In the News: February 2009

Pentair Sells Spa and Bath To Balboa

Minneapolis-based Pentair Inc., has sold its Spa and Bath business to Balboa Water Group in a cash transaction that closed in mid-December of 2008, according to Pentair and Balboa press releases.

"This sale enables us to concentrate more fully on growth in our core global pool equipment business," said Pentair chairman and CEO Randall J. Hogan. "Pool equipment continues to be an attractive platform for Pentair, and we are focused on continuing to deliver industry-changing innovation, such as our energy-efficient and environmentally friendly Eco-Select line of products, for pool owners around the world."

Balboa announced that Pentair customer accounts have been transferred to Balboa and no interruption of service is anticipated.

Industry Companies Win In California

Two pool and spa industry businesses were among the 46 companies honored in the sixth annual Flex Your Power Awards in December 2008. Pools By Ben, Santa Clarita, Calif., was one of six winners in the Innovative Products & Services category and Watkins Manufacturing, Vista, Calif., was one of 15 winners in the Energy Efficiency category.

The Innovative Products & Services category recognizes products or services designed to help businesses or residents save energy, including manufacturing and retailer promotions as well as vendor, contractor and consultant programs. Pools by Ben installs programmable permanent-magnet pumps in residential swimming pools. These pumps replace single-speed circulation pumps and will save the average resident $900 per year on electricity. Pools by Ben is planning 1,000 installs per year. The ultra-quiet pumps can operate at night to reduce peak demand, as well.

The Energy Efficiency category recognizes efforts to reduce total energy (electricity and/or natural gas) consumption through the installation of energy-efficient equipment, lighting and appliances or through the completion of energy-efficient building retrofits or new construction projects. During 2007 and 2008, Watkins saved over 1.3 million kWh, or $250,000, and reduced natural gas use by 156,000 therms, according to FYP. To achieve these savings, Watkins reduced its engine runtime, upgraded its lighting and HVAC, installed vendor misers on all vending machines and replaced old roofing with high-reflection Energy Star-rated roofing. FYP credits Watkins with over 1 million gallons of water saved through upgrades to water-system controls.

FYP estimates that the winners saved more than $227 million, 1.5 billion kilowatt hours, 122 billion gallons of water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 billion pounds. Awards were given in six categories: Best Overall, Energy Efficiency, Education & Media, Innovative Products & Services, Peak Demand Response and Water Conservation.

Flex Your Power is a partnership of California's utilities, residents, businesses, institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations working to save energy. The campaign includes a comprehensive Web site, an electronic newsletter and blog, and educational materials.

Fitting Fits VGB Act

Balboa Water Group introduced a new suction fitting that meets the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act requirements. The suction fitting has received UL approval (file number SA7549) with a rating of 211 GPM. The fitting is the first of a new line of VGB-compliant suction fittings that will be released in the near future. It is in the process of being patented.

"We worked nights and weekends to ensure that the spa industry would be able to continue to build hot tubs that met the VGB Dec. 19 deadline," said Bob Spillar, Balboa Water Group vice president of marketing. "This product was designed by our engineering staff in California and will be produced right here in America."

NSPF Approved For CEUs

The International Association for Continuing Education and Training has approved the National Swimming Pool Foundation as an authorized provider of continuing education units. As a result, NSPF is authorized to offer CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET standards.

ThermoSpas' Tournas Launches Hot Tub Group

Andrew Tournas, president of ThermoSpas and newly appointed president of the International Hot Tub Association (IHTA) announced the group's formation "to work solely on behalf of the spa industry across the globe."

According to a press release, the group plans to "work with ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and UL (Underwriters Laboratory) to develop standards for the industry that will serve the U.S. and abroad."

Along with Tournas, initial incorporators include Mike Dunn and Steve Hammock of Watkins Manufacturing, Sue Sousa of Sunstar, Howard Smith of Pleatco and Cindi Magray of Spa Manufacturers.

IHTA entered into an initial four-month management contract with Visioneering Consultants, according to VCI's Mitch Brooks. VCI currently manages the National Plasterers Council.

APSP And IPSSA Join Forces In Texas

APSP Region 3 advisory council and the IPSSA Region 9 board of directors announced joint agreements on industry-related issues in Texas. The agreements were reached during an October 2008 meeting. The areas of cooperation include an agreement that ANSI/APSP-7 should regulate the construction and installation of Texas residential and commercial swimming pools to avoid entrapment accidents and that ANSI/APSP-8, should control the prescription and regulation of safety barriers on Texas residential pools. Both standards are now incorporated in the new ICC code.

The organizations agreed to create a Regulatory Action Group to generate united positions on pool and spa regulatory issues in Texas. They also agreed to work together on the 2009 Southwest Pool and Spa Show and future shows.

APSP and IPSSA together represent 674 pool industry-member companies in Texas.

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