A selection of eco-friendly introductions from the floor of the home building industry's biggest event.
Leviton Mfg. Designed for use with a wide variety of dimmable CFL light bulbs, the Decora CFL Slide Dimmer optimizes the performance of dimmable CFL bulbs. Unlike standard dimmers that are not always compatible with dimmable CFLs, the CFL Slide Dimmer detects whether the bulb is an incandescent or a dimmable CFL, determines high- and low-end dimming capabilities, and adjusts the dimming range accordingly. The CFL Slide simmer helps eliminate problems dimming CFLs with standard dimmers, such as flickering or a small range of dimming. www.leviton.com. –L.H.
CertainTeed. EnerGen solar roofing features Uni-Solar thin-film laminates that install with no roof penetrations and lie flush with traditional shingles for a streamlined appearance. The shingles provide .5 kW per 100 square feet. Designed for installation by building and roofing pros, the system comes with in pre-engineered kits with all components. www.certainteed.com. –Katy Tomasulo
Dow. The company previewed its new Powerhouse solar shingles, building-integrated photovoltaics that install flat against the roof deck in the same manner as an asphalt shingle. The shingles require no on-roof wiring and can be installed by builders and roofers; the electrical circuitry is integrated into each shingle, the company says, and the shingles link to each other via plug-style connectors and then require only minimum roof penetration to connect to the home. Though specific specs are not yet available, Powerhouse, which will be available in 2011, is estimated to provide about 40 percent to 80 percent of a typical home’s energy needs. www.dow.com. –K.T.
EarthTronics. By harvesting energy from the tips of the turbine blades, rather than through a mechanical center gear, the Honeywell Wind Turbine from WindTronics starts producing energy at 2 mph and remains operational through 42 mph, the maker says, unlike traditional turbines that start generating energy at 7.5 mph and shut down at 29 mph. The unit can produce 2,000 kWh a year in Class 3 winds and 2,752 kWh a year in Class 4 winds while operating at a height of 33 feet. www.windtronics.com. --V.M.
Sherwin-Williams. The company has enhanced its Harmony product with a formula that helps reduce odors in the air, similar to baking soda, even after a surface is painted, the maker says. The zero-VOC product now also sports better hide and more durability, the firm adds, and antimicrobial properties help it resist mildew. The latex paint is Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified and Greenguard Certified for Children and Schools. www.sherwinwilliams.com. –V.M.
LifeTime Lumber. Made with fly ash recovered from power plants mixed with polyurethane, LifeTime Lumber decking is fire- and mold-resistant, impervious to termites and dry rot, and will not split or fade, according to the firm. The decking cuts and fastens like wood, and features a redwood-based wood-grain. The 2x6 deck boards have a joist span rating of 24 inches. Six colors are offered. www.lifetimelumber.com. –K.T.
GE. Currently in testing, the company’s smart-grid-enabled appliances will communicate between the utility and the homeowner to ensure appliances are operating at the optimum time of day, lessening the load on the power grid and saving the homeowner money. For example, the refrigerator will hold the high-energy defrost cycle until off-peak hours; the water heater will operate in its most efficient mode during high-demand periods; and appliances will shift to power-saving modes until rates are lower. Accompanying this launch will be the introduction of a Home Energy Manager (shown), which will monitor energy use throughout the home. The 7-inch touchscreen display provides a graphical interface to view real-time and long-term energy consumption, as well as water consumption, solar energy generation (if applicable), weather forecasts, and more. www.ge.com. –K.T.
Broan-NuTone. The company’s recessed fan/lights now include a sensor that turns the fan on when it senses a quick rise in humidity then turns it off automatically. The Energy Star-rated unit looks like a traditional recessed light, but contains a concealed 70-cfm ventilation fan that operates at 1.5 sones. The auto shut-off feature is adjustable from five to 60 minutes or can be operated manually. The fan is UL listed for use over the tub or shower. www.broan.com. –Katy Tomasulo
Georgia-Pacific. DryPly plywood subfloor has a water-repellant coating that absorbs up to 40% less water during the normal construction cycle than uncoated plywood, the maker says. Backed by a lifetime limited warranty, the product is also SFI certified. 800-284-5347. www.gp.com. –V.M.
Huber Engineered Woods. The company has refined the tape gun for its ZIP System of structural roof and wall sheathing, which feature a built-in air and moisture barrier to eliminate the need for felt and housewrap. The tape gun, which is used to seal panel seams, loads twice as fast as the original gun and is designed to be more durable on the jobsite. www.zipsystem.com. –K.T.
Amana. The Tandem laundry pair is designed to offer increased capacity, high efficiency, and a stylish look at a more affordable price point, says the firm. The Energy Star-rated washer uses 73 percent less water and 71 percent less energy than conventional top loaders, according to the company, and it is CEE Tier 3-qualified. Both units feature sound dampeners for quiet operation and “Touch and Go” controls for simple programming. www.insideadvantage.com. –K.T.