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Johns Manville Receives Award from Home Safety Council

Johns Manville Formaldehyde-free™ Fiber Glass Building Insulation Receives Prestigious Home Safety Council Commendation Award

Denver, June 9, 2006 – Johns Manville (JM) today announced that its complete line of Formaldehyde-free™ fiber glass building insulation received the Home Safety Council (HSC) Commendation Award for Product Innovation for Consumer Safety at the HSC’s Salute to Home Safety Awards Dinner on June 8, 2006 in Washington, D.C. The award is given to manufacturers for their contribution in helping consumers maintain a safe home environment by reducing home injury risks through innovative product design and development.

To view a video highlighting JM’s commitment to home safety go to: www.jm-builder.com.

A diverse and independent technical advisory committee comprised of national leaders from the areas of public health, fire and life safety, and injury prevention reviewed Johns Manville’s nomination for its complete line of Formaldehyde-free fiber glass building insulation. The committee selected Formaldehyde-free fiber glass building insulation to acknowledge JM’s efforts to develop safer products with a proactive consumer safety program that is the industry model for others to follow.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the Home Safety Council,” said Tim Carey, JM’s senior manager of environmental and stewardship programs. “We are dedicated to our customers’ health, safety and well-being and removed formaldehyde from our products in response to growing concerns about indoor air quality. Indoor air quality is particularly important today as homes are being built tighter to achieve greater energy efficiency. Insulation plays a major role in making homes more energy efficient and consumers should be given the choice to select insulation that has no detectable formaldehyde emissions.”

Sensitive to the need to create environmentally-responsible building products, Johns Manville revolutionized the fiber glass insulation industry when it introduced a complete line of formaldehyde-free fiber glass building insulation products in 2002. Of the two million homes built annually, 90 percent contain fiber glass insulation making fiber glass the most commonly used insulation in residential construction. Today, Johns Manville is still the only fiber glass insulation manufacturer to offer a complete line of formaldehyde-free fiber glass insulation. Since doing so, several public health and environmental bodies have made important decisions, classifications and recommendations related to formaldehyde:

  • International Agency for Research on Cancer: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) organized a working group of distinguished medical doctors, toxicologists and other experts who reviewed the most recent science, including new studies from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health showing a link between formaldehyde exposure and cancer. After the Johns Manville HSC Award review, IARC changed the cancer hazard classification of formaldehyde from Group 2A probable carcinogen to Group 1 known human carcinogen in June 2004.
  • California Air Resources Board: IARC’s action is one reason why the California Air Resources Board (CARB), a division of the California Environmental Protection Agency, now recommends that homeowners, builders and architects use formaldehyde-free building materials when building a home or remodeling. In its July 2005 report “Indoor Air Pollution in California” CARB states that “children’s physiology and developing lungs and bodies makes them more susceptible to chemicals that affect development and lung function.” In 1992, CARB designated formaldehyde as a toxic air contaminant, based on its potential to cause cancer and other adverse health effects.
  • Mayo Clinic: In March 2006, the Mayo Clinic identified formaldehyde as a top ten allergen causing dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition marked by swelling, redness and itchiness.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: In 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency submitted comments to the U.S. Green Building Council in which the U.S. EPA recommended limiting the amount of formaldehyde exposure as much as possible.
  • Environment Canada: In April 2005, Environment Canada’s Environmental Choice Program announced that to be authorized to carry the Environmental Choice Program’s EcoLogo, fiber glass insulation materials can not be formulated or manufactured with formaldehyde containing binders. “Manufacturers are a valuable partner in the Home Safety Council’s ongoing efforts to create safer American homes,” said Home Safety Council president Meri-K Appy. “We applaud Johns Manville’s efforts and are honored to present them with this award.”

All JM insulation undergoes rigorous testing at the Johns Manville Technical Center to ensure products perform properly and are safe for installation in homes. JM’s line of Formaldehyde-free building insulation includes products such as the Spider™ Custom Insulation System, MR™Faced Batts, ComfortTherm®, EasyFit® and ClimatePro®. While converting to formaldehyde-free, JM’s product line has also maintained its industry-leading post-consumer recycled glass content of 20 percent.

JM’s Formaldehyde-free building insulation product line has been widely recognized throughout the industry. The product line has been listed as a "Most Valuable Product" in Building Products magazine, named one of the "Top 10 Green Building Products" in BuildingGreen, chosen as an Editors’ Pick by ProSales, and has twice received Architecture magazine’s ACE Award and Architectural Record’s Editor’s Choice. Since JM building insulation manufacturing plants no longer use formaldehyde as a binder or glue that holds insulation fibers together, the plants are no longer subject to hazardous air pollutant regulations under the Clean Air Act. In 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented JM with a letter of exemption.

The Home Safety Council® (HSC) is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to preventing home related injuries that result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average each year. Through national programs, partnerships and the support of volunteers, HSC educates people of all ages to be safer in and around their homes. The Home Safety Council is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization located in Washington, DC.

Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B), is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building and specialty products. In business since 1858, the Denver-based company has annual sales in excess of $2.5 billion and holds leadership positions in all of the key markets that it serves. Johns Manville employs approximately 8,500 people and operates 43 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China. Additional information can be found at www.jm.com.

