The 12 Months of Homebuilding by CertainTeed

140ja0hIn the first month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a piece of land overlooking a scenic ravine.

In the second month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, an awesome set of architect house plan drawings.

In the third month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a Form-A-Drain™ 3-in-1 Foundation footing system for drainage ease.

In the fourth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a high quality, two-story wood framed home built to please.

In the fifth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, CertaWrap™ weather-resistant barrier and Cedar Impressions® Polymer Shake Siding in ivy green.

In the sixth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, thermally efficient Optima® blown-in wall insulation and Air Renew™ drywall to rid me of those VOCs.

In the seventh month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, Ecophon® Focus Ds acoustic ceiling tiles for my media room and a 70-inch big screen TV.

In the eighth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a well-insulated attic filled with InsuSafe® SP.

In the ninth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a roof featuring Landmark Solaris™ solar reflective shingles complemented with Apollo Solar Roofing® to make my own energy;

In the 10th month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, an EverNew® LT Deck and a yard surrounded by a Chesterfield Vinyl Fence for privacy.

In the 11th month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me;  Restoration Millwork Trim® to finish our dream; an EverNew LT Deck and a yard surrounded by a Chesterfield Vinyl Fencefor privacy; a roof featuring Landmark Solaris solar reflective shingles and complemented with Apollo Solar Roofing to make my own energy; a well-insulated attic filled with InsuSafe SP; Ecophon Focus D acoustic ceiling tiles for my media room and a 70-inch big screen TV; thermally efficient Optima blown-in wall insulation and Air Renew drywall to rid me of those VOC’s; CertaWrap weather-resistant barrier and Cedar Impressions Polymer Shake Siding in ivy green; a high quality, two-story wood framed home built to please; a Form-A-Drain 3-in-1 Foundation footing system for drainage ease; an awesome set of architect house plan drawings; and a piece of land overlooking a scenic ravine.

In the 12th month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me:  the keys to a brand new dream home built with CertainTeed….

 Happy Holidays from all of your friends at CertainTeed!

 

 

 

The NAHB International Builders’ Show – A Constant in a Changing Landscape

Mike Loughery

Mike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications for CertainTeed Corporation

Here we are once again, heading to the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida.  In the days of the housing boom, you could get a feel for the attendance and enthusiasm by how packed the plane was and the fact that it was filled with builders and contractors.

The past few years have been tough though.  Attendance, which once peaked in the low one-hundred thousands, was a mere shadow of itself a year ago with about 47,000 walking through the turnstiles. 

What will this year hold?  Well, I’m sitting on the plane.  It’s packed and a good number of the folks seem to be in the building trades (albeit for the few families headed you know where!).  Enthusiasm?  Well, not sure yet on that one.  But I know that tomorrow I will enter the hall, see all the displays, and hear the buzz of business taking place.  There is nothing as gratifying as spending four days talking with the trades about the latest products and innovations in the marketplace. 

The temptation for some might be to shrink away and not exhibit.  However, we all have businesses to run and CertainTeed representatives find talking to an engaged audience, whether it’s 50,000 or 100,000 an excellent opportunity to showcase some of the industry’s most innovative new products.  Products that improve indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, comfort and aesthetics will be showcased as well as our team of building scientists will be available at booth W4051 to answer your most challenging questions.

Feel like swinging a hammer or learning from our experts?  We have product installation demos going on outside in P3, showcasing blowing and spray foam insulation, decking, siding and solar roofing

Can’t make it to the show this year?  Well, you can still be part of the action through a special webpage dedicated to the IBS show which will have a live Twitter feed that you can follow.  You may want to bookmark www.certainteed.com/ibs  so you can refer to it over the next few days.

If you’re in Orlando this week, stop by and say hi.  Let us know how things are going for you in your market.

The 12 Months of Homebuilding by CertainTeed

Mike Loughery

Mike Loughery

Mike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications for CertainTeed Corporation

In the first month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a piece of land overlooking a scenic ravine.

