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WDMA points to concerns over Energy Star Version 6.0

BY Ken Clark

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked for comments. The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) has several.

In response to an action by the EPA seeking additional comments on proposed draft Energy Star Version 6.0 criteria for skylights, WDMA is calling on the agency to address additional concerns the industry has about the skylight criteria, the proposed window and door criteria and the overall direction of the Energy Star program.

"Yesterday’s action by EPA proposing some changes to the skylight criteria is a good first step toward addressing our concerns about product feasibility, availability and cost effectiveness for consumers, but we are still disappointed EPA has not addressed them fully, nor has it provided an explanation why," said WDMA president Michael O’Brien.  "It is also still uncertain how EPA will respond to the same concerns raised by WDMA for proposed window and door specifications currently under consideration by the Agency."

WDMA, which has been actively engaging EPA on the revision of Energy Star criteria for windows, doors and skylights, believes the latest revisions make the qualification criteria for skylights more reasonable for much of the country, but that they still fall short and should be improved further.

In a letter sent yesterday by EPA to Energy Star stakeholders announcing the latest revisions to the skylight criteria, the Agency stated the intent of the revisions is to ensure tubular daylighting devices (TDD’s) and more double pane skylights will be able to qualify for the Northern climate zone, and to address concerns over the feasibility and affordability of Energy Star-qualified skylight products in other parts of the country as well.

However, while the latest revisions are significant improvements in the skylight U-factor criteria for the Energy Star Northern climate zone and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) in the Northern, North-Central and Southern climate zones, they still fall short of fully responding to industry concerns on the whole for skylights with respect to product feasibility, availability and cost effectiveness.

"WDMA has voiced significant concerns with proposed Energy Star Version 6.0 criteria since it was first proposed by EPA last year.  The proposed criteria also underscores broader concerns WDMA has with the direction the program appears to be headed in general," said O’Brien.  "It appears EPA is more concerned about market share of Energy Star products rather than recognizing efficient products that are most affordable and cost effective for consumers."    

WDMA maintains that the proposed Version 6.0 criteria, which is based largely on a market share approach, is counter to EPA’s guiding principles for the Energy Star program and resulting in proposed criteria that is less feasible for manufacturers to meet and less affordable and cost effective for consumers.

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Stanley completes Infastech acquisition

BY Ken Clark

Stanley Black & Decker said it successfully completed its acquisition of Infastech, a global manufacturer and distributor of specialty engineered fastening technologies.

Stanley paid $850 million in cash for the Hong Kong-based company. The transaction was originally announced on July 2, 2012. 

Infastech’s annual revenues are about $580 million. 

More than half of Infastech’s 2012 revenues were generated in the Asia-Pacific region and once combined with Stanley Engineered Fastening, the enlarged business will generate close to 40% of its revenues from this region, the company said.

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New-home sales jump 15.6%

BY Ken Clark

Sales of new single-family houses in January 2013 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000, up 15.6% from the December rate.

The new-home sales figure, released jointly Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is the highest since July 2008, when new sales were at a pace of 477,000. 

The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2013 was $226,400, according to the government report. The average sales price was $286,300. 

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 150,000. This represents a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate.

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