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March 5, 2012

Cologne, Germany -- From the International Hardware Fair in Cologne, Germany, a torque wrench, a cutting plier and triple-blade cutting tool earned innovation awards.

Koelnmesse, organizer of the 2012 International Hardware Fair, and the Central Hardware Trade Association (ZHH) jointly awarded the “EISEN 2012” innovation prize for the top tool products, industrial supplies, fastening and connection systems and fittings.

The winners are:

February 27, 2012

A new study of the impact of rising gasoline prices on consumer spending shows that gasoline prices of $4.25 per gallon could cut estimated 2012 retail sales growth from its current 5.7% pace to an anemic 2.3%. 

February 23, 2012

Jacuzzi Group Worldwide, a manufacturer of bath and spa products, announced that it has expanded its product portfolio to include a new collection of energy-efficient tankless water heaters, which will be available exclusively at select Lowe’s stores and Lowes.com. 

Powered by natural gas or propane, Jacuzzi tankless units heat water as it is needed. They use up to 30% less energy than a traditional tank-style water heater.

February 6, 2012

California retailer Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. entered into a multi-year distribution agreement with high-end paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore & Co.

Under the agreement, Benjamin Moore will become Orchard's supplier of interior and exterior paint coatings. The rollout to Orchard's 87-store chain is expected to begin in March and be completed by August 2012.

January 23, 2012

Acuity Brands expanded its LED indoor ambient lighting portfolio with the launch of the Z Series LED striplight by Lithonia Lighting.

The Z Series luminaires are compact, low-profile solid-state strips that deliver long maintenance-free performance in a wide range of retrofit and new construction applications, including uplight and downlight in commercial, retail, manufacturing, warehouse, cove and display. The Z Series luminaires join the portfolio of versatile Lithonia Lighting LED indoor ambient lighting products. 

January 9, 2012

Fountain Valley, Calif.-based Noritz expanded its ecoTough Series of gas-fired residential condensing tankless water heaters with the new NRC83.

The Energy Star-rated unit is designed for smaller homes and multi-family dwellings. Available in both indoor (the two-pipe, direct vent NRC83-DV) and outdoor (NRC83-OD) models, the new wall-mounted units have an energy factor (EF) of 0.92 for natural gas and 0.94 with liquid propane -- approximately 30 points higher than a standard, storage tank-type, gas-fired water heater.

January 6, 2012

A triumph for the “light bulb freedom” movement, which opposed the phaseout of traditional incandescent bulbs starting Jan. 1, 2012, may turn out to be a hollow victory. Supporters had hoped to delay the implementation of the new energy-efficient light bulb standards with a rider on the 2012 Omnibus funding bill. Congress passed the bill right before Christmas, along with the light bulb rider, which bars the Department of Energy (DOE) from enforcing the planned phaseout of 100-watt energy-inefficient incandescent bulbs.

December 19, 2011

The budget bill drawn up to avert a federal shutdown includes a provision that will delay enforcement of the new energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs. The rider related to the FY 2012 Omnibus funding bill does not repeal or change the standards, however. Instead, it imposes funding limitations on the Department of Energy (DOE) to enforce the light bulb standards for FY 2012.

December 15, 2011

West Chester, Pa.-based Air King added the do-it-yourself, snap-in BFQ80 exhaust fan to its line of ventilation fans. 

The BFQ80 is an 80 CFM, 2.0 sone exhaust fan offering an Energy Star-qualified solution for residential ventilation needs, the company said.

“What makes the BFQ Series unique is the simple, one-person installation system,” said Jeff Kenkelen, president, Air King. “Most ‘traditional’ fans utilize either a hanger bar or mounting tab system, while the BFQ is installed using a convenient mounting bracket.”

December 13, 2011

Floor care products make perfectly acceptable holiday gifts, according to research just released by The NPD Group. In its consumer tracking study, conducted between November 2010 and October 2011, the market research firm discovered that 6% of all floor care appliances -- the majority of them vacuums -- were purchased as a gift for someone else. And in half of the purchases, the item was intended as a Christmas or Hanukkah gift.

