The West Coast Green conference, held Sept. 25–27 in San Jose, Calif., carried an inspiring vibe, one of enthusiasm and determination for innovation and advancement of a shared mission. The feeling held true on the exhibit floor, where booth after booth impressed us with fresh solutions to old challenges. Here are three of our favorites from this year’s show.

Rock on a Roll

Industry innovator Serious Materials’ latest efforts tackle drywall, whose production is one of the building products industry’s biggest energy hogs. Featuring a material makeup that dries without heaters, EcoRock drywall uses 80% less energy to produce than regular panels, says the company, resulting in an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions. In addition, the product is made with 85% post-industrial recycled content. EcoRock features a naturally mold-resistant core and a fiberglass facing, and is priced similar to premium panels. First announced last year, EcoRock will roll off the lines in November. 800.797.8159. www.seriousmaterials.com.


Thirst Quencher

Water shortages could become an environmental catastrophe unlike any other, so we were intrigued by Element Four’s WaterMill, a space-age-looking device that converts moisture from the outside air into drinking water. Up to 13 quarts of water—enough for the drinking needs of a family of six—can be converted daily and delivered to a water cooler or dispenser. What’s more, the company says it has found a way to make the conversion and purification processes super efficient and self-regulating. It estimates the system costs about 11 cents per gallon to operate. It will be available in 2009. 250.717.3733. www.elementfour.com.


Quite a Catch

With rainwater catchment catching on, it was only a matter of time before someone took the familiar barrel to the next level. The Rainwater Hog, part of the conference’s Harbinger show house, makes harvesting water easier with a versatile, modular system of compact units that can be used individually or together in previously unheard of spaces. The 51-gallon units can be installed vertically or horizontally and are narrow enough to fit along small walkways, against walls, or under a deck. Their modularity allows for gradual unit expansion and use in multiple locations. 888.700.1096. www.rainwaterhog.com. (This caption has been updated with revised information from the manufacturer.)