Mike Miazga 2014-12-10 01:51:50
Plumbing manufacturers look inside and outside buildings for water savings While they continue to make products that save water, leading plumbing manufacturers say more needs to be done to use water efficiently inside and outside buildings. “We need to concern ourselves with the whole water infrastructure,” said Michael Sipek, CEO of Bradley Corp., Oct. 28 during the Executive Panel Discussion at the Plumbing Manufacturers International Fall Conference in Rosemont, Ill. “We lose millions of gallons of water through old and broken pipes. It’s a problem we can fix, but we don’t.” Changing human behavior to use the innovative plumbing products now on the market is another issue, Delta Faucet President Jai Shah said. The importance of using water efficiently still needs to register with consumers. The low price of water charged by utilities in many parts of the country doesn’t motivate people to save water, Moen President David Lingafelter said. A significant change in the cost of water would have to happen to see a big jump in their behavior. Chris Baldwin, president of Global Faucets at Kohler Co., worries that raising the price of water would add a cost-of-living burden for many consumers. While raising water rates may solve one problem, he said, it could cause another. Kohler is doing more than manufacturing water-efficient products, Baldwin said. It is committed to having a net-zero carbon footprint by 2035. As a company, Kohler is reducing the amount of water it uses in its factories and other facilities. Sipek added: “Bradley does the same thing. We try to lead by example.” Droughts in states such as California and Texas are making consumers more sensitive to the importance of water savings, panelists agreed. Weather-related disasters linked to climate change, however, have yet to make a substantial change in how manufacturers do their business planning. “From a planning standpoint, it has not had a big impact,” Symmons Industries CEO Tim O’Keeffe said. “We just get more involved in charitable causes.” Bill Strang, president of TOTO USA, agreed. He emphasized the importance of continuing to promote water-saving plumbing products to consumers and working with government regulators on water efficiency. “What we’ve done as an industry is quite spectacular,” Strang said. “We need to promote a higher level of adoptions of water-saving products. When it comes to water-saving regulations, we like to say that we’d rather be at the table with regulators than on the menu.” Chicago-based media personality Bill Kurtis moderated the Executive Panel Discussion. Also during the meeting, BNP Media Plumbing Group Publisher Bob Miodonski moderated a panel discussion that focused on water efficiency. Panelists were: Chicago plumbing contractor John Baethke, president, John Baethke & Son Plumbing; Mary Ann Dickinson, president and CEO, Alliance for Water Efficiency; Danielle Gallet, infrastructure strategist and Water Supply Program manager, Center for Neighborhood Technology; Mike Ramsey, water superintendent, Village of Westmont, Ill.; and Ed Lichner, president, Hydrodyne. —Bob Miodonskiv Taco forms strategic alliance to make high-efficiency pumps Taco Inc. on Nov. 6 announced a strategic alliance with Italian pump manufacturer Askoll to produce high-efficiency circulators in Taco’s factory in Cranston, R.I. Taco President and CEO John Hazen White Jr. Made the announcement in Cranston during a ceremony attended by Taco employees, Askoll executives and guests. “The government regulates our pumps and circulators for energy efficiency,” White said.“We’re up against some good, tough competitors, and I sought out companies that could give us technical assistance.” The relationship with Askoll not only will protect Taco technologically, he noted, but it also will protect jobs in Rhode Island. Taco already has begun assembling the VR1816, which employs Askoll’s variable-speed technology at its factory in Cranston. Future plans call for Taco to manufacture the VR1816 entirely in Cranston, and it is being sold under the Taco brand. The VR1816 can be used in residential and light commercial applications, and it is an extension of Taco’s Viridian line of circulators. It is a wet-rotor circulator with an ECM permanent magnet motor that uses 85% less electricity than standard models. Askoll President Elio Marioni, who founded the company in 1978, said Askoll has registered more than 800 patents on products for household appliances and heating systems. This is his company’s first entry into the U.S. market for heating products. “We have the technology, we don’t have the market,” he said during the ceremony. “Mr. White has the market.” Taco plans to display the VR1816 at the AHR Expo Jan. 26-28 in Chicago. It will roll out the product nationally following the trade show. —Bob Miodonski Watts Water Technologies acquires AERCO International Blauvelt, N.Y.