Green in the washing machine: special report
The modern basement, garage or laundry room is home to many innovations in the world of energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. Two notable additions are energy-efficient laundry options as well as the emergence of an energy saving water-heating market.
Sears spokesman Larry Costello pointed to the need for consumers to capitalize on energy efficient appliances as energy costs rise. He also noted the importance of water savings, noting particularly the HE5T model of Kenmore front-loading washing machines, which have been popular and use 71 percent less water than previous models.
According to research firm NPD Group, top-load washing machines have 63.3 percent of the market. But front-load machines that typically save more water are gaining, up 4.5 percent in 2007 from 2006. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, heating water accounts for approximately 15 percent of a home’s energy use. High efficiency water heaters can save the average home anywhere from 10 percent to 90 percent on its water heating expenses. The cost savings depends upon the type of high efficiency water heater, as well as the home’s climate and overall hot water usage.
Lowe’s carries Whirlpool brand energy-efficient tank water heaters as well as Bosch brand tankless heaters and has held free demonstrations of tankless water heaters, sponsored by Bosch, at several stores in Texas and California.
According to Karen Cobb, a spokeswoman for Lowe’s, most people purchase water heaters based on replacement. She added that Lowe’s sees the largest sales of energy-efficient water heaters on the West Coast.
“We are seeing more interest in energy-efficient water heaters. With the emphasis on certifying some of the gas tank style heaters as Energy Star in 2008, the interest is likely to grow,” said Cobb.
According to an Energy Star 2006 appliance market report, water heating is the only major residential energy end-use that Energy Star does not rate. The report points to the initial high cost of the units, consumer skepticism over reliability and the lack of trained installers and maintainers for the new technology as the current market barriers to the technology.
CEO of Wal-Mart Canada will depart
Wal-Mart Canada president and CEO Mario Pilozzi will retire effective Jan. 31, according to the world’s largest retailer.
Pilozzi spent seven years as head of the company’s Canadian division. He will be replaced by David Cheesewright, who currently serves as chief operating officer off Wal-Mart’s United Kingdom operation, ASDA.
Cheesewright joined ASDA in 1999 and over the past eight years held leadership positions in operations, merchandising, logistics, strategy, and format development.
During his tenure as head of Wal-Mart Canada, Pilozzi received numerous awards, including Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year (2007), induction into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame (2004) and the Sam M. Walton Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2000), the highest award given by Wal-Mart worldwide. He joined Wal-Mart Canada in 1994 following more than 30 years with Woolworth Canada.
Established in 1994 and headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Wal-Mart
Canada operates a network of 298 outlets across Canada.
Lowe’s Canada president joins first grand opening
Don Stallings, president of Lowe’s Canada, and Matt Basso, store manager, were joined by Brampton, Ontario Mayor Susan Fennell during the opening of Lowe’s first location in Canada. HCN was there to cover the retailer’s entrance into the Canadian market.
Two other locations opened that day in Brantford and Hamilton.
Lowe’s may have opened its first Canadian locations Dec 10, but the company’s emergence into the Canadian market has been a long time coming. Two years to be exact. But in a market that’s showing tremendous growth opportunities for American investment, Lowe’s is moving slowly and cautiously.
Don Stallings, president of Lowe’s Canada, said that the key to making Lowe’s successful in Canada is to make the retailer truly Canadian.
He said it would be a mistake to merely take the “U.S. model and drop it off across the border … hire a few Americans to run everything and expect it to do great.”
Stallings said that they were very methodical in researching the Canadian market, the Canadian home and hardware customer and Canadian products and merchants to determine the best fit for Lowe’s Canada.
“We might have brought the culture and the shape of the box, we try to then bring the products that will appeal to the Canadian consumer,” he said.
Stallings said that their research showed that the Canadian consumer is very discerning, they are more contemporary oriented and the projects that they do are larger scale renovation or rebuild projects.
“I think there’s a lot of correlations that are similar, but more importantly, the differences are extremely subtle, but they’re geared toward Canadian,” he said.
The company led into the openings with a series of television ads featuring a customer-oriented home and hardware store with help buttons in every aisle.
“If our lines have more than three customers, we’ll open up another so you don’t have to wait,” the commercial promises.
Lowe’s opened three Ontario locations Dec. 10 in South Brampton, Hamilton and Brantford, with plans to open three more by the end of the year. And while Lowe’s has more than 100 new Canadian locations planned, Stallings said they’re in no rush. “It’s more important for us to be strategic and methodical and not open them before we’re ready.”