Energy Star honors Sears Holdings
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Sears Holdings with a 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for its continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. This year, Sears Holdings is being awarded for both its role as a retailer of Energy Star-certified products and for energy management in its stores. Sears Holdings’ accomplishments will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on March 26.
Sears Holdings, an Energy Star partner since 1998, will be honored for its long-term commitment to energy efficiency. Sears Holdings demonstrates impressive commitment to providing a wide-array of Energy Star products and services, along with superior energy management across its building portfolio, coupled with enhanced associate and consumer education to drive awareness and adoption of energy efficiency and climate protection. The company’s related accomplishments last year include:
Energy Savings: In 2012, Sears Holdings’ total weather normalized source energy usage decreased by 2,872,416,518 kbtu, a reduction of more than 7% over last year. Additionally, the company reduced average weather normalized source energy intensity to 133.9 kbtu/sqft, a 7.1% reduction over 2011. This reduction of EUI was made possible by energy savings across all of the Sears Holdings formats. Furthermore, the company reduced electricity usage by nearly 220,000,000 kWh, a 6.6% savings over the previous year.
Product Selection: The introduction of the Kenmore Connect platform was among interesting developments at Sears in 2012. Sears looks forward to the continued expansion of the platform in the future and the potential for integration with the Energy Star program and overall energy efficiency. Additionally, Sears also experienced growth across its portfolio in the Most Efficient program and now offers 48 clothes washers and 11 refrigerators. This is a differentiation that is important in continuing to be a market leader with Energy Star.
Marketing: In 2012, the company continued to communicate its environmental leadership to its SHOP YOUR WAY Members and customers through its dedicated Sears and Kmart green websites (Sears.com/green and Kmart.com/green). Social media has also remained a feature of Sears strategy this year it utilized company Facebook, Twitter and team specific Twitter channels to deliver its sustainability message.
Partnership: Sears’ strong relationship with local utilities differentiates the company from other retailers. Through Sears Green Leadership team, it is able to capitalize on these relationships to drive traffic to its stores and generate awareness for the Energy Star brand.
Builder confidence slips in March
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes paused for a third consecutive month in March, falling two points to 44 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
“Following eight consecutive months of improvement, builder confidence leveled off in January and has since edged down several points,” said NAHB chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Although many of our members are reporting increased demand for new homes in their markets, their enthusiasm is being tempered by frustrating bottlenecks in the supply chain for developed lots along with rising costs for building materials and labor. At the same time, problems with appraisals and credit availability remain considerable obstacles to completing deals.”
While the HMI component gauging current sales conditions declined four points to 47, the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers both posted gains, of one point to 51 and three points to 35, respectively, in March.
Three-month moving averages for each region’s HMI score were also mixed. The Northeast was unchanged at 39; the Midwest and South posted one-point declines to 47 and 46, respectively; and the West registered a four-point increase to 58.
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “”high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for March 15, 2013
*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.
Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.
Lumber: SPF mills sold steady volumes and nudged prices a few dollars higher, as buyers purchased significant volumes for shipment in the first week of April. Wholesalers sold volumes readily at price levels at or near replacement costs. Southern Pine dimension lumber prices once again tilted upward after an uptick in buying late the week prior and varying degrees of follow through this week. The perception that treaters still needed to purchase spring needs remained in play. Coastal species lumber prices moved higher, as price resistance from buyers continued to give way to needs. A lack of availability; slow shipments, particularly out of Canada; gains in futures and persistent demand all contributed to higher pricing. Inland species lumber producers continued to control the market with strong order files and steady demand. Mill order files out beyond two weeks prompted buyers to look for quicker shipments from secondaries. Supplies of Radiata Pine remained tight, especially Shop lumber. The majority of reported sales were contract or program sales. While sales volumes for Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr were good, they were not enough to change prices. The Ponderosa Pine board market remained in the hands of producers. Mill order files out to mid-April in some cases had buyers scrambling to cover more immediate needs. Idaho White Pine Standard sold well, although supplies were limited. Eastern White Pine producers reported good sales for Standard and improved sales for Premium. Western Red Cedar buyers were cautious and awaited the time when greater consumption levels are expected to erode those purchases both in inventory and not yet delivered. Weather was to blame for a lack of takeaway at some yards.
Panels: OSB markets saw the lion’s share of business transacted at the secondary level. Producers were able to keep prices at their lists for the most part. Some minor discounting was reported in a few regions. Southern Pine plywood buyers purchased strong volumes, sending mill prices moderately higher. High prices generated conservative purchasing, but persistently higher consumption levels forced buyers back into the market at whatever price. Sales at the end of the previous week, described by one producer as "screaming," were enough to allow Western Fir plywood mills to firm up price levels. Lead times most commonly extended into early April. Canadian plywood producers reported a quiet week of sales. Those with order files were content to keep prices close to published levels. Others were more open to looking at offers. Eastern particleboard mills continued to sell more volume than what was produced, while western producers experienced more of a struggle to move volumes. MDF sales remained solid.
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