-based AERCO International announced it is being acquired byWatts Water Technologies. The acquisition is expected to close before the end of this year. “Acquiring AERCO will allow us to expand our product breadth to the strategically important adjacency of heat and hot water offerings,” said Robert J. Pagano Jr., CEO of Watts Water Technologies. “AERCO is a recognized leader in the fast-growing market for high-efficiency boilers and water heaters with solid operating margins and attractive opportunities to continue its strong growth.” AERCO will continue its current operation out of Blauvelt, N.Y. The consummation of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions. First Supply announces organization restructuring La Crosse, Wis.-based First Supply recently announced the creation of a new organizational structure.Going forward, First Supply branches will be aligned into three geographical regions (Northern, Western and Southern) with each region managed by a general manager. Mike Meiresonne is the new Northern Region GM and will be headquartered in Appleton, Wis. He is a 10- year industry veteran. Brian Heidtke is First Supply’s Western Region GM. He joined the company in 2013 and recently was assistant general manager of the Eau Claire, Wis., branch. First Supply veteran Michael Miller is the Southern Region GM. He was the GM of the Madison, Wis., branch the past 12 years. Carr Supply opens new Ohio branch Columbus, Ohio-based Carr Supply recently opened a new branch in Lima, Ohio where it will provide plumbing, HVAC, and water-service supplies and equipment to contractors in a fivecounty area of northwest Ohio. Lima becomes Carr’s 18th branch.Carr Supply is a part of Dayton, Ohio-based WinWholesale. In other WinWholesale news, the company announced the opening of Greenville (S.C.) Winsupply, which will provide HVAC supplies and equipment to contractors along the Interstate 85 corridor from Anderson to Spartanburg in South Carolina. WinWholesale is a majority shareholder of Greenville Winsupply. Jake Way is Greenville Winsupply’s president and has more than a decade of HVAC wholesale distribution experience in the Greenville area. Kohler names distributor partners of the year Kohler recently held its inaugural Distribution Partner Awards at the company’s Distribution Conference held in Kohler, Wis. Seattle-based Keller Supply, South Florida-based Wool Plumbing Supply and Matawan, N. J.-based General Plumbing Supply are the inaugural award winners. The awards recognize distributor partners who excel in areas of sales achievement, strategic collaboration, brand representation and merchandising, and consumer and trade engagement.The awards also honor distributor partners who demonstrate success in aiding in the overall growth of Kohler business, and facilitate the continued saturation of key markets while further bolstering Kohler’s brand awareness among trade professionals and consumers. NEWS BRIEFS Movers and Shakers Winston Salem, N.C.-based Murray Supply Co.Hired Jonathan Watts as Charlotte, N.C. branch manager.Watts replaces Brooks Jester, who was promoted to PHCP Division manager in August. Bradford White promoted Jeremy Waller to the role of general manager of Niles Steel Tank Co., a subsidiary of the company. Bradford White also announced PMI Sales & Marketing will represent the company in southern Texas (excluding El Paso). Franklin Electric’s Board of Directors elected Jennifer Sherman to be director of the company effective Jan. 1. Company News Ashland Pump broke ground earlier this year to begin construction of its new office building and test lab.The company’s office area will be 6,120 sq. ft. And the test lab will be 1,800 sq. ft. Rheem recently acquired CEM S.A., a public Chilean company that manufactures and distributes tankless, solar and tank water-heating products. CEM S.A. sells its products under the Splendid brand name throughout South America. Mestek appointed Fiskdale, Mass.-based John Stack Sales Co., as its new manufacturers representative for the company’s residential hydronic products lines covering the New England region.
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