Launch Slideshow

2010 Building Products Green Product Awards

16 award-winning options for green-built homes.

2010 Building Products Green Product Awards

16 award-winning options for green-built homes.

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    Accsys Technologies. To make Accoya lumber, the company starts with sustainably harvested wood then manufactures it using a non-toxic acetylation process that makes the product more dimensionally stable and durable than tropical hardwoods. The wood carries FSC and PEFC certification, as well as Cradle to Cradle Gold. It is indigestible for many insects, including termites, the firm says, and is suitable for uses such as decking, windows, doors, cladding, and structural components. “This is a great alternative to tropical woods,” a judge said. The product is guaranteed for 50 years in exterior above-ground use. Cost: $6 to $7 per linear foot. 972.233.6565. www.accoya.com.

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    A.O. Smith. Featuring a heat pump that pulls heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water, the Voltex hybrid electric water heater uses less than half the energy required by a standard electric water heater. The Energy Star-rated 80-gallon unit features three modes: In efficiency mode, the water heater relies almost entirely on the heat pump; in hybrid mode, it switches between the heat pump and standard electric heating elements, depending on demand for hot water; and in electric mode, the Voltex operates like a standard electric water heater. Installation is similar to that of a conventional electric model. Cost: $1,995. 866.362.9898. www.hotwater.com.

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    Bosch. According to Energy Star figures, the 800 Plus is the most water- and energy-efficient dishwasher in the United States: It’s 159% more efficient than the federal energy standard, using 180 kWh a year and as little as 1.56 gallons per cycle—70% less than the average dishwasher, according to the manufacturer. The appliance also features a four-part leak protection system, a triple-filtration system, and a flow-through water heater. Combining a noise-reducing brushless direct-current drain pump, improved insulation, and dosage assist to eliminate spray against the door, the unit achieves a sound rating of 40 dBA. Cost: $1,699 to $2,099. 800.921.9622. www.bosch-home.com/us.

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    Broan. “With homes being built so tight these days, we need an efficient way to eliminate moisture,” noted a judge. The Broan/NuTone humidity-sensing fan/light “does this in a quiet, efficient, and affordable way.” The fan, which is concealed within a recessed light fixture, turns on when it senses a quick jump in humidity and automatically turns off via a timer. Its cfm/watt rating of 2.0 is 43% higher than the minimum Energy Star requirement. The fan/light is UL listed for installation over showers and tubs if connected to a GFCI-protected branch circuit. Lighting is provided by a 14-watt compact fluorescent bulb. Cost: $302. 800.558.1711. www.broan.com.

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    Bullet Tools. Designed to perform the same tasks as circular saws but requiring no electricity and generating no hazardous dust, the Magnum shear cuts laminate flooring, wood flooring, and fiber-cement siding. “I’m impressed by the efficiency of the product and the fact that it is dustless,” noted a judge. It is made of 90% recycled aluminum and plastic; the remainder of the metal and plastic used is recyclable. Blades last 20 times as long as traditional power saw blades, the manufacturer says. The heavy-duty version comes in 9- to 40-inch models; the medium-duty version is 13 inches. Cost: $250 to $1,600. 800.406.8998. www.bullettools.com.

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    Caroma. Profile Smart, a unique bath fixture that integrates a hand-washing basin and faucet with a dual-flush toilet, may catch some folks off guard, but there’s no denying the unit’s environmental benefits as an on-the-spot water-reuse device. After the toilet is used, the system sends fresh water through the integrated faucet for washing hands; instead of heading straight down the drain, the hand-washing water then flows into the toilet tank, where it is stored to be used for the next flush. The toilet flushes at 0.8 gpf for liquids and 1.28 gpf for solids, resulting in an average flush volume of 0.9 gpf. Cost: $802. 800.605.4218. www.caromausa.com.

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    CertainTeed. Designed to seamlessly integrate with traditional asphalt shingles, EnerGen photovoltaic roofing’s lightweight, flexible solar modules require neither rooftop penetrations nor structural reinforcement. Pre-engineered kits contain all components necessary for installation, which won praise from a judge. While more efficient when it’s hot outside, the system still produces energy in low and diffused light and partial shade, says the firm. EnerGen is appropriate for both new construction and remodeling. Cost: $25,000 to $30,000 for a 3-kW system. 800.233.8990. www.certainteed.com.

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    Delta. Water savings and a spray that still feels substantial are the promise of Addison showerheads, which one judge also praised as “nice looking.” The units feature the company’s H2OKinetic technology, which releases larger, heat-retaining water droplets and delivers a massaging effect along with a denser spray pattern, providing for drenching coverage while still flowing at 2 gpm. The showerhead works with the MultiChoice Universal Valve, which allows for easy upgrades and style changes without changing the plumbing behind the wall. Cost: $155. 800.345.3358. www.deltafaucet.com.

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    EcoDog. The Fido Home Energy Watchdog system won’t greet homeowners at the door, but it will sniff out energy hogs in their homes. The energy management system, consisting of software plus hardware interface modules for the breaker panel and computer, allows homeowners to monitor electricity consumption in real time and to track how their power is consumed on an hourly, daily, and monthly basis for each room in kilowatt-hours and dollars. The system also suggests how to cut costs and monitors generation of solar and wind power. “This is a ‘nice to have,’ not a ‘need to have,’ but it is a great idea,” a judge opined.  Cost: $999. 877.432.6364. www.ecodoginc.com.

