Fighting words for the EPA
Washington, D.C. — Speaking to a room full of lumberyard owners and LBM suppliers, Representative Bill Johnson of Ohio’s 6th Congressional District and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee made it very clear how he felt about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"It’s the most out-of-control regulatory body in Washington," he said, in remarks that helped kick off the 2013 Legislative Conference of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and the Windows and Doors Manufacturers Association (WDMA).
Showing knowledge of the details of the EPA’s lead paint rules, Johnson called for a reinstatement of the opt-out rule, allowing homeowners, if there are no pregnant women or young children in the house, to allow remodelers to replace and repair windows without the extra lead-safety measures.
The EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (LRRP) Rule was introduced in 2010 and requires remodeling and renovation firms that perform work on pre-1978 housing to be EPA certified.
"When the EPA retroactively alters a rule without justification, there is a serious problem," Johnson said. "The removal of the opt-out provision will cost over $300 million in compliance costs, and really pushes consumers to deal with vendors who don’t comply with the rules."
Johnson also took aim at the Affordable Care Act, of which he said: "It’s going to die of its own weight."
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February housing starts hold steady
Data released Tuesday by the Department of Commerce show privately owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000.
The rate is 0.8% above the revised January estimate of 910,000. It’s also 27.7% above the same rate a year ago.
Single-family starts were also up slightly in February, hitting a rate of 618,000, up 0.5% from the previous month.
Building permits were up 4.6% in February, reaching a rate of 946,000. That’s up 33.8% from February 2012. Single-family building permits were up 2.7% in February, compared with January.
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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.