Launch Slideshow

And the Winners Are...

10 innovative, eco-friendly products that captured our attention this year.

And the Winners Are...

10 innovative, eco-friendly products that captured our attention this year.

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    Klip Biotechnologies Ecoclad
    With a sleek, modern look and a resource-efficient material makeup, EcoClad combines beauty with a conscience. The exterior cladding is made with an FSC-certified 50/50 blend of post-consumer recycled paper/wood fiber along with bamboo fiber, bonded with a water-based co-polymer resin. According to the firm, the VOC-free cladding’s UV overlay protects it from fading and sun damage; the material is scratch-resistant and has a water absorption rate of less than 1%. The 4x8 panels are 1/4 inch thick and come in 10 stock wood-grains and six stock matte colors or in custom colors. 253.507.4622. http://kliptech.com.

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    Serious Materials Ecorock drywall
    Traditional gypsum drywall production can be a resource- and energy-intensive process, from raw material extraction to final product, and the materials used can contribute to mold and moisture-related performance problems, and end-of-life issues. EcoRock gypsum-free drywall takes the category to a new level, consisting of 80% recycled materials and requiring 80% less energy to produce, according to the company’s published environmental claims review. EcoRock is made primarily from post-industrial waste, including materials from steel and cement production, and its natural drying process avoids the energy required for calcining and oven-drying used in gypsum products. The product’s fiberglass face and core materials resist mold without chemical treatment, outperforming gypsum drywall by 50%, the company says. EcoRock is currently available in Western states in 1/2- and 5/8-inch thicknesses and 4x8 and 4x12 sheet dimensions, and has received Greenguard and Cradle To Cradle Gold certifications and UL Environment claims validation. 800.797.8159. www.seriousmaterials.com.

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    Benjamin Moore Natura paint
    A lot of paints these days can claim to be low- or zero-VOC, but the addition of colorants often negates those benefits. The Natura interior paint line tackles that problem with a zero-VOC paint and colorant system that ensures an environmentally friendly, IAQ-sensitive coating no matter the hue. The waterborne paint is virtually odorless, the company says, dries to the touch in 30 minutes, offers excellent hide and durability, and is washable. About 3,500 colors are available, as well as color matching. 800.344.0400. www.benjaminmoore.com.

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    Eco by Cosentino
    The best green building products combine their intended performance features with sustainable attributes, so you’d expect a countertop material to be strong, beautiful, durable, and sustainable. Eco by Cosentino’s lineup of countertop materials achieves these goals with a collection of elegant choices, carefully produced according to certified standards. According to the company, 75% of the materials used in production come from post-consumer and/or post-industrial waste, including glass from mirrors, windows, and car windshields; porcelain from old plumbing fixtures; and crystallized ash from factory furnaces. The result is a non-porous countertop that resists staining, scratching, and scorching; does not require sealing; comes in 10 colors in slabs up to 63 inches by 128 inches; and is backed by a five-year limited warranty. The countertops have earned Greenguard and Cradle To Cradle Silver certifications. 866.579.4326. www.ecobycosentino.com.

  • StructGuard Green Studio Photo Shoot of Product - Tyler - Sept 2006

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    Don Sciba

    Temple-Inland Greenglass Gypsum
    Not only is GreenGlass fiberglass-faced gypsum sheathing made with up to 90% recycled content from coal-burning power plants, the panels promote a healthier, more durable structure with a fiberglass facer and TemShield Mold Protection that provide for mold, moisture, and weather resistance. According to the company, the panels received the highest possible score in ASTM mold-resistance testing, and their water absorption resistance ensures they remain flat and stable through changes in humidity and temperature. The sheathing can be used under a variety of cladding materials, including brick, EIFS, and vinyl. It is available in four lengths in a 1/2-inch-thick standard panel or a 5/8-inch-thick Type X fire-resistant panel. 800.231.6060. www.templeinland.com.