In the second month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, an awesome set of architect house plan drawings.

In the third month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a Form-A-Drain™ 3-in-1 Foundation footing system for drainage ease.

In the fourth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a high quality, two-story wood framed home built to please.

In the fifth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, CertaWrap™ weather-resistant barrier and Cedar Impressions® Polymer Shake Siding in ivy green.

In the sixth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, thermally efficient Optima® blown-in wall insulation and Air Renew™ drywall to rid me of those VOCs.

In the seventh month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, Ecophon® Focus Ds acoustic ceiling tiles for my media room and a 70-inch big screen TV.

In the eighth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a well-insulated attic filled with InsuSafe® SP.

In the ninth month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, a roof featuring Landmark Solaris™ solar reflective shingles complemented with Apollo Solar Roofing® to make my own energy;

In the 10th month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me, an EverNew® LT Deck and a yard surrounded by a Chesterfield Vinyl Fence for privacy.

In the 11th month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me;  Restoration Millwork Trim® to finish our dream; an EverNew LT Deck and a yard surrounded by a Chesterfield Vinyl Fencefor privacy; a roof featuring Landmark Solaris solar reflective shingles and complemented with Apollo Solar Roofing to make my own energy; a well-insulated attic filled with InsuSafe SP; Ecophon Focus D acoustic ceiling tiles for my media room and a 70-inch big screen TV; thermally efficient Optima blown-in wall insulation and Air Renew drywall to rid me of those VOC’s; CertaWrap weather-resistant barrier and Cedar Impressions Polymer Shake Siding in ivy green; a high quality, two-story wood framed home built to please; a Form-A-Drain 3-in-1 Foundation footing system for drainage ease; an awesome set of architect house plan drawings; and a piece of land overlooking a scenic ravine.

In the 12th month of homebuilding, my true love gave to me:  the keys to a brand new dream home built with CertainTeed….

Happy Holidays from all of your friends at CertainTeed!

Driving the Digital Revolution is Sustainable

Have you ever been on a jobsite and realized that installation documentation is missing?  If you have access to a computer and WiFi, you can go to the Internet and hopefully find the documents. If not, you may be out of luck – unless you have a smartphone!

The next wave of technology for the building industry includes Quick Response (QR) mobile apps.  These barcodes will help architects, contractors, distributors and consumers get quick, easy and paperless access to websites, products and technical information via their phones.

CertainTeed created a QR reader for Blackberry, iPhone and Droid smartphones that can be downloaded onto the phone from the apps store for each of these Smartphones.  All you need to do is point your phone camera to the 2-D QR barcode, scan the code and you will be connected to CertainTeed information that code refers to, such as technical documentation or product sheets. If you have one of these phones you can download the CertainTeed QR reader by going to your app store or going to certainteed.com/qr.  Simply download and zap the QR code on this page to learn more about CertainTeed.

This technology is being used in many places including retailers, airports and even non-profit organizations as a way to make donations to your favorite cause.

The best part about QR codes is that the technology helps to cut down on the use of printed material while providing the viewer with a much richer experience when accessing company information.   As a company committed to innovation and sustainability, this is another notch in our environmental responsibility tool belt!

We introduced our QR code at the GreenBuild Conference and Expo in November and the response was great.  Visitors to our booth could download our CertainTeed QR reader and zap a code to register for an iPad.  They were also able to zap codes to view videos of our newest innovative products and go to our website.

Once we started looking at this technology, we discovered that the possibilities for its use are endless, so stay tuned to see how we utilize QR codes in 2011.   We’re seeing them in really cool places like Best Buy.  Do you think they have a practical application in the building industry?  What are your favorite apps?   

Mike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.

