10 Innovations in Green Building Technology

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Build green or have an interest in building green? If so, take a look at 10 of the most innovative products—all nominees of the Best in IBS Awards at the NAHB International Builders’ Show—in green building technology today.


Big Ass Solutions – Haiku Designer Series LED fixture

The Haiku Designer Series LED fixture is designed to be an efficient, sleek and convenient for the consumer. It is so smart, that once it’s set up, it doesn’t even require the consumer to have a mobile app to guide its use. It’s composed of 144 energy-efficient LEDs, has a bank of sensors including motion, infrared, ambient light and temperature, and it’s offered in several different color options.orb1

The newly trademarked Active Light Equalization technology adjusts the LEDs’ brightness automatically as the ambient light levels change to 16 different dimming settings. “When the sunlight pours in, our light will automatically dim down. Or you can schedule it to dim setting 5 and 2200K, which will help the body release melatonin for a good night’s sleep,” said Keith McKay, a business development manager for Big Ass Solutions. “Users can create customized lighting for any occasion — from amber to bright white.”

BASF – HP Wall Systems 
These innovative, structural insulated wall assemblies achieve up to R-34 in 2×4 construction, provide lateral bracing without OSB, save lumber while improving structural and energy performance, and help to simplify the construction process.

“The great thing about this system is that you can achieve 2×6 performance in a 2×4 construct,” said Chris Rosemond, a construction science architect with BASF. “These systems provide lighter weight, durable, long-lasting assemblies in a single-integrated system, which allow you to build stronger homes with less materials.”

According to the manufacturer, the HP+ E Series and HP+ X Series systems both exceed current codes in compressive strength, offer single plates with no direct load path required and can reduce lumber content by up to 25%. They also help improve moisture management, mitigating moisture-related losses, reduce condensation risk, and improve heating and cooling loads and associated utility usage.

Panasonic – SelectCycler Whole House Ventilation System
SelectCycler is a cost effective, whole ventilation solution for ASHRAE 62.2 compliance. By combining the best parts of both central fan integrated ventilation and exhaust fan ventilation, SelectCycler provides a high quality, energy-efficient ventilation solution. SACG2K-1024

“Instead of using exhaust only, we can determine where the air comes from, which maximizes inbound and outbound air, and delivers fresh air throughout the home effectively and efficiently,” said Ken Nelson, northwest sales manager for the Panasonic eco products division.

The system is comprised of the WhisperGreen Select fan + Controller, FanConnect Wall Switch and Motorized Supply Damper.

Aquarius Brands – Retrax Solar Solutions
“There are four problems with solar,” said Howard Ullman, CEO of Atmospheric Water Solutions, the parent company of Aquarius Brands. “It’s expensive to install. Once it’s installed on a roof, we may need roof repair. Most home owners cannot install them on their own once they’re installed; and if you sell your house, you just left your solar.”

His solution: a preassembled, brand new patented3KW-5KW solar product that is easy to install and relocate. It comes folded up, pre-wired, and can be activated in less than 30 minutes. The panels can be transported by truck or aircraft, and no scaffolding is required.

 

Alpha ProTech Engineered Products, Inc. – TECHNOply Synthetic Roof Underlayment
Danny Montgomery, senior vice president of manufacturing and engineered products for Alpha ProTech, recommends builders use TECHNOply Synthetic Roof Underlayment, a vertically integrated, polymer-based roofing material to replace traditional asphaltic felt papers.

“What makes it advanced is that it is manufactured and constructed from numerous types of polymers that are all polypropylene based,” he said. “We’re engaged in a full recycling program that allows us to incorporate scrap materials back into the manufacturing process without any detriment to the final product.”

As a result, TECHNOply brings no harmful VOCs or contaminates on the job site, outlasts asphalt-based products and answers the question of sustainability, he said.

Lennox – iComfort S30
The iComfort S30 is designed to help deliver the ultimate in home comfort by using geofencing monitoring technology.

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“Do programmable thermostats save money? No. They’re difficult to program and most people don’t program them,” said Anubrav Rnajan, director of product management for Lennox International. “So we made it very simple for home owner with our smart away mode. It automatically adjusts the temperature based on whether or not you’re within the geofence.”

Additionally, the device measures outside temperature and humidity so that when a home owner sets it at 72 degrees, it actually feels like 72 degrees in the home. It also monitors air quality based on ZIP code, and automatically turns on the fan to clean the air.

Oikkos GroupInterior and Exterior Wall Finishes
These premier wall finishes, which feature natural binders with materials such as iron, concrete, Travertine, marble, ceramic, Corten steel, can be used in a variety of external and internal applications. They have no joints, are easily and inexpensively applied to standard walls, and the texture can be customized as desired.

Huber Engineered Woods – Zip Systems Sheathing and Tape
WINNER – Best of IBS Awards – Best Energy Efficient Product
The Zip System is a code approved, multifunctional building envelope solution with a weather resistive barrier that is combined into one product. Don Simon, education and training manager for Huber Engineered Woods, says that compared to traditional home building and what can often be a cumbersome process, the Zip System offers a unique, one-stop-shop solution that is easy to install and warranty.

