Innovative Green Building Product Designs
Any effective approach to improved energy consumption involves a threefold strategy—conservation, efficient consumption, and alternative energy generation. Conservation focuses on the building envelope—the walls, floor, and ceiling—including insulation levels, window, door, and other penetration options, as well as the effectiveness of the air barrier. Efficient consumption includes the energy used for heating and cooling as well as lighting, appliances, and water heaters. And finally, alternative energy generation pertains to other additional sources of energy such as solar panels. Here are some innovative products featured at IBS that can contribute to energy efficiency:
TwinFresh energy recovery ventilation system recovers heat and moisture to reduce heating costs in winter and air conditioning costs in summer. The ventilator is designed for both extracting air from the interior as well as supplying fresh ventilation from the exterior—and it’s extremely quiet.
Blink LED Flush Mount Lighting Fixture
This sleek, low profile LED flush-mounted lighting fixture features LED technology that produces a wide light distribution and thus requires fewer lighting fixtures. Using only 13W of energy, the fixture is available in several finishes, Energy Star certified, damp location listed, and dimmable.
Green building practices for water efficiency focus on indoor and outdoor water use strategies with the goals of conserving rainwater and reducing water waste. Effective practices for indoor water use include water distribution systems and water saving fixtures. External water use practices may include irrigation systems, rainwater collection and distribution, gray water use, and sustainable landscaping. Here are two new products showcased at IBS that can contribute to water efficiency:
WaterFence uses an aesthetic fence around a home as a rainwater storage and management system. Rainwater from the roof goes into six- by seven-foot sections of the fence. It can store thousands of gallons, provide for a large portion of water needs, and can even serve as a recirculating water source for roof wetting systems to protect from fires.
This new type of whole-house water treatment system addresses chlorine, chemicals, and hard water without using electricity or salt. It does not waste water or discharge into the environment. The proprietary NaturSoft salt-free water softener is certified by the DVGW (the German technical and scientific association for gas and water) to prevent 99.6 percent of scale.
Resource efficiency includes design and construction practices that reduce the quantity of resources used during construction. This not only cuts down on the amount of raw materials consumed, but helps reduce the amount of waste generated and the costs of handling and transporting this material. Selecting material with long life span, low maintenance requirements, and good overall durability can ensure the materials will hold up well without requiring excessive care and upkeep by homeowners. In addition, by selecting material based on where it comes from, what it is made from, its composition, and how it can be repurposed after it is no longer used as intended, builders can greatly reduce waste and impact on the environment. Here are a couple of pioneering products that may contribute to resource efficiency:
Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators are air driven residential elevators, ranging from single to three-passenger, wheelchair-accessible home elevators. All models are capable of up to four stops and 35 feet in total rise. They don’t require a shaft, pit, or machine room. Rather than using cables or pistons, the unique air driven residential elevator is powered by air.
Ram Board is a heavy-duty, temporary but reusable floor protection for contractors made of 100 percent recycled material. Ram Board is non-staining and allows for the proper curing of new floors on jobsites.
Indoor Environmental Quality
An important criterion for green or sustainable building is indoor environmental quality (IEQ). It refers to the quality of a building’s environment in relation to the health and well-being of those who occupy space within it. The environmental factors that define the IEQ are thermal comfort, indoor air quality, acoustic comfort, and visual comfort. IBS featured several inventive products that may improve IEQ; here are two the Best of IBS judges noted as stand-outs:
Hot Art is a home heating solution that allows the customer to choose from stock images of art and photography or even use their own image to create a far infrared heating panel. New far infrared heating technology provides the same warming light as the sun without UV rays. Hot Art operates for significantly less costs than traditional alternatives. It heats objects and not the air, making it particularly useful for outdoor living spaces.
Hot Mirrors are decorative mirrors that are far infrared heating panels. They have significant heating capacity, and are an alternative to traditional space, spot or room heaters.
Pure Genius is hardwood flooring that uses a light-activated, air-purifying agent made of titanium dioxide to break down VOCs on contact and transform them into harmless molecules. The air-purifying agent is integrated into the finish. The flooring can purify air in a home by up to 85 percent. One Best of IBS Awards judge praised it as, “an innovative and non-intrusive way to improve indoor air quality.”