December 9, 2011

Lowe’s has added two new brands to its bulb assortment, one a new manufacturer in the LED residential market and the other utilizing a new lighting technology.

Samsung Electronics will release its first LED lighting solutions for the U.S. consumer market through Lowes.com and at select Lowe's home improvement retail stores nationwide. The bulbs include A19, PAR20/30/38 and MR16 bulbs -- all designed to replace traditional incandescent, halogen and CFL bulbs throughout the home.

December 5, 2011

Tax credits for energy efficiency home improvements like insulation, replacement windows, and upgraded HVAC systems will end on Dec. 31, and Congress has not yet renewed them for 2012.

This warning from the Alliance to Save Energy gives homeowners less than a month to take advantage of as much as $500 in tax credits on their 2011 federal tax returns.

November 15, 2011

The demand for paint and coatings in the United States is expected to rise 7.8% annually through 2015, according to a study by The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based market research firm. The market is expected to expand strongly in both volume and value terms, rebounding from the declines of the recession-impacted 2005 to 2010 period.

November 13, 2011

PPG Industries, one of the leading manufacturers of paint and architectural coatings, has released a line of zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint for the commercial market. Speedhide, an existing line, will now offer Speedhide zero interior paint as a one-stop solution for contractors, building owners and facility managers looking for durability, affordability and long-lasting performance, according to the company.

November 10, 2011

Bradford, Pa.-based W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. launched its Tec X collection, described as a brand extension with an emphasis on modern design.

The 28 individual models in the collection include features such as one-handed opening and closing, pocket clips, anodized aluminum handles, AUS8 blades and titanium coatings.

November 9, 2011

Columbus, Ohio-based Dorcy, the flashlight leader, introduced the Dorcy Metal Gear XLM (extreme lumen) LED aluminum flashlight.  Producing 618 lumens from a single LED chip, the new high-performance flashlight provides a beam distance of up to 1,100 ft.

November 7, 2011

As founder of the home channel’s leading Internet retailer of power tools, Don Cohen of ToolKing.com has as good a perspective as any on the trends shaping the power tools market.

His observation: “Faster, smaller, cheaper, better — that’s where products are going,” Cohen said. “There are more technology-enhanced products that are better looking, and better working, than ever before.”

October 12, 2011

Osram Sylvania released new LED bulbs at Menards stores on Oct. 11, according to an announcement from the Danvers, Mass., manufacturer. Part of the “Ultra LED” A line, the omnidirectional bulbs are available in two wattages. The 8W is equivalent to the 40W incandescent, and the 13.5W is equivalent to the 60W incandescent. The Ultra LED BR 30 and BR 40 are replacements for the equivalent 65W incandescent models.

October 3, 2011

Melville, N.Y.-based Leviton Manufacturing has acquired Obvius, a provider of solutions to collect energy information.

According to Leviton, the Obvius acquisition allows the company to offer the most complete line of lighting and energy management solutions. A complementary strategic addition to Leviton’s current line, Leviton now offers solutions to meet all measurement and verification-based opportunities, such as smart metering, energy data information, load management and LEED rating achievement.

September 22, 2011

Ashland City, Tenn.-based A. O. Smith launched a new line of XP Boilers and XP Automatic Circulating Water Heaters for large-volume commercial applications. Designed for versatility and energy savings, these units bring together touchscreen simplicity and high-efficiency operation and reliability, according to the manufacturer.

September 22, 2011

The Lowe's brand Kobalt announced the addition of 18-volt and corded power tools to its line. 

The new line of cordless tools also ensure that power will never be a problem for users, as all Kobalt 18V tools are compatible with both Kobalt lithium-ion, as well as nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries.

September 7, 2011

The "Consumer watch" section of the Dashboard shows gas prices rose a nickel last week, the unemployment rate was unchanged, and consumer confidence is plummeting.

August 24, 2011

DeWalt has launched its new Line Laser, which features multiple design enhancements to improve productivity on the jobsite. 

The DW089K is for professionals tasked with residential and commercial applications, such as installing cabinets, drop ceilings, chair rails or doors and windows. The Line Laser can also be used when installing floor and wall tile or mapping wall layout.

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