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Green is the theme at the IBS show

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Orlando, Fla. The International Builders’ Show is shaping up to be heavy on the “green,” with numerous references to the hot eco-friendly market segment.

The National Association of Home Builders heavily promoted its new National Green Building Program, launched officially on Feb. 14 in what the group designated as “Green Day” at IBS.

The program is meant to link several state and local green building programs with a universal online certification tool, national registry of green homes and green builders, and a collection of educational tools for home builders and home buyers, according to the NAHB. The show also included the NAHB “New American Home,” which this year featured an Energy Star-rated and certified green home, following standards designated by the Florida Green Building Coalition, as well as the aforementioned National Green Building Program standards. The home is the first to receive the NAHB’s new designation, according to the group.

Several builders discussed their experiences with green building. Clark Wilson started Green Builders Inc. last year, a group which is now building communities of Energy Star-rated homes in the Austin, Texas, area.

“The more we looked into it, the more we decided this is not just a trend,” Wilson explained. “This is the real deal. It just hit critical mass.”

The builder currently has four all-green housing projects under development in the Austin area, with homes priced from $200,000 to $700,000.

Energy Star promoted its program for new homes, which requires new homes to be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code standards.

Manufacturers like Kohler and American Standard highlighted their new products as certified under the EPA’s newest “WaterSense” guidelines. WaterSense was launched in 2006 by the agency and has begun to gain the reputation of an Energy Star program for water conservation — particularly with some areas of the country experiencing droughts, and consequently, new water conservation regulations. Most recently, in October 2007, the EPA launched its first WaterSense specifications for bathroom sink faucets.

At the Home Depot booth, several new products were featured under the retailer’s Eco Options program, including the American Standard WaterSense-rated toilets and new line of no-VOC paints from ICI Paints called FreshAire Choice. Eco Options uses third party verifications, as well as EPA programs, to categorize environmentally friendly products into five categories: sustainable forestry (including building materials and wood products), energy efficient, healthy home (including natural garden products), clean air and water conservation.

The International Builders’ Show concludes Feb. 16 in Orlando.

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Wal-Mart launches solar pilot program

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores announced it has completed the first stage in its pilot program to use solar power in its retail stores.

The company has already converted the Chino, Calif., Sam’s Club, one of seven California stores the company will convert for the pilot program.

“Wal-Mart is moving forward with its commitment to conserve energy, reduce energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions, and this project is a step in the right direction,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vp-energy at Wal-Mart.

Once installed, Wal-Mart said it hopes solar power systems will provide approximately 30 percent of the power to its stores.

“Installing the solar power systems will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8,000 to 10,000 metric tonnes a year,” said David Ozment, director of energy at Wal-Mart.

The company said 15 locations in Hawaii will also be included in the program.

Wal-Mart described the project as a major step toward its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy.

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Pope & Talbot to sell sawmills

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Portland, Ore.-based Pope & Talbot announced that it has agreed to sell its Fort St. James and Midway sawmills.

The company said it will sell the Fort St. James sawmill to the Sinar Mas Group for $6 million and the Midway sawmill to Fox Lumber Sales for $750,000.

The sales are subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the Canadian Court, as well as customary regulatory approvals in Canada and the United States. The company said it expects to receive such approvals and close the transactions in the second quarter of 2008.

Sinar Mas Group is a global enterprise with significant interests in pulp and paper in Indonesia, China and elsewhere. Sinar Mas is the largest producer of pulp and paper in Asia and is one of the top five in the world. Pope & Talbot sold three Canadian-based pulp sawmills to the Sinar Mas Group last month.

Fox Lumber Sales is a full service lumber manufacturing business headquartered in Hamilton, Mont.

Pope & Talbot was founded in 1849 and produces market pulp and softwood lumber at mills in the United States and Canada.

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