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Behind The Story: How Tale Of Snow-Melting Paramus Home Went Viral

Daily Voice Community Editor Matthew Speiser, Raj Parikh
Daily Voice Community Editor Matthew Speiser, Raj Parikh Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE PHOTO

Last week, a tip from a Daily Voice Community Advisor produced a story for Community Editor Matthew Speiser that caught fire and spread quickly. Here's how it happened:

PARAMUS, N.J. — The morning after Winter Storm Jonas smothered North Jersey with up to two feet of snow, I received a Facebook message from Asit Parikh.

"Hi, Andrea Holmes asked me to write," Asit said, referring to a Paramus woman who is a Community Advisor with Daily Voice. "My folks have melted their snow using the earth and Sun Geothermal and solar thermal snowmelt system.

"Call if you'd like," he added, leaving his phone number.

An hour later I listened intently as Asit described "Zenesis House," an eco-friendly and entirely self-sufficient home that he helped his father, Raj, build in Paramus over the last three years.

He explained how the house harnesses solar and geothermal energy to heat the driveway and walkway to melt an inch and a half of snow per hour — making the Parikhs possibly the only family in North Jersey who didn't have anything to shovel after the blizzard.

I wrote the story on Monday, including photos of the house that Asit emailed to me. Daily Voice Managing Editor Jerry DeMarco, seeing the story's potential, said we needed a "grabber photo to make the story pop."

The next day I got a picture of Raj standing triumphantly on his heated driveway.

The story went viral almost immediately after we published it on Wednesday.

Daily Voice, the most widely read news medium in Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties in New York and Fairfield County in Connecticut, launched 22 sites covering Bergen and Passaic counties on September 8, 2015. According to Google Analytics, more than 600,000 residents in Bergen and Passaic read Daily Voice each month.

Our snow-melting story gave those numbers a jolt.

Hundreds of people shared it on Facebook -- and continued to through thi past weekend. A half-dozen news organizations picked it up. Nj.com did its own story.

The best part is that if perfectly fits the Daily Voice news model: A community member discovered it. It was timely, relevant -- and extremely shareable.

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