Most Innovative Green Products of 2011
2011 may have been a slow year for the building and remodeling industry, but some products stood out from the crowd. To succeed in this recovering economy, a green product must appeal to the practical side of design and construction professionals, end-users, and – of course – comply with the green standards defined by LEED and NAHB-Green. That gives dealers, distributors and sales reps some unique insight as to which green products will catch on in the marketplace… so those are exactly the opinions GBPD sought out in selecting the Most Innovative Green Products of 2011.
Produced from 85% recycled denim and cotton fibers, Cotton Armor from Applegate Insulation is a premium grade product that boasts superior thermal and acoustic insulating performance. For example, a wall filled with its R-21 thermal batt also provides a 54 STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating. An R-13 Cotton Armor insulated wall has an STC of 52, which is equivalent to 12 inches of cement. Comparable steel stud walls insulated with fiberglass batts have STC ratings typically in the forties, while a 2” x 4” gypsum-finished wood stud wall without insulation has an STC of 33-35.
Available in R-13, R-19 and R-21 for 2x4 and 2x6 studs, it is sized for 16” o.c. and 24” o.c. residential and commercial framing, which combined with its rigidity and rebound helps reduce compression, gaps, and voids that can significantly decrease both acoustical and thermal performance. The company claims to achieve higher R-values using less fiber then comparable products – even other denim insulation.
Unlike fiberglass, the product is not scratchy to touch and can be installed without gloves or respirator. It contains no formaldehyde or toxic chemicals. The product's fibers are layered for easy cutting with any ordinary utility knife. Manufactured in Georgia, the batts have a Class A fire rating and are borate treated for vermin and mildew resistance.
www.mrinsulate.net • 855-6-COTTON
Wool insulation has always been popular in British Isles and other sheep-growing regions of the globe. But in real world comparisons, how does sheep's wool insulation stack up against fiberglass, cellulose, cotton fabric, and other synthetic materials?
That's what the team at Oregon Shepherd looked to discover through independent testing. The lab results were actually more impressive than they expected; according to George Cornwall, the company's operations manager, their loose-fill wool insulation offers higher R-values per square foot than comparable cellulose, cotton, or fiberglass materials without any of the health or safety concerns. It also provides superior acoustic noise blocking performance.
Oregon Shepherd's natural wool insulation is free of toxins and petrochemicals. It actually absorbs and traps airborne formaldehyde from other sources, which means that it actually improves indoor air quality. Thanks to a non-toxic borate treatment, the product is vermin resistant and performs better in high-temp or fire conditions than synthetic materials such as fiberglass.
While most synthetic insulation materials lose effectiveness if they become wet, natural wool excels where there is humidity because wool can not only absorb moisture, but exorb it as well. Oregon Shepherd's natural wool insulation meets ASTM E-84, E-1496, and C-518 standards.
Natural wool insulation may be the most sustainable building material available. It is rapidly renewable, long-lasting, naturally sourced with an incredibly small carbon footprint, and biodegradable or recyclable at end of use.
There's no learning curve for contractors or installers working with natural wool insulation - although Oregon Shepherd remains ready to provide technical assistance or answer user questions. Any equipment that will handle loose-fill cellulose or fiberglass insulation will do the job, even low-end rental units. Oregon Shepherd provides a vapor permeable membrane for vertical installations within exterior walls, and also offers natural wool insulation in rolls and batts.
www.oregonshepherd.com • 888-629-9665
Smog Eating Roof Tiles
Boral Roofing's SMOG-EATING Tile incorporates a photo catalytic agent, titanium dioxide, to break down nitrogen oxide (NOx) molecules and significantly reduce their impact on the environment. When the sun's rays hit the tiles, the Ti02 reacts with and neutralizes NOx. The by-products are harmless and wash off the roof with rain, acting as a fertilizer to the soil below.
