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Air King offers Energy Star solution

BY Ken Clark

West Chester, Pa.-based Air King added humidity-sensing exhaust fans to its line of ventilation fans. The products provide an automated Energy Star-qualified solution for residential ventilation.

Once installed, the exhaust fan turns on automatically when the humidity level in the room reaches the preset percentage, then will automatically shut off when the humidity level falls below the preset percentage.

“The humidity sensing fans make a lot of sense for homeowners and especially rental property owners,” said Jeff Kenkelen, president of Air King. “With standard fans, you are relying on the user to turn the fan on or off. Too many times the fan is not turned on, and proper ventilation does not happen. This can lead to problems such as mold or mildew, and poor indoor air quality in the home.”

The new humidity sensing exhaust fans are available in single and dual-speed models, with a maximum speed of 80 or 130 CFM. The low sound level and energy-efficient operation of the humidity-sensing exhaust fans make them geared for ASHRAE 62.2 ventilation requirements, as well as being compliant with CALGreen of the Title 24 California Building Code for use in bathrooms.

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Obit: Soloman Lowi, big box pioneer

BY Brae Canlen

Soloman Lowi, one of the pioneers of the home improvement warehouse format, died on May 1. He was one day short of 90 years old. 

Lowi founded Builders Discount in 1954 in Chatsworth, Calif., and over the next few years experimented with the format until 1970, when he opened a 180,000-sq.-ft. retail warehouse. Ultimately he owned three Los Angeles County locations that were one of the first large-format home centers to cater to urban customers with a low-price, no-frills approach. Among contractors, Builders Discount was known as a cash-and-carry operation. All sales were final. 

Lowi sold his company in 1986 to Levi Kushnir, Israel’s largest home improvement retailer. Heavy competition from Home Depot and the now defunct HomeBase in Los Angeles County pushed Builders Discount into bankruptcy in 1992. The store in North Hollywood is now a Lowe’s.   

Pat Farrah, Home Depot’s head merchant when the company was founded, met Lowi when the Atlanta chain started opening units in California. “He was a scrappy merchant that provided great bargains for the remodeler and handymen,” Farrah told HCN. “I remember his toughness and commitment to the customer. He was an inspiration to us all.”

Lowi spent his later years enjoying his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, according to his son Irwin Lowi. People wishing to share remembrances can email them to [email protected].

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Home Depot settles National Guard case

BY Brae Canlen

The Justice Department and The Home Depot have reached a settlement in a case where the government accused the retailer of unlawfully terminating an employee who was a member of the Army National Guard.

An Iraqi war veteran who lived in Flagstaff, Ariz., Brian Bailey worked as a department supervisor while at the same time serving in the California Army National Guard. Throughout his employment with Home Depot, Bailey took periodic leave from work to fulfill his military obligations with the National Guard. According to the Justice Department’s complaint, Bailey was removed from his position as a department supervisor after Home Depot management officials at the Flagstaff store openly expressed their displeasure with his periodic absences due to his military service. The DOJ also claims that store management threatened to remove him from his position because of those absences.

These alleged actions are violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

Home Depot made no admission of wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Spokeswoman Jean Niemi told Home Channel News, “It allowed The Home Depot and the government to avoid the ongoing cost of litigation.”

The agreement, which still must be approved by the federal district court, states that Home Depot will provide Bailey with $45,000 in monetary relief and make changes to its Military Leaves of Absence policy. The settlement further mandates that Home Depot review its Military Leaves of Absence policy with managers from the district where Bailey worked.

“We’re very committed to our associates who serve in the military,” Niemi said. “We would never tolerate one of [them] being terminated for anything other than [a valid] reason.”

This case was handled by the Employment Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

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G.CRAIG says:
May-22-2012 04:06 pm

It's a shame that Home Depot
It's a shame that Home Depot doesn't honor our servicemen and women

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