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Google gives $3 million to USGBC

BY Brae Canlen

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced a $3 million grant from Google to be used to “catalyze the transformation of the building materials industry” by accelerating the creation of healthier indoor environments.

The grant will focus on three areas that will encourage market transformation in the building materials industry: supporting research on building materials and health, developing new transparency tools and engaging stakeholders from across the industry. The new initiatives will be developed over the next two years.

"The idea for this project emerged from our own work at Google, where we’re committed to creating the healthiest work environments possible that help employees perform at their best," said Anthony Ravitz, Google’s Green Team Lead. "USGBC has a deep background in spearheading research, developing a rating system spanning the globe and engaging with the many stakeholders in the building industry, making them the perfect partner to help spur real change on the healthy materials front."

"Healthy, non-toxic building materials are a critical component in green building," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "Fostering awareness of the materials we put into our buildings is of paramount importance, since many materials can link to a host of environmental and health issues. Working with Google enables us to broaden our efforts in the materials industry as we prepare for the next version of the LEED green building program, LEED v4. This updated rating system will paint a more complete picture of materials and products, enabling project teams to make more informed decisions."

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Loss widens at Sears Holdings Corp.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings Corp posted a third quarter net loss from continuing operations of $498 million, compared to a net loss of $410 million in the same quarter last year. 

Sears Domestic’s comparable store sales declined 1.6% in the third quarter ended Oct. 27. Kmart’s comparable store sales declined 4.8%, and Sears Canada’s comparable store sales declined 5.7%. Revenues decreased $548 million to $8.9 billion for the quarter. 

CEO Lou D’Ambrosio pointed to improved EBITDA performance, which came from "some of our most important categories like Appliances, Apparel, and Home Services as we introduced new offers, honed pricing, effectively managed costs and implemented better inventory management." He continued: "We did experience shortfalls, however, in categories like Grocery and Household and Consumer Electronics, and are taking actions to improve that performance."

Amid the declines, Sears promoted the idea of its Shop Your Way customer membership program, which generates more than half of the Sears domestic and Kmart revenues.

"We are rapidly moving to a member based business model," D’Ambrosio said. "Our investments are focused on our members and their experience — at the store, online, and mobile — which is why we are investing in Integrated Retail and our Shop Your Way membership program."

 

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Simonton Windows teams with color expert

BY Ken Clark

Columbus, Ohio-based Simonton Windows partnered with national color expert Kate Smith, CMG of Sensational Color, to offer a comprehensive color certification program for contractors. The free eight-course program allows builders and remodelers to earn a Color Certification designation from Sensational Color that can help them grow their business.

According to Simonton, similar courses available from Smith on her Sensational Color website carry fees of at least $1,500 per course. Builders and contractors who take the courses for free through Simonton University are receiving courseware valued at approximately $12,000 at no cost. 

Offered exclusively through Simonton University, members of Simonton ProNetwork program can register to take four “Color Core Training” courses followed by four additional “Color for Home Exteriors” courses. The online courses are available at learn.simonton.com in the Technical School section of Simonton University. The first three courses are now available online and include “Understanding Color,” “Color Theorist” and “Color Psychology, Symbolism and Meaning.” 

“I’ve developed this Sensational Color Certification Program exclusively for Simonton Windows so that ProNetwork members visiting the Simonton University site can equip themselves with a widespread understanding of the importance color plays in the building and remodeling industry,” said Smith, owner of Sensational Color.

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