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Home Depot makes $30 million pledge to Habitat for Humanity

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot has announced a five-year, $30 million donation to Habitat for Humanity, part of a national green building initiative through the retailer’s Partners in Sustainable Building. The program will provide funding and resources with the aim of building 5,000 “energy-efficient and sustainable homes” by Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

The $30 million pledge includes financial, in-kind support, technical resources and training costs to “establish a foundation of green building expertise that will impact Habitat builds for years to come.” Green certification will be determined by third-party, nationally recognized groups that provide green building standards, and the funding will help Habitat affiliates secure verification in their respective regions. In addition to energy efficiency, the homes will also be rated for indoor air quality and water conservation standards.

The Home Depot Foundation’s Partners in Sustainable Building program will provide energy-efficient and sustainable building resources for approximately 17 percent of all single- and multi-family homes built by Habitat for Humanity over the next five years, according to the company.

“Our organization supports the construction of homes for families that are healthy to live in and affordable to own,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of the Home Depot Foundation. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Habitat to create additional opportunities for thousands of families of modest means to experience the economic and health benefits of green building practices. We believe that the impact of this program will be far-reaching and will add to the long-term success of families and communities across the country.”

Green building has been the hottest topic of late in the construction industry, as highlighted at February’s International Builders’ Show, which saw the unveiling of a new green building initiative by the National Association of Home Builders.

The Home Depot/Habitat partnership will kick off with a one-year pilot program, including approximately 30 Habitat affiliates in a variety of climates and in rural and urban areas, “to best gauge the impact of the program,” the company said.

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Wal-Mart to recycle tires into mulch

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart stores announced it will be recycling used tires into rubber mulch, which it will make available in its Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores this week.

The retailer will recycle approximately 2.5 million tires in 2008 to manufacture the eco-friendly Majestic rubber mulch mini nuggets, which the company said is ideal for landscaping and covering play grounds, pools and pond areas.

“We know consumers want to make the most of their time at home this spring and summer, and we want to provide them with product offerings that help create a safe outdoor family environment at the best value,” said Andy Barron, senior vp and general merchandise manager for Wal-Mart. “Our process of recycling millions of used tires into rubber mulch products is yet another way to help our customers live better while also helping the environment.”

The company said the Majestic rubber mulch joins rubber garden edging and tree rings already available at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club — all made from 100 percent recycled tire rubber. In addition, gardeners can find environmentally safer pesticides and plants in biodegradable pots.

Forest Stewardship Council-certified Home Trends outdoor furniture pieces as well as solar powered outdoor lighting will also be available at Wal-Mart and SamOs Clubs this spring.

Wal-mart said the new recycled products are another step in the company’s ongoing commitments to reaching its zero-waste goal and providing access to affordable eco-friendly products.

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Stock Building Supply reports loss in half-year results

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Stock Building Supply, the second largest pro dealer in the United States, reported $89 million in losses for the six-month period ended Jan. 31. This compares to profits of $81 million for the same period a year ago.

Revenues were reported at $1.79 billion, down 25.7 percent from sales of $2.4 billion during the comparable period last year.

As part of cost-cutting moves by parent company Wolseley, Stock closed 22 branches during the six-month period, ending with 286 locations. In July 2007, the pro dealer operated 308 outlets. Stock also reduced its head count during the period by 1,750.

Ferguson, also owned by U.K.-based Wolseley, turned in a stronger performance, with revenues rising 3.2 percent to $5.5 billion. Profits were up by 4.9 percent to $350 million. In response to the slowing residential market in the first half of its fiscal year, Ferguson reduced its head count by 1,575, approximately 6 percent of its total employees.

Revenues for Wolseley Canada increased by 3.7 percent to C$684 million. Profits were lower, however, with a 15 percent drop, from C$41 million a year ago to C$35 million in the current period.

Overall, Wolseley’s revenues increased 2 percent to approximately $15.8 billion during the six-month period. But profits dropped 23 percent to approximately $595 million, which the company attributed to losses posted by Stock.

Wolseley is a worldwide distributor of plumbing and heating supplies and building materials, with operations in 27 countries.

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