Meritage cited for energy efficiency
Phoenix-based Meritage Homes has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award. The award recognizes ongoing leadership across the Energy Star program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial and public sectors.
Meritage was recognized for its continued leadership in protecting the environment. Meritage received the EPA’s 2012 Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award, the 2011 Energy Starr Builder of the Year award and the 2010 Department of Energy’s Building America Partner award. Meritage’s accomplishments in earning these awards include being the first 100% Energy Star production builder; offering the first fully EPA-certified home for Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense; and the first Net Zero Energy production builder in the United States.
"Meritage has redefined the way homes can and should be built, setting a new standard in production home building," said Steve Hilton, the company’s chairman and CEO.
Boise Cascade swings to a gain
Boise Cascade Co., the industry’s most recent addition to the ranks of publicly traded companies, increased fourth-quarter sales as it swung to a gain.
"We experienced a fourth consecutive quarter of positive income from operations, underscored by strong plywood prices and improved demand for the products we manufacture and distribute,” said Tom Carlile, CEO.
Overall, the company’s fourth-quarter sales were $694.6 million, up 26.9%. For the full year, total sales were up 24% to $2.779 billion.
Net income was $1.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with a net loss of $13.8 million in the same period last year. For the full year, net income improved to $41.5 million, compared with a net loss of $46.4 million in 2011.
BMD segment sales were $553.1 million in the fourth quarter, up 29% from the same quarter a year ago.
“We are pleased with our successful initial public offering (IPO) completed on Feb. 11, 2013,” Carlile said. “The IPO, together with our debt refinancing in early fourth quarter 2012, provides the company with a strong liquidity position to take advantage of continued improvement in the markets, execute strategic initiatives within our existing operations and evaluate growth opportunities."
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $17.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 and $96.6 million for the full year.
The company closely watches residential construction stats, which drive business to a large extent. While U.S. housing starts improved 28% to 780,000 in 2012, compared with 609,000 in 2011, housing start levels remain significantly below the historical average for the last 20 years of approximately 1.4 million units per year, the company noted. However, as of February 2013, Blue Chip consensus forecast for 2013 is 990,000, a 27% increase from 2012 levels.
Weyerhaeuser gives hardwood floors an edge
Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser introduced Hardwood Edge, an OSB floor panel specifically engineered for use under hardwood floors.
“Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular finishes for new homes, but it requires a stable, reliable subfloor that can withstand the high moisture conditions we have here in the Mid-Atlantic,” said David Walters, tactical product manager for Weyerhaeuser OSB. “Hardwood Edge flooring’s increased density and superior fastener-holding properties ensure hardwood flooring goes down easily and stays put, helping to reduce callbacks.”
Hardwood Edge flooring is initially available in the Mid-Atlantic region only.
Hardwood flooring poses unique challenges for installers: The inherent swelling and shrinkage of wood as a natural material, improper acclimatization of hardwood, and insufficient drying time if the OSB is wet can work together to loosen fasteners, which can lead to pops and squeaks in a finished floor. Hardwood Edge panels are the result of multiple years of research by Weyerhaeuser, working closely with builders and flooring contractors, to create a product that is designed for use under all hardwood floors.