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At Baltimore IKEA, solar power turns on

BY Ken Clark

Home furnishings retailer IKEA said it plugged in its solar energy system at its store in Baltimore.

The 77,300-sq.-ft. PV array consists of a 618.2-kW system, built with 2,576 panels.  IKEA Baltimore’s program will produce approximately 823,500 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 626 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 111 cars or powering 71 homes yearly, according to the company.

IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings — as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) — and this Baltimore installation represents the 13th completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 20 more locations under way. The solar concept is up and running at 75% of its U.S. locations.

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AHMA survey delves into supercommittee’s failure

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A survey of members of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) showed skepticism that progress can be made to reduce the budget before elections.

The survey also showed that members feel both parties are to blame for the failure of the so-called supercommittee to draft a compromise to cut costs.

The results of the survey were released as part of the AHMA’s Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index, which improved in November.

The first of two survey questions was: “The congressional committee charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions announced on Nov. 21 that it has failed to reach an agreement. Some analysts now say that nothing will be accomplished until after next year’s elections. Do you think progress can still be made on reducing the deficit before the elections?” The survey showed 31% responded “Yes,” 15% responded “Not Sure,” and 54% responded “No.”

The second question was: “Who is most to blame for the deficit supercommittee’s failure?” The response was 27% Democrats and 73% both Republicans and Democrats.

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Major churn in cement industry

BY HBSDEALER Staff

After a failed attempt at a merger, Martin Marietta Materials has launched a hostile $4.8 billion offer for its rival Vulcan Materials Co., according to the Wall Street Journal. The deal combines the two largest suppliers of construction aggregates — one of the chief ingredients of concrete — in the nation.

Discussions about a possible merger occurred last year between the chief executives of Marietta Materials and Vulcan, according to regulatory filings. But the two CEOs could not agree on issues such as the executive management positions and shareholder premiums.

The all-stock offer arrived on Vulcan’s doorstep on Dec. 11 from the smaller of the two firms, Martin Marietta. The Raleigh, N.C.-based company is offering half a share for each Vulcan share, a 9% premium based on Vulcan’s Nov. 9 closing prices.

Vulcan, based in Birmingham, Ala., said in a prepared statement that its board is "carefully" reviewing the offer and will make a recommendation within 10 business days. It advised its shareholders not to sell their stakes before that time.

Martin Marietta’s offer would combine the directors from both companies to serve on one board. Donald James, chairman and CEO of Vulcan, would serve as chairman; but C. Howard Nye, president and CEO of Martin Marietta Materials, would hold the post of president and CEO.

Martin Marietta is the second-largest supplier of crushes stoned, sand and aggregates in the United States. It also sells asphalt and concrete in certain geographic regions.

Vulcan is the country’s largest producer of construction aggregates and a major producer of other construction materials, including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete and a leading producer of cement in Florida.

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