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Minnesota bill considers mandatory paint recycling

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Do-it-youselfers in Minnesota might soon find that the most popular home project — painting a room — could mean additional costs to help pay for recycling.

Abill has been introduced in Minnesota that would require paint manufacturers to set up a recycling program for leftover consumer paint in that state, according to Consumer Reports.

The bill, S.F. No. 477, is similar to legislation passed by the Minnesota state senate in 2008. Governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed that bill, concerned that the cost of the program would be passed on to consumers.

“Requiring Minnesotan consumers to pay for both public- and industry-based programs results in a double burden on consumers for the same purpose,” Pawlenty wrote in a May 2008 letter to the state senate.

Under the new plan, all the costs would be passed on to the consumer — but in a “transparent way,” said Alison Keane, spokeswoman for the National Paint & Coatings Association. Keane said the idea of an approximate 40-cents-per-gallon surcharge has been well received in consumer surveys.

Consumers in British Columbia, Canada, have been paying for paint recycling since 1994 and now accept it as a way of life, said Mark Kushner, president of Product Care, a nonprofit association that manages many of Canada’s product-stewardship programs for hazardous household materials. “Once you get used to recycling paint, it’s hard to throw it in the garbage,” he said.

In 2008, 700,000 gallons of leftover paint were returned to 105 collection sites throughout B.C. “Every year we bring in 10% more than the year before,” said Kushner. “The basement reservoir is gradually being emptied.”

In the United States, about 10% of all purchased paint — or 64 million gallons — goes unused, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Many communities offer recycling programs for paint, typically through drop-off centers for finishes and other hazardous materials.

The Minnesota legislation would give manufacturers until Sept. 1 to start a paint-recycling pilot program. Then, on Oct. 15, 2010, they would be required to submit a report detailing the results up to that point, including how much paint was recycled and what the cost was to consumers.

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Centex offers energy-efficient homes in Minneapolis

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Centex has announced that its Centex Energy Advantage homes are under construction across the Minneapolis metro area. The scheduled 63 new homes should avoid thousands of tons of carbon emissions, preventing more than 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in just the first year of occupancy.

Centex Energy Advantage is available in 10 neighborhoods around the Minneapolis metropolitan area. The first is a single-family home in Carver’s Spring Creek neighborhood southwest of Minneapolis, which is scheduled for delivery in May.

According to a study commissioned with the NAHB Research Center, Centex Energy Advantage homes are up to 40 percent more efficient than a typical 10-year-old home.

“In today’s economic conditions, our customers are just as concerned about the cost of living in a house as the cost of buying it,” said Marv McDaris, division president for Centex Homes in Minnesota. “These standard energy-efficiency features put more control over energy costs in their hands from the minute they move in. Avoiding surprises in the monthly utility bill is good for our customers — avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions is good for the whole community.”

Features of the Centex Energy Advantage homes include:

• Energy monitor: real-time information about electricity usage and expense that can result in a 4% to 15% reduction in electricity use;

• Whirlpool brand Energy Star-qualified appliances;

• Lennox high-efficiency HVAC system;

• Programmable thermostat(s);

• Low-emissivity windows;

• R-49 insulation in the attic;

• Compact fluorescent lights in high-traffic areas; and

• Information for maximizing energy efficiency and minimizing the impact of home operation on the environment.

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Masonite offers update on bankruptcy filing

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Masonite International, which filed a Chapter 11 reorganization plan earlier this month, announced that it received interim court authorization to pay suppliers, employees and customers with its cash collateral.

The company said in a press release that it has more than $150 million cash on hand.

“We intend to pay our suppliers under customary terms going forward.” said Fred Lynch, Masonite’s president and CEO. “Our restructuring plan calls for all trade creditors to be ‘unimpaired,’ meaning that suppliers would be paid in full.”

On March 16, Masonite announced that it had entered into a “prenegotiated” Chapter 11 restructuring plan with its lenders and bondholders, stressing that the agreement “is not the same thing as liquidation or receivership.” If implemented as proposed, the plan will enable Masonite to reduce its outstanding debt by nearly $2 billion, from $2.2 billion today to up to $300 million upon consummation of the plan, as well as reduce its annual cash interest costs by approximately $145 million.

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