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Solar power supplier boosts board

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Solar power systems provider EchoFirst, formerly known as PVT Solar, appointed Surinder Brar to its advisory board. Brar is the chief strategist of the worldwide partner organization at Cisco Systems.

EchoFirst CEO Vikas Desai called the appointment a boost for the Fremont, Calif.-based supplier. Brar’s "proven Silicon Valley experience and the industry perspectives he brings to building great companies, as well as his deep understanding of technology adoption, will prove invaluable to EchoFirst."

EchoFirst is the creator of Echo, a high-performance solar energy system. Echo generates not only electricity, but also hot water for washing and bathing. 

 

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Got hardwoods? Trade launches promo campaign

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Unified Hardwood Promotion (UHP), a newly formed coalition of hardwood industry executives, has launched a campaign to create awareness and promote the use of American hardwoods for home and building products. 

“This unique effort combines the best practices of more than 20 hardwood trade associations and leading product manufacturers who have come together with the common goal of inspiring increased usage of American hardwoods in products from cabinetry to furniture to flooring,” said Terry Brennan of Baillie Lumber, chairman of the UHP.  

UHP leaders have contributed to the program through hands-on involvement in consumer research and brand development, as well as support through financial contributions. Trade associations involved in the campaign include Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc., Hardwood Distributors Association, Hardwood Manufacturers Association, Hardwood Council, Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association, National Hardwood Lumber Association, National Wood Flooring Association, Penn York Lumberman’s Club and Wood Component Manufacturers Association. The American Hardwood Export Council will also help disseminate the new message throughout export markets. The Hardwood Federation is providing administrative functions for the UHP.  

According to consumer research provided by the UHP, more than 90 percent of consumers and pros like hardwood as a material for furniture, flooring, cabinets or building materials. More than 90 percent of survey respondents also agree that the strongest impressions of hardwoods relate to the durability and longevity of the material, and the ability to create a classic look that never goes out of style. Consumers 45 and under showed a marked preference for hardwoods.  

The tagline “Treasured for Generations,” has been coupled with a logo showing three American hardwood leaves, maple, oak and ash. A public relation firm has been hired to lead the research and branding effort. 

 

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Readers Respond: A home size discrepancy?

BY HBSDEALER Staff

While the National Association Home Builders recently reported home size is on the decline, a survey from John Burns Real Estate Consulting found more consumers expect to buy bigger houses (44%) than smaller houses (22%). Who’s right? Here’s what we heard. 

"Both can be right. More people want a larger house than want a smaller one, but there has been a shift toward wanting a smaller home.

“In the Home Improvement Research Institute monthly sentiment tracking study, we study the level of agreement with two statements on this subject. As you can see, the level of agreement with wanting a larger home is higher than that for a smaller home. But over the 3 years this has been tracked, we see the desire for a larger home going down and the reverse for a smaller home.

Mean agreement rating on a 9-point scale

 

Feb. 2008  

Jan. 2011  

Percent Change

At this time, I would rather have a larger home  

4.29

4.13

-4%  

At this time, I would rather have a smaller home  

3.26

3.52

8%  

 

“And while consumers more strongly state that they want a larger house than want a smaller house, the gap is shrinking. In February 2008, the agreement rating was 32% points higher for a larger house. In January 2011, the difference was down to 17%.

“Based on this data, one would expect the mix of homes shifting somewhat smaller.”
— Fred Miller
Managing director
Home Improvement Research Institute

 

"The size of the home being built is directly correlated to the market it is being built in. Factors such as unemployment, income levels and age of the population all factor in. How we establish some sort of trend really seems to depend on the market you live in."
— Paul Gabbard

 

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