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    Delta. Described by a judge as “water-efficient, practical, and cost-attractive,” the Addison kitchen faucet proves that water conservation needn’t be confined to the bathroom. The unit’s Multi Flow pull-down wand allows users to toggle between the standard 2.2-gpm flow rate for amount-specific needs such as pot filling, and a 1.5-gpm flow rate for tasks such as hand washing. When shut off, the unit defaults to the 1.5-gpm setting. The faucet is also available with Touch2O technology, which allows users to turn the water off and on simply by touching the spout or handle. Kitchen and bar/prep models are available; finishes come in chrome, stainless steel, and bronze. Cost: $295 to $550. 800.345.3358. www.deltafaucet.com.

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    Greenward Alternatives. Greenward Ridge Vent offers the benefits of a traditional rolled ridge vent but also harvests hot attic air for use in preheating water. The system transfers heat escaping from the attic to a water/glycol solution in a closed-loop system; the hot liquid returns to the tank where it is used to heat water, lessening the load on the water heater. Installation can be done by roofers, who place the ridge vent under cap shingles, so it’s neither visible nor exposed to the elements. A judge who gave the ridge vent a perfect score said, “What’s not to like? Hook it up in my house.” Cost: $425 per 40-foot roll. 888.565.8418. www.nuenergyalternatives.com.

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    Grand Hall. “It doesn’t get much better than a 98%-plus efficiency,” a judge wrote about the Eternal condensing hybrid water heater, which combines the flow capacity of a traditional tank model with the endless supply of a tankless. Fueled by either natural gas or propane, it’s the only gas hybrid to win Energy Star approval, says the firm. The infrared burner is activated by both a thermostat and flow sensing, so there’s no start-up lag that wastes water. The GU145 model provides a maximum output of 14.5 gpm, and the GU195 provides a maximum output of 19.6 gpm. Both create enough hot water for up to five simultaneous applications, the maker says. The unit can be wall mounted or floor standing. Cost: $1,999 to $2,699. 866.946.1096. www.eternalwaterheater.com.

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    Henry Co. Blueskin VPTM 100 air and water barrier membrane seals a house to control air leakage—reducing heating and cooling costs—while providing a continuous breathable drainage plane. With its permeable adhesive backing, the product requires no fasteners, which also simplifies installation and improves performance, the manufacturer says. “It’s a huge step above typical weather-resistant barriers,” a judge remarked. Blueskin VP attaches to walls and transitions and around wall openings in a weatherboard fashion using simple hand tools. Cost: $350 per roll (5 feet by 100 feet). 800.486.1278. www.henry.com.

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    Jeld-Wen. The recipe for FiberLast exterior doors combines wood fibers and fiberglass, SCS-certified for at least 35% pre-consumer recycled material. The doors meet CARB regulations for no added urea formaldehyde, the maker says, and their solid wood stiles are manufactured using a process that releases 96% fewer VOCs than traditional dip treatments. The doors come in smooth or grained white for painting and a grained tan for staining. Styles comprise six-panel, sunburst, half-view, full-view, and sidelites; heights are 6 feet 8 inches, 7 feet, and 8 feet; and widths run from 2 feet 6 inches to 3 feet. Low-E and decorative glass options are available. Cost: $180 to $220 for a prehung 3-foot-by-6-foot-8-inch six-panel door. 800.535.3936. www.jeld-wen.com.

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    Leviton. A chief consumer complaint about CFLs is their poor dimming performance, especially since most dimmers are designed to work with incandescents. The Decora CFL slide dimmer removes this barrier. In auto mode, the device detects whether the bulb is an incandescent or a dimmable CFL, determines high- and low-end dimming capabilities, and adjusts the dimming range accordingly. This is an important feature because dimming varies by bulb manufacturer, type, and rating. “Consumers will embrace this technology,” a judge asserted. The device uses standard wiring and has a shallow depth for easy installation. Cost: $25. 800.323.8920. www.leviton.com.

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    Rheem. The HP-50 heat pump water heater transfers heat from the air to the water, helping it achieve more than twice the energy efficiency of a standard electric tank water heater and helping reduce a home’s carbon footprint by nearly 2 tons annually, the manufacturer says. “This product—properly used and speced—is one of the greenest water heater options available” was the opinion of one judge. It has a storage capacity of 50 gallons and measures 75?½ inches high and 21 inches in diameter. The HP-50 is Energy Star-listed. Cost: $1,700 to $2,200. 800.621.5622. www.rheem.com.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been building green for years, options abound for specifying products that save energy, conserve water, use minimal resources, increase durability, or enhance indoor air quality. In its third annual Green Product Awards contest, EcoHome’s sister publication Building Products celebrated those introductions that meet the needs of sustainable builders while also offering innovative features, fresh designs, and new lines of thinking.

Chosen with the expert assistance of three green-minded judges, the winners of the 2010 Green Product Awards represent new products that excel in three areas: sustainability, value to the contractor, and innovation. These products not only contribute to a sustainable home but also make the contractor’s job easier, help boost profits, represent groundbreaking technology, make clients say, “Wow,” or otherwise possess breakout features.

Click on the slide show to view all 16 winners.

Editor’s Note:
All claims about the winning products come from their makers; the editors and judges could not independently verify the statements. In addition, the winners represent only a small portion of outstanding green products that were introduced during the past year. The judges made their selections based on items entered in the competition, not from all products that debuted last year.