Monday, October 28, 2013

History Flourishes at The Royal Horticultural Society's Garden Wisley

At Eberly & Collard Public Relations, our team is frequently astounded by the complexity of garden design, both old and new. As in any field of design, landscape architects and horticultural specialists must look to the past for the future of their work. For inspiration, sometimes it’s necessary to slow down and take a stroll through history. Our team recently discovered the remarkable quality and celebrated beauty of The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Wisley; we cannot escape the time-honored inspiration these gardens provide, nor the contemporary designs they embrace.

[Photo Credit. Botanicalgardenphotography.com] 
Generously presented to England’s Royal Horticultural Society in 1903 by Sir Thomas Hanbury, The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Wisley have become a beloved national treasure. The second most visited gardens in the United Kingdom, Wisley Gardens (as they are often called) are carefully tended by the Royal Horticultural Society and have grown considerably since their original gifting. The gardens now include a wild garden, vegetable garden, model ‘home’ gardens, pinetum, canal with water lilies, fruit field, and an alpine meadow. Recent years have seen the educational additions of a laboratory, the Clore Learning Center and the stunning bicentenary Glasshouse.

[Photo Credit: Botanicalgardenphotography.com]
The Glasshouse is a design marvel in and of itself. Built to mimic the feel of a cathedral, the Glasshouse was designed as a one-of-a-kind plant showcase structure and stands 40 feet tall. The Royal Horticultural Society’s immense tender plant collection, comprised of more than 5,000 taxa, is housed in this immense tri-roof structure. Each ‘roof’ represents a climactic habitat: tropical, moist temperate and dry temperate. Designed to overlook the garden lake, the Wisley Glasshouse enchants visitors and provides a center of education for the gardens.

[Photo Credit: The Telegraph]
Another recent addition to Wisley Gardens is the Czech-designed Centenary Crevice Garden. This celebratory addition to the rock garden was crafted by alpine specialist, Zdenek Zvolanek. While preserving the integrity of the original Wisley rock garden, designed in 1911, this installation honors the history of alpine growers and includes hundreds of miniature, high-elevation plants from all over the world. With special attention to seasonality, this garden currently overflows with autumn cyclamen crocus and colchicum, soon to be replaced by winter oxalis and lachenalia.

[Photo Credit: Botanicalgardenphotography.com] 
The breadth and depth of history to be discovered at The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Wisley serves to remind landscape architects and horticultural specialists of the foundations for their expertise. Just as Wisley Gardens abounds with vibrant greenery, this garden also overflows with historic inspiration. Wisley Gardens’ seamlessly-executed integration of old and new provides a challenge for modern designers, as this garden maintains a long-standing paradigm of design grandeur. In our work within the fields of horticulture and design, the ECPR team has seen a number of gardens, but an exclusive handful that have historically maintained this level of excellence and elegance. From the Glasshouse to the alpine meadows, history flourishes and artistry abounds at The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden Wisley.

Friday, October 25, 2013

2014 Construction Market Trends

 
We are approaching the end of the year, and companies are preparing for 2014 business decisions. ForConstructionPros.com has researched exciting and encouraging trend forecasts for the upcoming year in the commercial and residential construction industry. 

Several industry associations and consulting firms are indicating 2014 will be a good year for construction industry growth. Below we have listed a few of the most recently announced trends.

ForConstructionPros.com
Cement

The Portland Cement Association’s chief economist Ed Sullivan reports that all fundamentals are predicted to show 9.7% increases in consumption.

Commercial and Residential Projects

The construction management consulting firm FMI believes construction-put-in-place (CPIP) will show a growth of 7% in both commercial and residential fields next year.

Green Building

In the green building and sustainability construction sectors, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) indicates half of all institutional and commercial construction will be green-certified by 2016.

Top Truck Ratings

In recent trucking Consumer Reports tests, the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 was rated the top half-ton truck. Some truck testers believed the 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 performed better. However, after further comparisons, the Silverado proved more capable, while the Ram did achieve top ride and comfort ratings.

Equipment Rental Market

CEO of CAT-Caterpillar Rentals Doug Oberhelman states that companies are not yet ready to make the hefty investments in large machinery, therefore, the equipment rental market has continued to grow as a result. In 2013, equipment rentals amounted to $32 billion and are positioned to reach $36 billion in 2014. 

ForConstructionPros.com

For more information and to watch the construction industry report, visit ForConstructionPros.com by clicking any of the photos.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Positive Benefits of Metal Roofing for Schools

The October 2013 issue of Commercial Building Products magazine features an article on the increased popularity of metal-roofing systems among educational institutions. Facility managers of both new and existing buildings are considering the short- and long-term benefits of these systems. It is difficult to overlook the efficient performance, cost-saving traits, and the environmental attributes that allow for green certifications and energy-code compliance.

Commercial Building Products - October 2013 Cover

Butler Manufacturing Co. of Kansas City, Mo. teamed up with Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Me. to install an MR-24 metal-roofing system for the school’s field house and arts center in less than one year. Using this project as an example, below, we divulge the top four benefits of installing metal-roofing systems on school buildings and university campuses.
Commercial Building Products - October 2013
Going Green

Steel is the most recycled material on earth and can achieve a thermal efficiency rating of R-40 or higher. Cool-roofing systems use highly reflective paint to reduce roof temperatures and lower the amount of energy needed to cool a school building. A metal-roofing system can benefit schools and universities by helping meet sustainability goals and LEED, Energy Star and Cool Roof Rating Council standards.

