Red Hot Green
A first look at an amazing array of new green products introduced this spring, many of which are certain to generate serious interest from the entire U.S. building industry. 
 
Lumboo • Cali Bamboo

Cali Bamboo, capping off 5 years of research and development, has introduced the industry's first engineered bamboo dimensional lumber. The product is composed of large bamboo poles that have been shredded into strips, compressed at very high pressure, and configured into a matrix optimized for structural integrity. 

Lumboo is available in 1x6, 2x4, 2x6, and 4x4 sizes. It's also supplied in pre-made fence configurations for Cali Bamboo's ranch-style post & rail system. The product is very low VOC and is urea-formaldehyde free. 

“This launch is the product of many ideas,” said Jeff Goldberg, Cali's CEO. “We worked with Long Beach State Mechanical Engineering Department for help with some of the early prototypes.”

Until additional testing is completed, the product will only be supplied for use with the company's fence lines or for use in decking. The material is about as tough as ipe. “It's so strong, so dense, that you can't nail through it,” said Goldberg. “For some applications, people might find that a pain in the butt. But typically, the denser a product is, the longer it should last.”

Over the long haul, Goldberg believes Lumboo may be suitable for any application now served by other wood products and used in place of conventional framing lumber, glulams, or decking planks. That is yet to be proved, although Cali is working on it. 

Bamboo products can contribute to certification under the LEED program and other green building systems as a rapidly renewable resource. Bamboo suitable for use in flooring and sheet goods can be harvested after only six years of growth. 

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DuPont Tyvek Fluid Applied Weather Barrier (WB) System 

There's nothing new about fluid applied building wrap – by one estimate, fluid-applied products are used on about 15% to 20% of all commercial projects today. With the Tyvek name in the mix, DuPont estimates that usage of fluid applied systems could grow to as much as 30% by 2013.

Like traditional Tyvek building wraps, the Tyvek Fluid Applied system helps seal the building envelope against air and water infiltration, leading to enhanced energy efficiency and protection from water and mold damage, while boasting the highest vapor permeability among competitive products at its application thickness. 

The product is low-VOC and cleans up easily with either mineral spirits or common citrus-based cleaners. Once applied, the durable elastomeric barrier promises low shrinkage with high elastic recovery, and resistance to pinholes and crack formation. And unlike traditional wraps, it is not vulnerable to tears or wind damage.

DuPont expects that the primary customer for the Tyvek Fluid Applied Weather Barrier will be commercial, but the system may also have appeal to homebuilders in high-humidity regions.

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Boise Cascade FSC-Certified Alljoist

Boise Cascade Alljoist engineered wood products can now be ordered FSC-certified in all four Alljoist profiles. Boise becomes the largest nationally distributed line of engineered joists to offer the choice of FSC Chain of Custody and SFI Chain of Custody wood. The Alljoist line is also NAHB Research Center Green Approved.

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SageGlass Smart Windows

SageGlass represents a new frontier in enhanced window performance. Sage technology allows users to easily adjust the level of light transmitted through windows or skylights via energy efficient electronic controls. That means that the glass can take on a tinted appearance on hot summer days to reduce indoor heat and glare and improve comfort. The same controls allow users to let in full daylight illumination when sun and heat are less intense.

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Woodharbor Miracle Door 

An increasing number of door makers are making the move to safer, more sustainable materials. For example, Woodharbor's paintable/MDF doors are SCS certified 40% pre-consumer recycled content and available in a NAUF version that qualifies for LEED EQ Credit 4.4 (1 point) for low emitting materials (NAUF). The company also offers a wide selection of ‘Green House' finishes that utilize a waterborne urethane topcoat that is low VOC and formaldehyde free.

None of that requires any sacrifice in style or beauty. WoodHarbor's ‘Miracle' door (photo, right) is a flat panel Art Deco inspired door with the center panel held in place by a mitered molding frame. “The ‘Miracle' door is a perfect example of the Art Deco philosophy of applying artistic designs to everyday objects,” said Tina Piper, ASID designer for Woodharbor. “This design fits so well into so many diverse styles, it's not surprising that it's just as relevant today as it was in the 1920s and 30s.”

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Roxul Mineral Wool Insulation

Roxul's stone wool insulation is made of stone wool, a combination of natural basalt rock and recycled slag materials. In addition to its thermal performance, stone wool insulation is fire resistant, and can withstand temperatures up to 2150ºF. 

Its unique composition easily repels water away from exterior walls, pipes, or interior walls. Being water repellent also means the insulation does not rot, corrode, or promote the growth of fungi or bacteria. And it offers superior acoustical insulation qualities because stone wool is denser than traditional insulations – thus it reduces sound transmissions..

Roxul ComfortBatt Thermal Insulation and Roxul Safe'n'Sound Fire & Soundproofing Insulation are GreenGuard Certified for Children & Schools.

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All-In-One Rainscreen System 

Traditionally, specifying a rain screen means identifying and sourcing the individual parts – steel framing, cladding and framing members – separately. The Knight Wall System eliminates those steps, simplifying both the specification and the installation process. Steel framing can be designed for 2”, 4”, and 6” brackets, enabling different R-factors of insulation to be installed external to a building's vapor barrier while providing a cavity for moisture to drain and vapor to pass through. 

The Knight system also employs a self-leveling feature that facilitates the installation of new cladding on buildings with out-of-plumb walls.

The rain screen system has passed ICC testing, and it can contribute points toward eight different U.S. Green Building Council LEED credits.

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Solar Water Heating System 

AO Smith's Cirrex Solar Thermal Water Heating System is an all-in-one solution designed to make specification and installation simple. The solar thermal collectors provide up to 70 percent of the energy needed for water heating for these 80- and 120-gallon models.With a Solar Energy Factor (SEF) of 2.5, the Cirrex system is ENERGY STAR qualified and eligible for a federal tax credit of 30 percent of the total installation cost without a cap.

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Flush-Mount PV Panels

Certainteed's Energen photovoltaic system uses thin-film panels from Uni-Solar which are installed flush to the roof deck without adding significant weight to the roofing structure. By providing a more aesthetically pleasing, unobtrusive roof plane with no roof penetrations, the product overcomes major objection to the acceptance of solar panels. The EnerGen system is offered in pre-engineered kits containing all components necessary for installation. Its flexible design allows it to be customized to meet a home's specific energy needs and physical location requirements. It's designed for installation by building professionals and conventional roofing contractors.

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