Declare Your Energy Independence

Oil is seen inside protective booms around Queen Bess Island off the coast of Louisiana Monday, June 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

No one is immune from the images and newsfeeds regarding the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.  From all indications, it will be a long time before we recover from the effects that this event has and will have on wildlife, the economy in the Gulf region, the health and beauty of our southern coastal regions and, ultimately, the cost of oil.

So maybe now is a good time to Declare Your Energy Independence. Our dependence on oil could be curtailed if we could find affordable alternative sources of energy. The U.S. is a very large consumer of energy that is affordable unlike many other parts of the world. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate and re-commit to embracing sustainable, energy efficient practices.  There are several ways to begin to reduce your carbon footprint both in buildings you occupy and in your personal habits:

  • Support research and development of alternative energy sources such as wind or solar technology to lower our dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Conduct an energy audit of your home to determine where energy leakages occur. EnergyStar.gov offers useful information on how to conduct your own audit or locate a professional.
  • Take advantage of the Energy Tax Credit of $1,500 which is available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by improving insulation in attics and walls or reroofing with solar reflective or photovoltaic roofing products to the home.  The tax credit is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.
  • Show support for the Home Star legislation which provides rebates on energy efficient products and subsidizes audits. The proposed bill referred to as “Cash for Caulkers” includes 13 types of energy efficient retrofits that could be eligible for funding.
  • Walk or ride a bike instead of driving when possible.  Change to LED light bulbs. Dry your clothes outside instead of in a dryer.  Unplug charges and appliances when not in use. Consider adding insulation in your home to increase energy efficiency and reduce your energy costs.

On July 4, 2010 declare you energy independence and share with us your ideas for reducing your carbon footprint.

Mike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.

To Tweet or not to Tweet – The Brave New World of Social Media

It’s everywhere—on the news, on your favorite websites, on your cell phones—social media platforms that provide instant access to your fans, friends, and favorites.  But, does Social Media have a practical application in business? 

A year ago we began talking about social media at CertainTeed.  Back then we didn’t know a tweet from a twit, Facebook from Digg, or a Wiki from an RSS.  We “dipped our toes” in the water and decided to give it a try. 

What we’ve learned is that there is no rulebook for businesses that want to get involved.  Just sign up and start listening to the conversations.  The key here is that social media are not meant to replace traditional forms of communicating.  They are just new ways; alternative ways—and we as businesses need to understand that our customers, whether they be consumers or the trades, are participating.  How involved they are is still the question, but the fact is, engagement is growing.

People are tired of being blitzed with unsolicited email blasts and spam emails.  Social media allow people to communicate on their own terms in groups and communities of friends that “allow” you to join in.  It is our job to “listen”—to find out who is talking and what they’re talking about.  Then we can engage as long as we are honest as to who we are.  You’ll find that your customers or clients will appreciate your honest interest and engagement.

Today, we write our Building Knowledge blog, then Tweet the blog on Twitter, which then feeds our Facebook wall, which is sent to our fans out in the Social Media world.  Then we monitor it all on Tweetdeck. Sure, there’s a whole new lingo, which makes this fun.   And we approach it that way.  It allows the personality of our company’s employees to come out, engage, and be “real’ with customers and the customers are enjoying it too!

We’re still feeling our way along, and we’re having a blast doing it.  We’re writing the rules as we go. 

I’d love to hear what you’re doing.  How is your company engaging?

Mike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.

Builders Reach from the Heart Even in Tough Economic Times

John McClintick (left), event coordinator with Peter Dachowski, president and CEO, CertainTeed Corp. at Builders' Competition

John McClintick (left), event coordinator with Peter Dachowski, president and CEO, CertainTeed Corp. at Builders' Competition

If I could go retro on you for a moment—about 10 years ago I got a call asking for a donation of building products to a Habitat for Humanity Easter Build in Georgia.  “No problem,” I said.  CertainTeed has always given to Habitat and is a firm believer in its goal of building affordable housing for people.

