Green modular homes grow in St. Louis
St. Louis-based urban redevelopment firm EcoUrban is filling vacant lots in St. Louis with energy-efficient and affordable prefab and modular homes.
The redevelopment project involves a modular building manufactured off-site with green, sustainable features, then trucked to St. Louis, placed on a precast foundation and finished on-site.
The company’s latest redevelopment, Sullivan Place, is a partnership with a number of community and state housing, renewal, development and economic development organizations. The plan is for eight new homes to infill lots in the heart of metro St. Louis — a mile north of city center. The first house at 2332 Dodier St. recently went on foundation and is small at only 1,360 sq. ft., but features three bedrooms, two full baths and all kinds of building products that improve its performance — lowering the operating cost and making the indoor environment healthier, according to the company.
The house was built in Peoria, Ill., by Homeway Homes. It features: bamboo floors, cabinets made by a local green cabinetmaker, low-E Energy Star-rated windows, low-flow water fixtures, dual flush toilets, low-to-no VOC paints, highly efficient HVAC, humidity-controlling bath ventilation fans and ventilated range hoods — all designed to conserve energy, water and maintain excellent indoor air quality.
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A.O. Smith plans a traveling efficiency show
Ashland City, Tenn.-based A.O. Smith is about to begin a cross-country journey called the High Efficiency Revolution Tour to promote its line of water heaters.
The two-year long traveling show will begin this month, driving around the country in a custom-made RV dubbed the High Efficiency Mobile Marketing Vehicle.
After its launch from Ashland City, Tenn., the tour will visit distributor/wholesaler locations, where contractors, plumbers, specifying engineers, builders and consumers are invited to visit, the company said. The first leg of the High Efficiency Revolution Tour will travel across the western U.S., with its first stop in Sacramento, Calif., and ultimately make its way from coast to coast. The tour schedule can be found at www.hotwater.com/MMV.
Inside the van, A.O. Smith’s interactive displays will include Cirrex Solar Thermal Water Heating System, the NEXT Hybrid High Efficiency Gas, the Voltex Hybrid Electric Heat Pump, the Effex High Efficiency Gas, Tankless and the Vertex Condensing Gas water heaters.
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Wal-Mart reports sales decline in Q4
Wal-Mart Stores posted its seventh straight quarterly sales decline, falling short of its own projections for the holiday period.
Still, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant reported Tuesday that earnings for the quarter ended Jan. 31 jumped 27% as its international stores posted strong results. Wal-Mart’s profit rose to $6.06 billion, compared with $4.76 billion a year earlier. Revenue climbed 2.5% to $115.6 billion but the gains came from Wal-Mart’s international operations. U.S. sales at the namesake Walmart unit fell 0.5% to $71.1 billion, and were down 1.8% on a comparable-store basis. Wall Street had expected a 0.8% increase.
"Some of the pricing and merchandising issues in Wal-Mart ran deeper than we initially expected, and they require a response that will take time to see results," CEO and President Mike Duke said in a statement.
Going forward, the chain said it plans to focus on everyday low prices on a basket of goods, feature the broadest assortment possible and remodel Walmart stores and focus on multichannel selling to spur U.S. sales.
Proving its international strength, Wal-Mart reported fourth quarter international sales rose 8.9% to $31.4 billion, helped by particularly strong sales in Brazil, China and Mexico. Profit increased 7.1%.
However at its U.S. business, sales slid 0.5%, the second quarterly decline in a row. At Sam’s Club, revenue rose 4.4%.
Duke said in a recorded conference call Tuesday that the chain would move forward "with even greater urgency in opening small stores." The company said that it plans to open its first Walmart Express stores in the second quarter.
The company also noted during the prerecorded call that rising inflation in key raw materials such as cotton is pushing it to consolidate suppliers to improve purchasing power.
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