If only I had a camera with me all those years I traipsed the planet carrying my computer bag, before I became a designer.  The time was long before digital cameras were cheap and small. Oh, if I had had one in my purse. I would produce a coffee table book, full of gorgeous photos of artistic public and private bathrooms from around the world. The little place with red felt hangings that played music near Mount Fuji, the stag hall in Germany, the open air bathrooms in the outback of Australia.

singaporeBut my favorite story to tell is of  Singapore. I was there working on two things, the first ‘Pan-Asian’ reseller certification class for Citrix, and phase 3 of a world wide implementation of PeopleSoft for HP. We were going to give the HR folks in India access to the system in Singapore via Citrix, and it was a very exciting project. The team involved HP techs from Germany and Switzerland, a Peoplesoft consultant from HQ, the local IT and HR team in Singapore, and myself, from Citrix.

We got everything done on schedule, 4 days for the whole system, and to every one’s delight (much rejoicing in India!!). The last evening, we went to a beautiful, traditional Singaporean Chinese food dinner in a restaurant that was beautifully appointed; had impeccable service,  and delicious food. When I went to the loo, however, the only choice was to ‘squat’: hole in the ground with ceramic places to place your feet. Being a woman wearing dressy trousers made this whole procedure very difficult. Some places I expected this, at the reseller offices they had a choice of Western or Asian toilets, and at HP they had all Western style restrooms.

MalyAsiaToiletAfter the meal, in a (finally) casual moment, I asked our hostess, VP of Operations for the entire region, “What’s with the holes in the floor?” She said something like – Oh, I can’t stand it either. Although raised in Malaysia, I went to college in the US. After I returned, I got a job with HP back home, and was living with my grandparents. They only had the old traditional toilets and I could NOT bring myself to use them. Then she went on to tell me an even funnier story.

When the ‘new’ HP offices were built there in Singapore, all the employees were moved in and working in one building. After a few weeks, the cleaners asked to speak to management. It seemed they were having a hard time getting the toilet seats cleaned on the Wedsc_03181stern style toilets. Daily, they were found covered with tiny, dirty footprints!  The Asian employees were using the Western restrooms in the traditional way, stepping up onto the toilet seats and squatting! Needless to say, a quick employee training program was set up to take care of that bit of education in “the HP Way!”

More on Loos Of the World another time…it was quite an education!

HBBDI are now certified Green Building Professionals!  Brian Garvey, our new Project Lead, took the NARI sponsored class and test in December, passed with flying colors, and is now our on-staff Certified Green ProfessiCertGreenProonal. He is available to consult through all phases of design and construction on green practices, keep you up to date on new, easy, and healthful ways to include Green Building results in your project. He will continue to take classes to enhance our corporate knowledge. This certification gives us the opportunity to fulfill our customers’ wishes, and make a lasting impact on the environment and influence future building practices. With this certification, HBBDI takes a leadership role in Green Building, and it will benefit everyone, helping people get the results they want and save them money.BuildItGreenLogo

 Here is a link to the Build It Green Org web site. It discusses the benefits of having this certification for homeowners. http://www.builditgreen.org/homeowners-homebuyers.

And don’t forget, HB Building and Design was one of the first Water Sense certified vendors in San Mateo! We have great experience with all things plumbing related to serve your needs with Water Heaters, Tankless systems, Faucets, Toilets, Shower fixtures and any thing plumbing you want to make it easy for you to get great green results!

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