This innovative roofing product is sustainably sourced, promotes energy efficiency, and is 100% recyclable at end of life. The tiles are made from naturally occurring, locally-sourced raw materials in manufacturing plants located across North America. utilizes an elevated batten system, vented eave risers and ridge guards to reduce energy costs.
SMOG-EATING Tiles offer the same benefits with the same expected lifespan of other tile roof products. While individual savings will vary, studies have shown that clay and concrete tile roof systems can reduce the amount of heat penetrating a conditioned space by 50% when compared to direct-to-deck installations, resulting in 22% lower energy consumption.
Nitrogen oxide is a major driver of air pollution and smog, and becomes a greenhouse gas when it interacts with VOCs. Exposure to NOx molecules can also lead to respiratory disorders and cause permanent damage to plants and trees. Over the course of a single year, 2,000 square feet of the new tiles can destroy approximately the same amount of nitrogen oxide as a car produces in 10,800 miles of driving.
Smog Eating Tile is available in six colors and in three architectural shapes – Low Profile, Medium Profile and High Profile. Boral Roofing has introduced Country Slate–Whitney Grey and Saxony Shake–Kern Canyon for Low Profile; Villa–San Miguel Blend, Villa–Goldenrod Flash and Villa–Kern Canyon Blend for Medium Profile; and Barcelona–Kern Canyon Blend for High Profile.
Boral's Smog Eating Tile qualifies contributes to credits in as many as 4 different LEED categories, and also contributes toward certification in NAHB-Green, Green Globes, and many regional green building programs.
www.boralna.com • 800-964-0951
Low-VOC Flooring Adhesive
Includes Moisture Control
Titebond 771-Step is designed to make life easy for flooring contractors looking to install bamboo, cork and engineered hardwood flooring over concrete. The product combines the features of an advanced concrete moisture control system and a quick curing adhesive in a single application, thus reducing time on the jobsite and substantially lowering labor costs. Since the cost of the 771-Step is roughly the same as buying moisture control and adhesive separately, the savings show up on the labor portion of the job, giving 771-Step users a competitive edge on bids.
Titebond 771-Step can reduce the moisture vapor transmission rate from concrete subfloors by 75 percent to 90 percent and is fully warranted against related moisture damage to wood flooring when used as recommended. It can be applied over subfloors with moisture up to 12 lbs. per a calcium chloride test.
Its advanced polymer formulation is easy to trowel on and clean up, and it offers powerful green grab – holding flooring firmly in place once it is seated into the wet adhesive. That powerful grab quickly builds into a strong, yet flexible, bond that can be used on a variety of flooring materials.
Surprisingly, 771-Step offers the performance advantages formerly found in two separate materials while maintaining its VOC emissions under 50 g/L – which is lower than many single-purpose flooring adhesives emit by themselves. The product contributes to as many as 3 different credits under the LEED certification program, and also earns points for projects seeking certification under Green Globes and NAHB's Green Building Standard. Part of Titebond's environmentally safe GREENchoice line, it's available in 3.5-gallon pails.
www.titebond.com • 800-669-4583
Designer Reclaimed Wood Panels
Kirei Windfall panels are made from Douglas Fir and Hemlock Fir, produced from raw material harvested from demolition sites in the Pacific Northwest, and given new life as decorative panels for interior design. Rescued from old granaries and breweries and destined for the scrap heap, the re-manufacturing process revives the vivid natural wood grain patterns of the old-growth wood.
Panels come unfinished with a clear coat that shows off the natural grain, or stained and prefinished in Anthracite, Mocha, Ivory and Leather colors. Used together or separately, the finishes of the Windfall Collection provide new options designers. Panels are available in 27”x96” (solid) 48”x96” (3-ply with NAUF/FSC core), with a ¾” panel thickness.