Not long after I get a call from this very nice woman who identifies herself as the secretary for former President Jimmy Carter, who by the way has been a major supporter of Habitat for decades.  She was confirming our donation.  The next thing I know, she asks me to hold for the President!  After about 10 seconds of shock, I stumbled to myself as to what to call him.  After all, it’s not everyday you get to talk to a former US president! 

The bottom line is, (by the way, I referred to him as Mr. President), an event I attended this week benefitting Habitat, reminded me of my brief encounter with the “peanut farmer from Plains.”  But, it also struck me, that despite these grueling economic times, there are still people out there, builders as a matter of fact, who are helping the less fortunate.

Case in point:  fast forward to present day in a small suburb of Philadelphia where a wonderful event took place.  The 4th annual Builders’ Competition brought together builders from across the region to see who could build a framing package for a 1200-square-foot home in the shortest time. 

Nine teams of 10-12 artisans, professionals and weekend warriors participated in this two-day event.  John McClintick, a painter by trade, started this event in 2006 at the height of the building boom with five teams.  But, this year, in a down economy, he nearly doubled the team participation for the event.  Why?  “This competition allows these contractors to showcase their skills in service to a great cause,” said McClintick. “Unlike other competitions this one appeals to human nature, being of service to others, with the fruits of their labor being nine framing packages that will benefit Habitat for Humanity families in Delaware and Pennsylvania.” 

Unbelievable!  In a time when housing starts have dropped from over two million a few years ago, to barely 500,000 last year, these men and women gave their time, gratis, to help less fortunate families.

It doesn’t end there. Most of the teams volunteer to complete the build-outs of the homes they have framed even if it means traveling to Delaware or New Jersey from as far away as Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The winning team receives the Devon Builders’ Cup to keep until the next competition as a reminder of the outstanding service they have provided.  But the biggest reward is sharing their skills for the benefit of others whom they may never meet but who will benefit greatly from their labor. That is inspiring.

Since its inception, the Builders’ Competition has participated in the construction of 15 homes (and soon another nine), eight of which were sent to Habitat for Humanity Baton Rouge on the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast.

CertainTeed salutes John McClintick and all the teams for their efforts.

Mike Loughery by-lineMike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.

No Gambling In Las Vegas with Solar Roofing

Energen Display at International Builders' Show

Energen Display at International Builders' Show

Heading out to Las Vegas recently  for the International Builders’  Show (IBS), I was struck by a sense of excitement in the air.  Nothing scientific, nothing concrete, I could just feel the mood of the travelers was a bit lighter, the airport was a bit more crowded and the hotel was definitely busier than this time last year.
Thankfully, the dreary weather we experienced during our week there was not indicative of the mood of the builders who attended. 

 

When you look at the numbers, you wouldn’t necessarily think things were looking up.  Attendance was down from last year, from 60,000 a year ago to 55,000.  The number of exhibitors was down about 30 percent also.  However, our leads were up 30 percent over last year and were just shy of the number we hit in 2007. 

I have a couple of theories about why.  The NAHB made an excellent decision to shut down one of the exhibit halls and condensing the 1,100 exhibitors into two halls.  This made the traffic much denser.  However, while density gives you volume through the aisles, it doesn’t necessarily translate into leads. 

So what was it?  Solar.  It may have been raining and cold outside, but the interest and “energy” around solar and photovoltaics was definitely there.  Now, the fact that we introduced our new Energen Photovoltaic Roofing product (available this spring) at the show may have helped substantially in our lead count, however, you could see immense interest in this area.  We weren’t the only ones talking about it, but it was obvious that the crowds were drawn to what is becoming more and more of a hot-button topic in the green/sustainable movement.

It’s nice to see that manufacturers (ourselves included) aren’t shrinking and running for cover during the downturn.  When sales are down, innovate and ready yourself for the upturn; that seems to be what some in the industry are doing! 

