerheads - were completed by Georgia’s first licensed GreenPlumber®, Nick Marine of Marine Plumbing in Marietta, GA. Individually, the faucets and toilets were rated to save 20% more water than standard fixtures, and the low flow showerheads used were rated to save 20-40% of water use.

The retrofit was found to be an unqualified success, based on monthly measurements of water use recorded before and after installation of the new fixtures. Serenbe households saved an average of 20% more water, and homeowners in the older development of Chastain Lakes saved 25% more water on average. These neat percentages aside, calculating the real water savings from the retrofit was difficult because of the many factors involved in a household water bill. For example, if a household a few extra loads of laundry to do that month, or a weekend houseguest, the total water savings could have easily appeared smaller than they actually would be over time.

Low flow toilets and faucets often get a bad rap for supposedly offering poor performance, but that was the point of this experiment: the retrofit was designed to demonstrate that conserving water doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice. Across the board, participants raved about their new plumbing fixtures. “We absolutely LOVE our new fixtures. Our showerheads seem to have better water pressure and we are conserving water now, which we weren’t before,” reported Serenbe homeowner Dallas Nevins, two months after installation. Neighbor Sarah Richards agreed, noting that, “For the first time ever, I can say that I love my toilets.”

Join the Green Chix community to learn more water conservation tips.


Cleaning Management Institute Features Wet & Forget Outdoor Cleaner

Posted on March 15, 2012 by Joel Williams

Wet & Forget, an environmentally gentle, scrub-free exterior stain remover, was recently highlighted in the monthly newsletter of Cleaning Management Institute.  The multi-purpose outdoor cleaner was featured because of the product’s role in reinvigorating Bok Tower Gardens, a National Historic Landmark located just outside Tampa,  Florida.

No one likes cleaning, but can you imagine the labor and cost necessary to clean 11 years of accumulated mold and debris from a 50,000 square-foot roof at the Landmark’s Visitors center? Facility Manager Christopher Lutton anticipated having to invest in an expensive cleaning solution, as the Center’s delicate concrete S-style Spanish roof tiles would be damaged by traditional power washing.

This amazing transformation demonstrates the results from one application of Wet & Forget outdoor cleaner. No scrubbing or power washing was needed: Wet & Forget did all the work over three months.

After conducting additional research, however, Lutton discovered Wet & Forget, a cleaner which had been used in Australia and New Zealand for the last 30 years and requires no scrubbing, rinsing or pressure washing. Lutton first conducted a test, applying Wet & Forget to a 15-foot square roof patch using a one gallon pump sprayer. He did not return to the test patch until four months later and was surprised to find the area significantly cleaner. Lutton then applied the outdoor cleaner to the entire roof, vertical walls throughout the grounds, and the river stone sidewalk as well.

Lutton particularly likes the fact that he can easily clean the roof during operating hours without disturbing visitors with the loud noise commonly associated with power washing apparatus. “Plus, the roof stays clean longer, which allows us to focus on other maintenance issues,” he explained.

To learn more about this easy way to tackle outdoor spring cleaning, view the complete press release for Wet & Forget, or visit the Wet & Forget website.


Richard Sussman, Co-Chairman of Mr. Steam Parent Company, Donates $1M to Drake University

Posted on March 15, 2012 by Joel Williams

Richard Sussman, past president of Mr. Steam and co-chairman of Sussman Automatic, Mr. Steam’s parent company, has donated $1 million to his alma mater, Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in memory of his late wife Lila.

The generous gift will be dedicated to creating an endowment for leadership education, and to renovating one of the most-used buildings on campus, the Bulldog Theater.

Sussman’s donation has funded the creation of the Lila and Richard Sussman Endowment for Leadership, which will provide ongoing sponsorship of the fall and spring leadership conferences attended by students enrolled in the Donald V. Adams Leadership Institute, as well as by students in the overall University community.

For more information on this announcement, view the complete press release about the Richard Sussman/Mr. Steam donation or email us.



Noritz Tankless Water Heater Top Pick Among Readers

Posted on March 14, 2012 by Joel Williams

Readers of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine named the Noritz America NR83-DVC tankless water heater as one of the top five best new “Products of the Year,” based the number of requests for product information.

The concentric-vented NR83-DVC saves energy (Energy Factor: 0.82) and protects the environment by heating water strictly on demand, while offering a longer product life cycle than storage tank-type models. In addition, it promises lower emissions, reduced electrical consumption, smaller amounts of potentially hazardous construction materials, and easier recyclability of those materials and components once the product is removed from service.

