Byron’s Plumbing Ltd.: Green in Many Ways

Byron’s Plumbing Ltd. was founded in Calgary in 1980 by Byron McNeely, owner and president of the 30-year-old namesake business. Byron McNeely’s son, Wayne, plumber and CEO, joined the company in 1996 and says of Byron’s Plumbing that “we’re very diverse in what we do. We hold many capacities, and we just follow the market.”
As a market-driven company, Byron’s completes new construction, renovation and maintenance work in both the commercial and residential markets, flexing its expertise accordingly in plumbing, gas fitting, boiler maintenance and installation, drain cleaning, furnace replacement, backflow testing and restaurant servicing.
Yet, what really sets Byron’s apart is a “focus on the finer details and on an overall system that works best for the customer,” explains Wayne. Along with this focus comes the desire “to solve plumbing problems in the best way possible.” After three decades Byron's remains a company that never believes something can't be done, no matter the scope of the project.
In the Calgary area Byron’s is a leader in hydronics – heating/cooling systems that use water as the heat-transfer medium. One such hydronic system is a geothermal heat pump (GHP), which is highly efficient and significantly lowers a customer’s lifetime utility costs.
The GHP system pumps water through underground pipes which are heated/cooled easily from the earth’s constant temperature, which does not fluctuate like air temperatures. Changes in the air temperature that come with seasonal extremes – freezing in winter or scorching in summer – cause an air-source unit to work much harder than a GHP system.
Additionally, Byron's services many of its customers by upgrading outdated and inefficient furnaces with high-efficiency (Hi-E) ones, and these upgrades qualify for government-issued rebates for the customer. Additionally, residents who replace old 12-liter toilets energy-efficient (six-liter) toilets are rewarded by the City of Calgary with a $50 cash rebate. Byron’s is equipped with the latest diagnostic technology in the industry in order to facilitate the servicing of these cutting-edge systems.
The company's ongoing effort to service customers with efficient, energy-saving systems and plumbing components has led to quite a few unique and innovative projects as well.
“We try to utilize waste water [often],” says Wayne. “Awhile back we [completed a residential project that] used rain water from off the roof to flush toilets and serve the outside taps and irrigation.” This creative system stemmed from the customer’s desire to incorporate naturally occurring resources into several of his home’s water needs.
Another eco-friendly move by Byron’s has been the crossover to plastic fusion pipes, an industry advancement that has generated a large fan base.  Byron’s uses Aquatherm, a German-designed product. “It’s a cleaner design and made with eco-friendly material,” says Wayne. “It’s more efficient because it’s a plastic and has been proven to have real merit.”
The Greenest Grass
Byron's is able to determine the most cost-effective solutions for clients thanks to its three-man estimating team, which has a combined 60 75+ years of plumbing experience. The company continues to garner business drawn by its well-deserved status as industry experts, particularly in essential areas such as hydronics, renovations, new construction and commercial building. This doesn't mean the market isn't without its challenges, however.
The plumbing industry has been affected by the recent recession, as most industries have been, and the downturn has caused a severe spike in the number of companies bidding on each project. The increase in bidders has led to confused customers who aren’t sure which company is their best choice. This confusion often leads to a lengthy back-and-forth quote revision process between customer and company. In the end many customers choose to skimp on price, which ultimately ends up costing them more.
“It’s dangerous,” says Wayne. “Homeowners will make the wrong decision because they are not completely informed. A person needs to be educated when making a decision about their home. Jokingly, I tell all my customers the same thing: ‘I am here to save you from yourself.’”
Although saving money upfront is enticing to many people, dangerously low bidders often cut costs in essential areas resulting in the use of low quality components and botched installations. Theses cost savings are lost in the form of future maintenance, and from high utility costs from inefficient systems.
Wayne shares that a few customers, who have used alternate plumbing companies, have returned to Byron’s plumbing after being unhappy with the level of service or product they received. When Byron’s was contacted to repair, they found crumbling fixes and incorrect installations. “They have gone with a lower price,” Wayne says. “The grass looked greener, but it wasn’t this time.”
In order to maintain its reputation for innovation, Byron’s continues to stay ahead of industry advancements and on top of sourcing new highly efficient products. Having the best options, and the ability to both clearly explain their benefits and implement them properly the first time, allows Byron's to roll with the economic punches. Staying market-driven, Byron’s continues to service residential or commercial clients as demand allows.
On the residential side, Byron’s has seen a focus on custom houses, which allows for the best systems. The custom aspect of certain residential homes often allows for freedom of system and style innovation, and by using high quality and aesthetically pleasing products from partners like Taradar Fine Homes, Byron’s ensures these customers are getting the best for their money. Byron’s sources products directly from over 50 trusted vendors, controlling for product quality and service.
Across both markets – residential and commercial – Byron’s continues to strive to make decisions that are best for the customer, and the Earth. With three decades of experience, a sage estimating team, expert and highly skilled technicians, high quality work, highly efficient products and outside-the-box systems – Byron’s Plumbing Ltd. is a well-established and very trusted company with the resources to see continued success in its province.