Energy Tax Breaks Extended

Provisions that extend several expiring energy tax incentives in the Internal Revenue Code, including those for existing homes (Section 25C), new home construction (Section 45L) and commercial buildings and larger multifamily properties (Section 179D) were part of the financial rescue package approved by Congress in October.

The Section 25C credit will provide immediate help with reducing utility bills while addressing one of the most significant contributors to energy inefficiency — existing homes, says the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which lobbied for the provisions.

Taxpayers can use the incentive, for example, to purchase high-efficiency windows or heating and cooling appliances, or make other home renovations that can save hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs, according to the NAHB.

The tax credit for existing homes, which expired on Dec. 31, 2007, will be reinstated for installations made in calendar year 2009. The credit was not extended for installations in 2008.

Windows

Kolbe Acquires Point Five

Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co., Inc. of Wausau, Wis., has acquired Point Five Windows, Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo., a manufacturer of custom wood windows and doors for residential estates and light commercial projects. Point Five Windows primarily works with architects and builders of custom homes, many of which are more than 25,000 sq. ft.

Outdoor Living

Deck and Lighting Joint Venture

Two outdoor living companies — Archadeck and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives (OLP) — have joined forces, creating a new company that “will pursue global expansion in the outdoor products and services category through multiple independent franchise brands,” according to a release issued by Outdoor Living Brands, the new corporate umbrella brand.

Franchise owners of Archadeck, a designer-builder of decks, porches and outdoor living spaces, and OLP, a provider of residential outdoor lighting systems, will continue to operate under their existing brand names.

Founded in 1980, Archadeck has approximately 75 offices in the United States and Canada that have completed more than 70,000 custom projects. Outdoor Lighting Perspectives (OLP) is a provider of residential outdoor lighting systems, including lighting design, installation and maintenance. It operates through 80 independent franchises around the world.

Trim Products

Trex Partners with U.S. Lumber

Trex Company announced a strategic partnership with U.S. Lumber Group, a distributor of building materials headquartered in Atlanta. U.S. Lumber Group will serve as a full-line stocking distributor of new TrexTrim, a low-maintenance trim product.

U.S. Lumber Group will stock TrexTrim at each of its seven distribution centers serving 14 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.

Solar Roofing

Technologies Combine

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD), a manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminates, and CertainTeed Corp., a building products manufacturer, announced a joint agreement to develop roofing-integrated photovoltaic products for the residential market, combining ECD’s UNI-SOLAR cells with CertainTeed roofing products. The companies expect these new products to be commercially available in 2010.

Plant Closing

Original Merillat Plant to Close

The Masco Builder Cabinet Group (MBCG), manufacturer of Merillat and Quality Cabinets, is consolidating manufacturing operations and will close its Adrian, Mich., plant in the second quarter of 2009. The MBCG corporate office will remain in its current location in Adrian.

Opened in 1953, the Adrian factory currently has 330 employees.

Countertops

Homeowners Prefer Granite

A national survey finds United States consumers prefer granite countertops and believe they increase the resale value of a home.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Marble Institute of America. At 55 percent, “granite countertops” was by the most popular response, followed by synthetic stone at 12 percent.

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