Manufactured in partnership with Windfall Lumber of Tumwater, Washington, Kirei Windfall panels can contribute to LEED and other green building credits for Reclaimed/recycled content, Certified Wood, Indoor Air Quality.
www.kireiusa.com • 619-236-9924
Reclaimed Veneer Panels
Viridian's line of upscale architectural-grade veneers are milled from reclaimed wood sourced from unique industrial sources: old-growth redwood previously used in wine tanks, Oregon black walnut reclaimed from urban salvage, and old-growth Douglas fir from warehouse deconstruction. Sources for addition species are being developed for future production.
The panels are produced domestically from North American materials and laid-up on urea formaldehyde-free, FSC-certified medium density fiberboard (MDF) in a variety of thicknesses, including fire-rated cores. The resulting 4 x 8 panels are ideal for wall panels, commercial casework, retail fixtures, and cabinetry
The panels can contribute points toward the following LEED credits: MRc3: (Materials Reuse), MRc4 (recycled content), MRc5 (regional materials) and MRc7 (certified wood).
www.viridianwood.com • 877-909-WOOD
Recycled Stud System
The EcoStud Track & Stud System is made from lightweight recycled plastic and intended for use in non load bearing exterior walls and interior partition walls. The tough and durable plastic material is mold resistant and eliminates the thermal bridging common to wood or steel. The result is improved R-values as well as reduced sound transmission.
The studs are about half the weight of steel, which reduces the cost of shipping and increases the convenience of warehouse and on-site storage. The studs fit easily into the track, making the job go faster for the veteran framing professional but also easy for novice do-it-yourselfers. The studs are pre-drilled for electrical wiring. EcoStud can contribute to as many as 5 different LEED credits.
www.ecostud.com • 877-586-5543
Recycled Wall & Ceiling Panels
EssentialBoard from ReWall is a recycled panel product designed for use as sheathing for walls and ceilings, and underlayment for floors, tiles, and counter tops. The lightweight coated panels feature a rigid waterproof composition, and they are compatible with conventional and low-VOC adhesives and fasteners. Panels come in 3/8 and 1/2 inch thickness in standard 4 foot wide dimensions, with a sheer value of up to 574 plf and a bending value of 4,674 psi. A less rigid version of the product, NakedBoard, has a bending value of as little as 232 psi and is ideal for curved wall installations.
Other lightweight panels are available for applications such as decorative wall board, ceiling panels, and temporary sheathing.
ReWall products are manufactured in the midwest using a proven European technology that repurposes polyethylene-coated cartons, cups, and their components into new building materials. That helps recycle some of the 2 million tons of polyethylene-coated cartons and cups that enter landfills every year. The re-processing technique is much more energy efficient than methods commonly used in the U.S., and does not utilize added glue, water, or chemicals.
www.rewallmaterials.com • 515-265-1400
High Efficiency Hydronic
Forced Air Furnace System
Rinnai's hydronic furnace is designed to work in conjunction with Rinnai's energy-saving tankless water heating system to provide energy-efficient heat for an entire home. The unit uses hot water generated by Rinnai's tankless water heating system to heat the air, which is then distributed throughout the home via the unit's blower and the home's existing ductwork.
During periods of heavy demand, the hydronic furnace gives priority to domestic hot water needs, shutting down the blower to prevent cold air from spreading through the home. An ideal heating option for small- to mid-sized spaces, the hydronic furnace produces heat that is less arid than hot air from a typical gas furnace.
The compact unit requires no venting or gas connections, making it easy to install in a closet or attic space. Thanks to its electronically commutated motor technology, the furnace's ultra-efficient, brushless direct current motor operates up to 48 percent more efficiently than traditional PSC (permanent split capacitor) models. When used in a home or small business, this translates into aditional reduced energy usage and lower operating costs.
www.rinnai.us • 800-621-9419
Easy to Use Wood Finish System
Vermont Natural Coatings completes their line of natural whey-based wood finishes with a set of 8 Woodtone Concentrated Tints. VNC's PolyWhey line is a premium grade finish for wood floors and wood furniture, based on renewable agriculturally derived material The tints effectively upgrade PolyWhey into a complete finishing solution.