Shut the Window on High Utility Costs

During the spring and summer, windows frame a picture perfect world filled with brilliantly blooming flowers and trees, children riding bikes and dogs running in the yard.

Unfortunately, windows can also increase utility bills. However, taking a few steps to improve the efficiency of your homes windows can make all the difference between spending money on high utility bills or taking a well-deserved family vacation.

Everyone knows that there's money to be saved by replacing old, drafty windows with new energy-efficient ones. However, window replacement, typically a professional job, may be more than your pocket book will allow for at the moment.

In the meantime, with a few simple steps and a trip to the local hardware store or home center, even a novice do-it-yourselfer can find it easy to reduce utility bills and increase home comfort.

Weather-stripping is an easy and inexpensive way to reduce drafts around windows. It can be applied to the window sash to decrease the amount of airflow leaking through the frame. Peel-and-stick or nail-on material is easy to install and can pay big dividends in energy savings.

Keep in mind that even weather-stripping has limitations. It works great on windows that open, but wont help improve the energy efficiency of fixed frame windows.

Closing blinds and curtains to block sunlight will reduce the amount of UV rays and heat that enters a home. Unfortunately, heat can still build up between windows and window coverings and radiate throughout a home. Plus, covered windows destroy your view and can make an otherwise cheery room feel dark and closed in.

Planting shrubs and trees around a home can help provide shade for a home as well as increase the privacy and beauty of a home. One or more strategically placed shade trees can significantly lower the temperature in your home, thus increasing personal comfort and lowering cooling costs.

Keep in mind that it may take several years to enjoy the full effect of this option while waiting for shrubbery and trees to mature.

Window film is an easy way to quickly reduce utility costs. It can be installed on single pane windows or as an upgrade to dual pane, insulated windows.

Window film consists of a micro-thin layer of polyester film with a coating specially designed to reflect up to 70 percent the summers heat.

Window film industry studies demonstrate that window film can save a homeowner an average of 47 percent off their current annual cooling costs based upon the type of windows in their home and geographic location. The savings are based on the ability of the film to reduce summer heat gain on windows, which average 40 percent of a homeowners monthly utility bill. Unlike days gone by, most of today's window films are virtually invisible, which allows for an unobstructed view.

Although window film can be installed professionally, leading manufacturers are producing do-it-yourself-friendly installation kits that contain precut material along with all the tools necessary for a successful installation. Installation time for an average size window is about 30 minutes and costs less than $30 or about 80 cents a square foot.

Besides blocking summer heat, window films provide up to 99 percent UV rejection to help reduce fading year-round. If your window coverings, flooring or furniture are showing signs of fading, window film may help be the answer.

Saving energy a cool idea in hot weather

Summer is a good time to save energy, not only because of the expense but because of summer's increased demand and risk of blackouts.

Saving energy doesn't have to be as painful as sunburn, nor does it have to cost much money or time. It has more to do with changing a few energy-wasting habits. And where costs are involved—such as having your cooling system checked annually by a professional—the expense can be offset by making your system more efficient and longer-lasting.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling use more energy and more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 44 percent of your utility bill is for heating and cooling. You can lower those costs by implementing some of the following tips:

  • Install a programmable thermostat. It can be set to vary the temperature of your home according to your schedule.

For example, you can set it so your home is cooler in the morning before you leave and in the evening when you return. Set the temperature higher for the hours in between, when no one is home. Many thermostats have multiple-day programs so you can change the setting for weekends, when your schedule is different.

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you're home and 85 degrees when you're out four hours or longer. Setting it lower will keep the cooling system running during the peak demand period and setting it much higher than 85 can cause the system to work too hard when it's asked to cool your home in the evening.
  • Increase your lighting efficiency. Lighting can affect energy bills not only by the energy it consumes but by producing heat—which requires increased cooling. According to the DOE, replacing 25 percent of incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones in high-use areas will save about 50 percent of your lighting energy costs.

Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last six to 10 times longer. Although fluorescent bulba are more expensive, they pay for themselves in energy savings. Look for the Energy Star label when buying these products. Motion detectors and dimmer switches can also help reduce utility bills, and both are inexpensive and easy to install.

But whether lighting is energy-efficient or not, turning it off will save energy, produce less heat and require less cooling—and, of course, lower your bills. Also, consider shutting down home office equipment and heat-producing computer monitors when not in use.

  • Use washing machines, dryers and dishwashers after 7 p.m. and you'll see your utility bill shrink like a pair of cotton jeans washed in hot water. Also, when possible, wash clothing in cold water. If you're shopping for a new washing machine, consider a front-loader, which is typically more energy- and water- efficient.

According to the DOE, appliances account for about 20 percent of your household's energy consumption, with refrigerators and clothes dryers at the top of the list. A new energy-efficient refrigerator could save from $35-$70 a year compared to models of 15 years ago. This amounts to between $525 and $1,050 during the average 15-year life of the unit.

  • If you have a swimming pool or spa, operate the filter pump and automatic cleaner during off-peak hours—before noon and after 6 p.m. Also consider investing in a solar cover that will passively warm the water and protect the pool or spa from debris, which means you might be able to reduce use of the filter pump and cleaner.
  • Finally, irrigating your landscaping during off-peak hours could save energy, too, if your irrigation system is supplied by a well or if you have a booster pump to increase water pressure.