Energy efficiency is the name of the game these days.  Look at our friends at Hearthstone Homes in Omaha, Nebraska who are focused on energy efficient home construction .  They’re doing innovative work like using 2 x 6 framing and guaranteeing energy bills to their buyers…or they pay the difference!  Builders like Hearthstone are getting serious about not only building quality, but adding real, tangible value to the homes.  We’re excited to be entering the solar frontier and proud to partner with folks like Hearthstone.

The industry’s heating up and in the end, the homeowner wins.

Mike Loughery by-lineMike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.

The President has this one right!…Insulation is Sexy!

Opine all you want about whether you like or dislike what the President says these days.  But, we can’t argue with his latest command….Insulation is Sexy!

We couldn’t agree more.

As the President touts new initiatives to boost incentives for homeowners to make energy efficient home improvements, let us not forget that making a home or building more energy efficient by adding insulation, insulated siding, or reflective roofing, is one of the most green and sustainable things you can do these days.  Whether you’re designing a structure, building it, or buying it, there’s nothing more green/sustainable than saving money (green) and reducing reliance on heating and cooling.  Plus with the Federal Energy Tax Credits, the government is making this effort simpler and more accessible to millions of Americans.

Take insulation for example.  adding insulation is easy, inexpensive, and highly effective.  Leading sustainability expert Tad Radzinski and CertainTeed’s Aman Desouza make this clear on an appearance this week in Philadelphia on KYW Channel 3’s Talk Philly. Keeping the green discussion simple, easy and legitimate makes it that much more relevant and real for people these days.

Also on the energy front, at the upcoming January 2010 International Builder Show in Las Vegas, CertainTeed is offering a “sneak peak” of several major green, energy efficient innovations we’ll be launching next year.  Join us in booth C2026.

Also, on Tuesday, January 19 from 12:30-1:30, Tom Silva from This Old House joins us. Come on by, meet Tom, ask a question and get an autograph. Hope to see you there!

The Competition Between Man and Machine

Mike Loughery

Mike Loughery

Do you ever follow one of those folks that drive a Prius and wonder why they’re going so slow?  I never did until last week.  CertainTeed was fortunate to co-sponsor a luncheon event at the Greenbuild Convention and Expo with Gerding Edlen Development , a leading developer of sustainable investment properties from Portland, Oregon.  Dennis Wilde was our featured guest and speaker and he gave an interesting and very thought provoking presentation on how his firm is working on retrofitting existing building stock to dramatically improve energy and water consumption.

During the conversation he started talking about the Toyota Prius and asked us if we ever wondered why drivers of these very innovative cars drive slow?  “Because it’s a competition between man and machine,” quipped Wilde.  What, you say?  The Prius, for those of you not familiar with it, has the ability to instantaneously give you your current mileage rating based on your speed.  The slower you go, the better the mileage, the faster you go, the worse, etc.

His point was, if we were all able to, in real time, monitor our energy consumption, we may be a lot more diligent about conserving.  It’s true. Some of us really make efforts, like turning lights off when not in use, unplugging appliances, etc.  But, how much do we really save?  We’re never quite sure except our heart quivers with excitement if we see a lower energy bill.

Here’s a nifty trick.  We presented Dennis with a Kill-A -Watt as a modest token of our appreciation for supporting our event.  What’s great about this device is that you plug your, say, computer into it, and then plug the Kill-A-Watt into the wall.  With the computer on, it tells you how much energy that computer will cost you that month.  Now, turn the computer off and leave it plugged in.  The Kill-A-Watt will now tell you how much energy you’re consuming with the device off, but still plugged in.  AHA!  Now you have a real-time way of calculating savings. 

This seems so simple, but the lesson is bold and telling.  We now all have an easy way of monitoring our energy usage and subsequently reducing it through a simple, inexpensive tool.

Many thanks to Dennis and the folks at Gerding Edlen for an outstanding presentation and a real treat for CertainTeed and our customers.

Mike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.