The simple to use fluids eliminate the step of staining the wood with a separate material before applying the finish coat, and also free dealers from having to stock 8 different colors of wood finish – or rely on expensive tinting machines. Thus, popular wood tone colors are conveniently available without the hassle of added inventory or costly shipping expenses.
The VOC-free tints are color rich and fade resistant, mix quickly, and have superior colorfastness, ensuring consistent tone throughout a project. Available colors include Golden Oak, Cherry, Cordovan, Oil Tone, Dark Walnut, Early American, Ebony and Fruitwood.
www.vermontnaturalcoatings.com • 802-472-8700
Solar Water Heating System
A. O. Smith's Cirrex solar thermal water heating system is available in 16 package configurations to meet a wide variety of consumer and light commercial applications. Solar thermal collectors are much more efficient at harvesting the sun's energy than photovoltaic solar panels, and they also offer faster payback and a better return on investment. A Cirrex system can supply up to 70 percent of the energy needed for a home's water heating directly from solar heat.
The system is designed for installation by plumbing contractors rather than specialized solar installers, and training programs are readily available. The manufacturer provides all of the relevant components, which means that contractors have a single point of contact for all of their specification, installation, and product support needs.
The Cirrex system is Energy Star rated and certified as OG-300 by the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC). As a result, these systems can contribute credits to LEED and other green building programs. Cirrex solar water heaters are also eligible for a variety of federal and regional tax credits.
www.hotwater.com • 800-527-1953
Cree's downlights may look like the same product the company offered a few years ago, but there have been a series of significant improvements over time. The Cree MR4-1000 module now provides higher quality light and efficiency, using 42-percent less input power, than 26-watt compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. The LMR4-1000 is the first commercially available 2700-K LED module to deliver 1000-lumen output at more than 90 CRI, making it a smart alternative to 100-watt incandescent bulbs in downlight applications.
The Cree LED Module LMR4-1000 integrates all necessary driver electronics, optics and primary thermal management components within the unit, making the compact Cree module drop-in-ready. Designed to last 35,000 hours and dimmable to 5 percent, the LMR4-1000 module is available in color temperatures of 2700 K, 3000 K, 3500 K and 4000 K with more than 90 CRI.
www.cree.com • 800-533-2583
The traditional A19 bulb shape has been the icon of bright ideas for the last century, and the familiar screw-in lightbulb seems likely to remain a staple for the foreseeable future, even as designers seek to introduce more utilitarian forms into our long-term future. LED lamps, of course, are more energy efficient than incandescent and fluorescent lighting while offering much greater longevity. While LEDs are finding ever-greater acceptance in commercial, industrial, and educational settings, they have not, however, captured much of the consumer market. Homeowners were slow to adapt to the curly-shaped CFLs, and unfamiliar looking LEDs might face similar initial resistance.
That's why manufacturers continue producing screw-in bulbs to the retail market. Toshiba's A19 LED lamp reduces energy use by more than 75 percent and lasts up to 40 times longer than incandescent lamps. Based on an average use of three hours a day, the Energy Star rated A19 lamp is expected to last 22.8 years. The “soft white” lamp also features a 450-lumen output, reaches full brightness instantly, and contains no mercury or lead.
www.toshiba.com/ind • 800-231-1412
Asphalt Patching Compound
Aquaphalt has been formulated to serve as a permanent patching material for repairing potholes and other types of asphalt or concrete pavement damage. It's designed around a proprietary water-activated binder, which causes it to harden quickly and permanently. It applies equally well in all weather conditions and hardens to form a permanent patch that's as strong or stronger than the surrounding pavement. The material is effective with or without aggegate.
Unlike virtually every other asphalt patching material, Aquaphalt is VOC-free. Other currently available “cold-patch” asphalt products provide only temporary solutions to potholes and must eventually be replaced by permanent pavement materials such as concrete or conventional asphalt – both of which have a much larger carbon footprint. The product has been developed and used successfully in Europe for over a decade.
www.aquaphalt.com • 866-784-5031
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