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    Kichler DESIGN PRO Lighting
    With the U.S. Department of Energy’s recently announced focus on energy-efficient lighting, innovative solid-state lighting products like those from Kichler could move quickly into the limelight. LEDs are gaining ground in terms of their luminous efficacy, and their long life and mercury-free manufacture are attractive attributes; Kichler says its LEDs will last for more than 20 years. The most unique of the company’s undercabinet LED lights are the 3/8-inch-thick Design Pro Discs, compact LEDs that can be installed in a variety of locations and deliver high brightness and sharp color rendering greater than 90 CRI while using 75% less electricity than comparable incandescents. With captive screws and 3 feet of wire spooled within each disc, the lights are easy and flexible to install. The discs won last year’s Lighting for Tomorrow competition sponsored by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, the DOE, and the American Lighting Association, and are Energy Star–rated. 866.558.5706. www.kichler.com.

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    Sloan Valve Aqus Greywater System
    Greywater systems are becoming a vital option for conserving precious fresh water, but for many consumers, it’s a scary concept—or a complete unknown. That’s why Sloan’s Aqus system shines for its simplicity and accessibility. Situated under the bathroom sink, Aqus transfers lavatory drainwater to the toilet for reuse. The drainage water is sanitized and filtered, then collects in a storage reservoir; upon flushing, the water is pumped to the flush tank. According to the company, a two-person bathroom can save up to 5,000 gallons of fresh water a year. The system is compatible with a range of two-piece toilet models. 800.982.5839. www.sloanvalve.com.

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    Knauf Ecobatt Insulation
    Certainly insulation ranks as high among green building product categories as any other, and within the fiberglass insulation industry a lot of focus has gone beyond R-values, reaching into sustainable manufacturing processes and material effects on indoor air quality during and after installation. One of the focal points for advancement within this category is the type of binder used in production, and the trend away from the traditional use of phenol formaldehyde. Knauf Insulation’s answer to this lingering question is Ecose, a new bio-based binder that does not contain phenol formaldehyde, acrylics, or artificial colors, and reduces binder embodied energy by up to 70%, according to the company. EcoBatts with Ecose binder contain at least 30% post-consumer recycled glass content; are available in unfaced, Kraft-faced, and foil-faced versions; and are Greenguard-certified. 317.398.4434. www.knaufinsulation.com.

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    Renewability Energy Power-Pipe
    With reported energy savings of up to 40%, installing Renewability Energy’s Power-Pipe really can keep money from going down the drain. The innovative drain-pipe heat-recovery product replaces a vertical section of the main drain line with a section of Power-Pipe (recommended minimum 6-foot length) consisting of a type “L” copper fresh-water coil wrapped very tightly around an inner type “DWV” copper drainpipe. Fresh water flowing through the outer coil picks up heat from hot water draining from showers, sinks, laundry, and dishwashers, pre-heating the water headed to the cold water feed of the water heater. The product is available in a variety of diameters and lengths, is UL-listed, and is Canadian Energy Star–rated. 877.606.5559. www.renewability.com.

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    Vast Enterprises Permeable Pavers
    Vast’s permeable composite pavers offer an eco-friendly double whammy: not only do they reduce stormwater runoff, the pavers are made with 95% recycled scrap car tires and plastic containers and are 100% recyclable. According to the company, the 3-inch-by-6-inch pavers offer the look, strength, and durability of traditional segmental concrete, but at one-third the weight, allowing them to be used in rooftop applications in addition to driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and patios. The pavers offer an infiltration rate of more than 400 inches per hour when installed with an open-graded base. 612.234.8958. www.vastpavers.com.

Even with the unmistakable effects of the economy on our industry, we are hard-pressed to keep up with the flood of green building products entering the market each week. In every category, and addressing every attribute important to residential green building, manufacturers are strengthening and deepening their offerings—expanding the options for architects, builders, and remodelers.

As we sort through the introductions and present them to you in each issue of EcoHome, we keep watch with a “green builder’s eye” for the ones that stand out. And while we are thrilled to witness the accelerated growth within the product sector and applaud the advances manufacturers in every category are making, we have selected these 10 products as our 2009 Editors’ Choice Award winners.

As you’ll see, these products bring new choices and solutions for addressing water and resource conservation, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and site design, and we acknowledge their manufacturers for their efforts. —The Editors