 

Outback Power Technologies, Inc. – FLEXpower Radian Grid/Hybrid System
In a world of grid-connected systems without storage (the vast majority of systems), a grid/hybrid with energy storage is the future perfect system, said Mark Cerasuolo, senior manager of marketing for Outback Power Technologies, Inc.

Outback’s power conversion for solar and other microgrid renewable energy systems is used around the globe to power hospitals, resorts, farms, military bases and anywhere electricity is needed. Now there’s a way to store that power for use anytime with the company’s newly launched FLEXpower Radian Grid/Hybrid energy storage technology, he said.

With the FLEXpower energy storage system, home owners can sell their surplus energy back to the grid (providing the utility company allows them to), which can help significantly reduce utility bills. Energy can be used whether the sun is shining or not, which is could mean great cost savings during times of the day when there is peak energy demand. With enough solar saved up, the home owner can effectively go off grid, Cerasuolo said.

“An ordinary grid-connected solar power system must disconnect from the grid per UL safety standards during an emergency. Without the grid, all that solar energy sits useless,” Cerasuolo said. “The FLEXpower system turns the home into a microgrid, so the homeowner can keep living comfortably without the use of a generator. They can use solar 24/7, at night, during outages and emergencies, and the utility companies benefit from more stable grid.”

NanaWall – SL80/81
“People love the NanaWall,” said Luke Mefford, national manager of the Residential Builders Program at NanaWall Systems, Inc. The company’s newest wall system is system engineered to be floor supported, eliminating the need to use steel, provides a U-Value of .21-.29, and can be customized in a wide variety of sizes and finishes, Mefford said.

The superior U-Values are achieved with a specially designed web of polyamide plastic reinforced with glass fibers thermal break in panel and frame profiles that are 3 1/8” thick, according to the manufacturer’s website.

“It maximizes the glass wall surface, but minimizes the frame surface,” Mefford said.

The multi-chamber profiles with 1 3/16” wide quadruple thermal insulation and cavities can accommodate either double or triple insulated glass, providing heat insulation that meets the latest European Energy saving regulations (EnEV).

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Comments (20)

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  1. Scott Niesen says:

    Innovation is an outstanding opportunity to differentiate and it provides an opportunity to make our lives better by being more efficient with our limited resources.

    Perhaps geothermal heating, cooling and hot water should be “the other solar energy”.

    After all it is the sun that provides a constant earth temperature 365 days out of the year which translates into a properly designed and installed systems providing 100% of the heating, cooling and hot water needs of the intended property. Still, adoption of geothermal systems in the United States lags with a 2-5% household penetration. Almost every builder I meet says “geothermal, that is expensive”. If they only new that the American Society of Heating and Cooling Engineers rate the useful life of geothermal machines at almost 25 years vs conventional combustion systems at 12-14 years. Plus the fusion built PE loop-field is guaranteed for 50 years with accelerated age testing life expectancy of 100’s of years. I guess that is why the EPA describes geothermal as “the most cost effective, energy efficient, heating, cooling and hot water system available” period.

    In the meantime conventional equipment providers are entering into “a battle of who can save more money by setting back your thermostat, minimizing your discomfort.” Big names like Lennox, Carrier, Trane, Honeywell, Google and others are engaged in this battle rather than simply and easily providing the most comfortable and efficient heating and cooling system available.

    Did I mention that geothermal has no ignition or combustion? It works by simply moving energy and utilizing the earth as it’s storage system. Requires good old fashion math and fundamentals of heat transfer to assure the sizing is correct and the heat transfer loop can be installed virtually everywhere.

    Finally, the geothermal systems that I am referring to have nothing to do with geysers or hot water springs. It’s been around for over 35 years and when it is designed and installed properly it provides outstanding year-round comfort. Epic near Madison, Wisconsin is the second largest geothermal system in North America, second only to Ball State University in Indiana.

    Comments and observations welcome.

  2. Chris says:

    Quite innovation product. Price should be within reasonable range. Payback is important factor for any energy efficient product.

  3. Emily Stone says:

    The NanaWall looks great, a light design allows you to enjoy your garden whilst also getting pools of light all year through.

  4. Very interesting article. I enjoyed reading this.

  5. kumar aman says:

    Very nice answer. And instruction

  6. Permit Guys says:

    Retrax Looks like a great option for solar. This type of system seems to have potential for many different mounting possibilities. If enough ground space is available I would think that to be a god option.. Curious what type of weight it adds to an existing structure..

  7. Jonathan says:

    There are some incredible products in this post. The relocatable solar panels are a great idea. Thank you!

  8. Technikola says:

    NanaWall is a very amazing invention, got impressed with this product, Solar panels are also the most useful invention. This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for providing these details.

  9. These are all amazing innovations, especially the ventilation system. I believe every house needs it for better health of the family living in.

  10. poppy jordan says:

    Interesting Blog! Green building is I guess the best idea for environment protection. Thanks for sharing such amazing green building innovations with us. I haven’t heard about this before but you described it very well. The house ventilation system is just awesome. Keep Sharing more with us.:)

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