Launch Slideshow

Reader Picks

20 green products that captured attention in 2009.

Reader Picks

20 green products that captured attention in 2009.

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    #1 Kichler Lighting Design Pro Discs
    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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    David Papazian Photography

    #2 Martin Natural Gas Fireplaces
    HOST Development utilized natural gas fireplaces from Martin, a Custom Fireside brand, as the primary heating source for homes in the Helensview development in Portland, Ore. The zero-clearance, 36-inch units are capable of heating up to 1,200 square feet, burning at 24,000 BTUs and an 80% efficiency. The units feature glowing ceramic fiber logs and embers; optional accessories include firebrick and a 135-CFM blower. 916.331.2423. www.customfireside.com.
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    David Papazian Photography

    #3 Kenmore Appliances
    Energy Star–qualified refrigerators, dishwashers, and laundry equipment from Kenmore reduce energy and water use to keep monthly utility bills affordable in the Helensview development in Portland, Ore. The top-mount, 18.2-cubic foot refrigerator is EnergyGuide rated to cost just $41 per year to operate, while the built-in, 24-inch dishwasher offers a precision, five-level wash system and heated or no-heat drying cycles to reduce resource use. 888.536.6673. www.kenmore.com.
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    #4 Custom-Bilt Metals BIPV
    The FusionSolar solar system includes thin-film photovoltaics fused into standing-seam panels, blending in with the roof and eliminating the need for penetrations. The turnkey system comes with all components, schematics, and specifications for wiring; roofing professionals install the roof as they would a standard metal roof, the company says. Solar capacity is customizable, scaled to deliver 3-, 5-, 10-, 15-, 30-, 60-, or 120-kW-sized output. The thin-film laminate is durable enough to be walked on and withstand flying objects, and it withstands winds up to 160 mph. 800.826.7813. www.custombiltmetals.com.
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    #5 Eemax Tankless Water Heater
    The Series Four large-capacity electric tankless water heater is rated at 99% efficient. The whole-house unit features microprocessing temperature control. The flow activates each of the EX380T2T2’s heating elements in stages based on hot water demand. Thermostatic control delivers unlimited hot water at precise outlet temperature. Energy factor: 0.99. 800.543.6163. www.eemax.com.
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    #6 Rheem Tankless Water Heater
    The RTG-66DV gas direct-vent, tankless water heater is designed for homes with two or three bathrooms. The unit measures 25?1/2 inches high, 13?1/2 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. The concentric venting system simplifies installation by expelling the byproducts of combustion through a 3-inch exhaust pipe inside the 5-inch intake run. The unit can deliver water at a rate of 6.6 gallons per minute. Installers can connect multiple units to meet the needs of high-demand applications. The product uses either natural gas or liquid propane. Energy factor: 0.82. 334.260.1500. www.rheemtankless.com.
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    #7 Chronomite Tankless Water Heater
    The electric Insta Flow point-of-use tankless water heaters are 98% efficient, says the firm. Digital microprocessor technology controls the temperature of the water, and the temperature can be pre-set to prevent scalding without mixing valves. The units come in three different capacities—Insta Temp, Insta Flow, and Insta Flow Micro—and are also available in a wide range of models to fit the desired application. 800.447.4962. www.chronomite.com.
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    #8 Rinnai Tankless Water Heater
    The R75Lsi delivers continuous hot water on demand up to 7.5 gallons per minute. The unit features a redesigned commercial-grade heat exchanger, an integrated condensate collector, an integrated digital temperature controller, and direct electronic ignition with no pilot light. The combustion unit is sealed, so it doesn’t use interior combustion air. Two units can be connected together without a control board. The whole-house unit measures 10 inches by 14 inches by 26 inches and weighs 46 pounds. The temperature can range from 98 to 140 degrees. Energy factor: 0.82. 678.829.1700. www.foreverhotwater.com.
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    #9 Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater
    The electric Tempra whole-house series comprises six tankless water heater models, from 12 kW to 36 kW, that can be installed in homes with one to four bathrooms. The smallest capacity unit has one heating module, the mid-range models have two heating modules, and the largest capacity units have three heating modules, which are all wired back separately to the electric panel. The temperature and flow sensors feed their readings into the water heater’s microprocessor control, and the microprocessor prevents the water temperature from deviating from the set point. The tankless water heaters, which the company says are nearly 100% efficient, save 15% to 20% on water heating costs compared to a tank water heater. Energy factor: 0.99. 800.582.8423. www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com.
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    #10 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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    #11 Englert Integrated Roofing/PV System
    The company now offers an integrated system that combines its UltraCool-coated metal roofing with integrated PV, solar hot water heating, and rainwater harvesting. The SunNet solar standing-seam roof features ¼-inch-thick laminate solar collectors. Mounted underneath is a solar thermal system that draws heat from the roof and transfers it to the hot-water system. Finally, three rainwater harvesting kits capture water for non-potable use; integrated LeafGuard and Gutter Tunnel protection help keep debris out of the containment tanks. 800.364.5378. www.englertinc.com.
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    #12 Vast Enterprises Permeable Composite 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.
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    #13 Bosch Tankless Water Heater
    The Bosch AquaStar 2700ES gas tankless water heater enables users to operate two to three hot water applications simultaneously. The unit delivers more than 7 gallons per minute. The product’s built-in power vent enables horizontal or vertical vent termination, and the unit offers direct, room-sealed electric combustion. The unit can plug into a 120V electrical outlet and uses natural gas or liquid propane. Energy factor: 0.83. 866.642.3199. www.boschhotwater.com.

