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Comments sought on LEED certification

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A 30-day public comment period that started on Aug. 8 may have opened the door to wood certification programs and lumber dealers who claim they’ve been shut out of participating in the LEED green building rating system. The U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit organization that administers the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, has announced it is re-evaluating the way it awards credits for certified wood.

Comments are being solicited through the group’s Web site,  www.usgbc.org, until Sept. 7.

Up until this point, LEED has only recognized wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This excludes a number of other certifying bodies, including Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the Canadian Standards Association, the American Tree Farm System and the Canadian PEFC standards.

The U.S. Green Building Council said it has been studying the issue for two years “with input from a widely diverse set of stakeholders” and internationally recognized forestry experts. Under a proposal now being considered, current and future wood certification programs would be measured against a set of benchmarks to determine if they qualify for credit under LEED.

“It was clear from our extensive research that the increasing internationalization of the wood supply chain, the changing ownership structure of American forests and the increasing diversity of wood certification programs globally demanded a more holistic, transparent approach,” said Brendan Owens, vp-LEED technical development, in the U.S. Green Building Council announcement.

One group of vocal stakeholders has been lumberyard owners, who object to the expense of FSC-certification, the difficulty of sourcing FSC-certified wood and what they consider to be onerous chain-of-custody requirements. Pro dealers also say they’ve been precluded from bidding on many municipal, state and commercial jobs because they lacked FSC certification

The National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and a number of state LBM trade organizations are urging their members to send their feedback on the proposal comments to the U.S. Green Building Council. The NLBMDA is also compiling its members’ comments on providing FSC lumber versus other types of certified wood, chain of custody issues, obtaining certification for FSC and/or SFI wood, and the demand from customers for these products. Comments should be sent to  [email protected] by Friday, Aug. 22.

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Do it Best owner receives British royal title

BY HBSDEALER Staff

David Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Home Centre in Nassau, Bahamas, has been honored with the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) as part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s annual birthday honors, the Do it Best co-op announced.

Kelly is being recognized for exemplary services to the Bahamas and for national development in the field of business/Bahamian retail industry and sports. Kelly’s Home Centre, which is celebrating its 80-year anniversary this year, has been a member of Do it Best since 2001.

In addition, Kelly’s Home Centre received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce in July.

In 1992, Kelly received the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Silver Jubilee Award in recognition of his contribution to national development in the field of business. He has made contributions to many charitable and civic organizations, notably to the College of The Bahamas Scholarships, the Cancer Care Centre, St. Anne’s Church and The Bahamas National Trust.

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Ace Hardware net income up 11.7 percent in Q2

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware released its second-quarter results, reporting net income of $33.4 million, up 11.7 percent from the $29.5 million reported last year. Total revenues for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based co-op were down 2.6 percent to $1.067 billion.

“Although top-line revenues declined, we saw an improvement in sales trends from the second quarter, particularly in the latter half of the second quarter,” said Ace president and CEO Ray Griffith. “

Merchandise sales from Ace’s international business continued to be strong and contributed $6.5 million in incremental sales, up 13.5 percent compared with 2007. This number was driven by increased sales to existing stores in the Middle East, sales to new stores in the Caribbean and sales growth from foreign-to-foreign wholesale operations.

Ace added 27 new stores and cancelled 49 stores in the second quarter, which brought the company’s total store count to 4,594 compared to 4,630 at the end of fiscal year 2007.

On a category basis, domestic revenues were negatively impacted by declines in the tools, paint, plumbing and electrical categories and were partially offset by a sales gain in lawn and garden.

Operating expenses decreased $9.1 million, or 10 percent, to $82.5 million in the second quarter of 2008 and, as a percentage of revenues, decreased from 8.36 percent to 7.73 percent.

The decrease in operating expenses was primarily a result of a reduction in incentive compensation and profit sharing expenses of approximately $6 million, the co-op said, and lower distribution costs of $4.2 million due to tight expense control and lower volume at Ace’s Retail Support Centers (RSCs).

“We made good progress in reducing our expenses in the second quarter in light of the challenging economic environment,” Griffith said. “We continue to review our cost structure and will be making the necessary adjustments to deliver strong profitability while continuing to invest in and drive the Ace brand.”

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