Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 16, 2012
*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.
Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.
Lumber: Several SPF lumber producers reported a slower pace early, but by Thursday, demand had improved, sending prices higher. Mill order files extended as far out as the week of December 17 for some items. This prompted buyers to look to secondaries for coverage. Southern Pine lumber sales slowed at mills, but prices continued to climb. Wholesalers carrying quicker shipping volumes than what mills could provide were called upon to cover prompt needs. Dry producers in the Coastal species lumber market sold enough volumes to keep prices, at the very least, firm. Significant, steady volumes sold by mills allowed them to maintain order files extending roughly two weeks. The market for Inland species lumber remained steady. Although some producers reported a slower pace this week than last, the slowness was attributed to a lack of available wood to sell rather than weakness in the market. Radiata Pine industrial lumber remains in short supply, particularly for Shop grades, and traders say they do not anticipate any increases in availability in the near future. Buyers of Ponderosa Pine kept their PO books in the desk drawer most of the time, having covered most of their November needs. Producers have made an effort to shift away from the production of Shop grades as much as possible. The one bright spot has been #3 Shop and P99. The market for Ponderosa Pine boards remained weak, with buyers only making purchases on fill in items that shipped quickly. Producers were open to slight counters in order to move buildups of certain items. Eastern White Pine producers reported continued steady business. They also indicated good re-ordering from their regular customers. Steady sales and firm prices were reported for both ESLP and Idaho White Pine. Much of the tone in the Western Red Cedar market was positive as the calendar moved closer to the new year. Sales for shipments yet this year picked up, as buyers ran low on stock.
Panels: Although the volume traded was lighter, OSB markets continued to show strength, and, in some cases, prices increased. Mill order files as far out as the week of December 10 kept control of the market in the hands of producers. Southern Pine plywood producers extended order files into the week of December 3. That lead time prompted them to move rated sheathing prices $5-10 higher. Most Sales activity in the Western Fir plywood market was described as "lackluster." Buyers picked off some prompt shipping volumes available from mills, but there was no momentum to the market or prices in either direction. The Canadian plywood market seems to have found a trading level where most everyone is content. Producers are touting order files into the week of December 10. Producers and secondary suppliers agreed the sales pace in particleboard and MDF was steady or a touch slower. Prices of both particleboard and MDF held.
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Hunter Fan thermostat offers new control
Memphis, Tenn.-based Hunter Fan introduced a Universal Internet Thermostat, which can be controlled in-home or remotely with a smartphone.
The company says consumers can dramatically cut heating and cooling costs by installing Hunter Fan’s new Universal Internet Thermostat, which is controlled in-home or remotely with a smartphone app.
Consumers can save an average of $180 a year using a programmable thermostat, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“The Universal Internet Thermostat works with a broad range of heating and cooling systems and can be controlled from anywhere, anytime with a smartphone and our best-in-class app,” said Martin Heckmann, Group Marketing Manager at Hunter Fan. “The Universal Internet Thermostat is ideal for people and families who want to warm or cool their homes before they come home, and save money by turning off their heating and cooling equipment when they are traveling.”
Hunter Fan teamed with Arrayent’s Internet-Connect Service to develop the product.
The thermostat’s price tag is $99.99. The first three months of Internet connectivity are free, as part a 100% risk-free trial. Consumers can opt to pay $9.99 a year for Internet connectivity or pay a $49.99 one-time fee for product life-time Internet connectivity.
Google gives $3 million to USGBC
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."