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    #14 Kohler Dual-Flush Toilet
    The company’s WaterSense-certified Saile toilet is a seamless, one-piece, dual-flush unit designed to eliminate liquid or bulk waste with a single flush. The two-button actuator lets users choose 1.6 or 0.8 gpf. A family of four can save, on average, up to 8,000 gallons of water each year with the 0.8-gallon flush (versus 3.5-gpf models), according to the company. The toilet seat features an over-molded lid that covers the seat ring for a finished look. The device has a skirted toilet and is designed for flush-to-wall installation. 800.456.4537. www.kohler.com.
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    #15 Takagi Tankless Water Heater
    The gas-fired TK-3 Pro is designed to withstand space-heating and domestic recirculation systems in residential applications. It starts heating water at flow rates as low as 0.5 gallons per minute, but it can generate an unlimited supply of hot water at a maximum flow rate of 7 gallons per minute. The unit measures 13.8 inches wide and weighs 40 pounds. It can be installed inside or outside and can be direct-vented. Energy factor: Natural gas: 0.827; LP: 0.833. 888.882.5244. www.takagi.com.
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    #16 Tiger Mountain Innovations Squak Mountain Stone
    Rustic-looking Squak Mountain Stone slabs are made of recycled paper, cement, fly ash, and recycled glass. The material contains at least 49% post-industrial recycled content. The 11/2-inch-thick slabs are available in five colors: natural, latte, otter, thunder, and quinault. Each piece is unique, the manufacturer says. 425.486.3417. www.squakmountainstone.com.
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    #17 GE Hybrid Electric Water Heater
    The Energy Star–qualified Hybrid Electric water heater, targeted for the fourth quarter, uses about half the energy of standard tank units of the same size, says the manufacturer. The unit’s hybrid technology absorbs heat in the ambient air and transfers it to water, a process that requires less energy than generating heat. It fits in the same footprint as a regular tank unit and uses existing water and electrical connections. 800.626.2000. www.ge.com.
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    #18 Blueline Innovations Energy Monitor
    The PowerCost Monitor is a wireless energy monitor that displays how much electricity the user’s home consumes from moment to moment and in total. A countertop display unit can present total electricity costs in dollars and cents and in kilowatt hours, and users can see their peak energy cost within the last 24 hours. A sensor unit attaches to the outside of a home’s electric utility meter and wirelessly transmits use information to the Power Monitor. 866.607.2583. www.bluelineinnovations.com.
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    #19 Noritz Tankless Water Heater
    The Energy Star–rated N-0841MC tankless water heater yields 93% energy efficiency versus 60% of a typical tank water heater due to its Hybrid Super Heat Exchanger—a stainless and copper heat exchanger fused into one. The unit, which uses gas or propane, delivers up to 11.1 gallons per minute at a 35-degree temperature rise and 8.4 gallons per minute at a 45-degree temperature rise. Energy factor: 0.94. 877.986.6748. www.noritz.com.
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    #20 EnLux LED Downlight
    The EnLux LED downlight, which can be installed in most 5- and 6-inch recessed housings, uses just 14 watts of energy but provides 700 lumens, the company says. The light is cool to the touch and 100% recyclable. It comes in warm, neutral, and cool white color temperatures and is available with colored light engines. 480.733.8065. www.enluxled.com.

Each year, EcoHome publishes information on hundreds of green building products, from PV panels to Energy Star-rated appliances to resource-friendly flooring. A great way for the editors to track reader preferences is to follow which products from the print issue received the most requests for information via “circle numbers” found at the end of each product caption.

Garnering the most interest in 2009 was Kichler Lighting’s Design Pro Disc, an LED unit that earned an Editors’ Choice award for its flexible installation and compact design. Like last year’s list, which was dominated by solar products, this year saw a strong category interest—this time in tankless water heaters. But there was also much diversity, with a range of product types—including permeable pavers, metal roofing, and appliances—capturing attention.

In case you missed them the first time around, here are the Top 20 products EcoHome readers wanted to know more about in 2009.