Longevity and Durability

When marketing to schools and universities considering the switch to metal roofs, builders and developers should note the added value of reduced repair needs. These weather-tight, low-maintenance roofing systems ensure proper alignment, accurate installation and leak protection, which lowers building operation expenses over time.

Cost Savings

Metal-roofing systems can most likely lower maintenance and energy bills for educational facilities, allowing money to be spent elsewhere. One of the largest concerns when considering a metal-roofing system is the initial expense, but after a life-cycle cost-savings analysis, a public or private school will potentially see firsthand how valuable the investment is. Once the energy savings, performance and durability are considered, the original expenditure concerns dwindle.
Commercial Building Products - October 2013 issue
Daylighting

Daylighting, similar to an over-sized skylight, is growing in popularity alongside the metal-roofing systems in educational facilities. In large areas of schools and universities, such as open corridors, gymnasiums, cafeterias, and auditoriums, daylighting systems can be installed. This alternative lighting solution uses natural light to illuminate large areas instead of using costly electricity. Daylighting reduces electrical lighting consumption by as much as 70%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, Washington.

For more information about this project and the benefits of metal-roofing systems, commercial builders and designers can order a copy of Commercial Building Products’ October issue online at http://cbpmagazine.com/. Or, click each photo above to read the full article.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Game Changer – How SEO Has Turned Digital Marketing Upside-Down and How It Can Change the Game for Your Business


[Photo Credit: www.newmediacampaigns.com
As marketing and branding ever-increasingly focuses on online techniques, search engine optimization (SEO), has taken its place as king of the digital platform. From businesses run by a handful of people, to the largest, multi-national and global corporations, everyone wants to crack the SEO code. When executed with intention and precision, SEO best practices can change the trajectory of a company’s success in a way that will provide far-reaching benefits and results.

We recently discovered “The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors,” a chart designed by Search Engine Land, to help marketers and business owners decipher the SEO code and streamline their digital efforts. After studying and analyzing this incredibly helpful chart, our team has highlighted the nine important areas of SEO focus that can take a company’s digital marketing efforts to the next level.

[Photo Credit: Search Engine Land]
First, a company needs to recognize there are two main categories of SEO factors, on-the-page factors and off-the-page-factors. We begin by pinpointing the four most significant on-the-page factors, elements that marketers and businesses can directly affect:

Quality – Is your web copy of the highest caliber? Are company pages well-written? Is your social media communication precise and attention-grabbing?
Research – Do you understand the keywords that searchers may use to locate your company/product/service?

Titles – Have you made sure that your HTML title tags are utilizing your industry’s keywords?

Crawl – Can search engines effectively and easily “crawl” your site? Are there layers to your site that may pose as a blockade for search engines?

After a company has refined these four significant on-the-page-factors, it is time to move to a parallel component of SEO effectiveness and deal with the five most heavily weighted off-the-page factors, or elements influenced by outside sources:

Quality – Are the links on your website and social media from respected and valuable sources?

Authority – Do links, shares and other media contribute to your company’s reputation as a trustworthy source and industry authority?

Country – In what country is a viewer of your digital media located?

Locality – In which city or local area is a viewer of your digital media located?

History – Has a visitor regularly been to your site or digitally favored your media?

Our team is confident that a company’s accessibility and marketing route will experience dynamic change if these SEO fundamentals are executed with care and accuracy. The dominant presence of digital marketing in today’s branding culture demands the consideration of businesses, as we see every industry and sector experiencing the eminent take-over of tech-savvy companies.

Those corporations who have embraced the benefits and connectivity available by means of SEO are continually pushing to create formulas that will funnel greater and greater numbers of consumers through their websites and social media. In response, companies are creating search engines that are even more sensitive and complex. The latest digital search masterpiece to leave marketers reeling is Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird.

[Photo features Amit Singhal, a Google vice president. Photo Credit: NYTimes.com / Stephen Lam/Reuters]
Hummingbird is an algorithm that has been designed to focus on the meaning and intent of a search, rather than the individual terms found within the search. This technology adds a completely new dimension to digital search capabilities and creates a whole new level of significance for SEO. For example, if a user searched “best ways to brand your company,” rather than searching for “best,” “ways,” “brand,” and “company,” Hummingbird would gather web hits that include subject matter about how to begin branding a company, then potentially top companies with the best branding. The algorithm might then discover different ways to brand a company in your industry and present you with photos of branding in similar fields; the list goes on and on.

A development like Hummingbird has the potential to leave companies who are lacking SEO strategy far behind those who understand SEO best practices and embrace this new building block of the marketing mix. However, the Eberly & Collard Public Relations team believes that all businesses and companies are capable of grasping the basics of SEO. Following the nine, top-ranked SEO factors of success, we feel that businesses, no matter the size or resources available to them, can execute effective digital marketing strategy. When this is done well, SEO can truly be a game-changer for your business.

To learn more about Search Engine Land’s ‘The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors’ chart, click this link: http://ow.ly/pqwgZ 

To read more on Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm, check out this Forbes article: http://ow.ly/pq9UA.