Like its other whole-home residential tankless water heaters, the NR83 allows professional plumbing installers to make an even stronger environmental statement to cost-conscious homeowners looking to shrink their monthly fuel bills as well as their carbon footprints.

To view the magazine, click here.



Uponor’s Eric Skare Accepted to UL 1821 Standards Technical Panel

Posted on March 14, 2012 by John OReilly

Eric Skare

Eric Skare, product manager of Fire Safety at Uponor, was recently accepted to the Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) Standards Technical Panel (STP) for 1821, the standard for safety on Thermoplastic Sprinkler Pipe and Fittings for Fire Protection Service. The STP serves as the consensus body to review and vote on proposals to UL standards prior to publication.

A Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS) and volunteer firefighter for more than 10 years, Skare has extensive fire protection industry experience, which also includes managing the AquaSAFE™ multipurpose residential fire sprinkler system business for Uponor.

“Eric’s acceptance onto this important panel further establishes Uponor’s support of, and contribution to, the fire protection industry,” says Jayson Drake, senior product manager of Plumbing and Fire Safety at Uponor.

Skare is a professional member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) and the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA). He serves on the NFPA Technical Committee for Residential Sprinkler Systems as well as the Residential Committee for NFSA and is the chair of the Fire Sprinkler Product Line Committee for the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association (PPFA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s certificate in Project Management from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


Monterrey Kitchen Faucets from American Standard Ideal for Institutional Applications

Posted on March 12, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Designed for the healthcare, education and institutional markets, the new Monterrey top mount commercial kitchen faucet collection from American Standard combines heavy-duty solid brass construction with popular features and a full range of flexible spout options.

The entire Monterrey commercial collection — including commercial lavatory and kitchen styles — is equipped with washerless ceramic disc valves for a lifetime of water-saving, drip-free performance. In addition, all Monterrey faucets are ADA-compliant and meet all federal and state regulatory standards for ‘lead free’ plumbing fixtures.

Ideal for healthcare applications, one of the 8 inch gooseneck faucets (64098.180) includes a 1.5 gpm pressure compensating laminar flow device in the spout base that prevents air and microbes from being drawn into the water stream. It also has a plain spout end that eliminates areas for lime and debris to collect and for bacteria to grow.

For more information on this announcement, view the press release for the Monterrey top mount commercial kitchen faucet collection or email us.


CASE STUDY: Using Tankless Technology to Solve Restaurants’ Hot-Water Problems

Posted on March 10, 2012 by John OReilly

Ben Wirick of FRG

Despite the vital importance of hot water to restaurant operations, getting the right quantities to right outlets at the right temperatures – especially during operational peaks – is an anxious, uphill battle for many managers. But a new and innovative approach to restaurant water heating that melds all of the necessary components into a single, prefabricated, ready-to-install package is boosting system performance, longevity and energy savings for a growing number of proprietors. This successful strategy is the subject of a cover story in the February 2012 issue of pme magazine.

Developed by Facilities Resource Group (FRG) of Grandville, Mich., the innovation is an engineered rack system that combines one to six tankless water heaters from Noritz America with all the necessary components – all mounted to a mobile aluminum frame and finished off with insulated copper tubing.

This type of multi-unit apparatus can be seen in numerous commercial installations around the country. The true breakthrough by FRG was its decision to leverage the inherent advantages of multiple tankless water heaters into a turnkey service program that caters specifically to the rigorous demands of fast-food and casual-dining restaurant chains. Instead of shipping one or more tankless units to a job site for installation by a local contractor, FRG takes direct control of the transaction by:

Ben Wirick with prefabbed tankless system

• designing and fabricating the water heater racks in its western Michigan facility;

• shipping them in FRG trucks to wherever the restaurant is located nationwide;

• personally participating in the installation of the rack with a qualified local contractor, usually after work hours, so that the restaurant suffers no down time;

• coordinating post-installation service work, either with the installer or another service company that has participated in a Noritz commercial tankless training program.

“Restaurant operators are concerned about not just the lost dollars and cents they can count [because of a malfunctioning water heating system], but also the less-tangible losses,” says FRG director of mechanical sales and engineering Benjamin C. Wirick. “If they must shut down for even half a day, will disappointed customers opt for a restaurant down the street and never come back? They don’t want to take that chance.”

Click here to learn more about FRG and this exciting new approach.