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Top Green Building Products for 2016 - Part I: Highlights From BuildingGreen’s Annual List

Molly Shaw

BuildingGreen, an independent publishing company, committed to bringing members accurate, unbiased and timely green design information has released its list of top transformative products for the New Year.

The innovative makers of these products are doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints, while saving energy and water, and offering long-lasting, safe solutions.

Here are a few that made the list:

Honeywell Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent: A low GWP Foam Blowing Agent With All the Benefits of HFCs

Traditional spray polyurethane foam (SPF) offers solid insulating and air sealing properties, but has an adverse effect on the environment. According to BuildingGreen: “Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) is the latest advance in foam blowing technology developed by Honeywell. With a global warming potential (GWP) of 1, the product's impact on the environment is much lower than current HFCs used in the industry.Solstice LBA is a suitable replacement for other liquid foam blowing agents and also offers significant performance benefits over foams made with HFC-245fa, including greater foam yield, improved compressive strength and up to a 10% increase in thermal performance. Stay warm and reduce global warming with Solstice LBA!

Honeywell Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (Photo: West Development Group)
nuLEDS Power-over-Ethernet (PoE): The Plug-and-Play Solution for LEDs

Most high-efficiency LED lighting systems use standard high-voltage wiring that is expensive to install and modify because the alternating current (AC) power has to be converted to direct current (DC) power. Flickering lights and performance problems are often the result. nuLEDS Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) LED lighting system uses DC Cat 5 or Cat 6 Ethernet cables — the same ones that connect your laptop — to carry both power and data to LED systems. The system allows up to 60 watts for lighting and data, carried over low-voltage cable that creates a “plug-and-play” system that is safe, simple and inexpensive.

nuLEDS Power-over-Ethernet

(Photo: nuLED)
Unity Homes High-Performance Panelized Homes: Fossil-fuel Free Homebuilding

Tedd Benson, founder of Unity Homes started the New Hampshire-based homebuilder to raise the bar from current industry standards.

“There’s a serious defect rate in American homes today — anywhere from 15 to 80 percent,” says Benson. “In any other industry if you had a defect rate of any more than 1 percent, you’d be out of business.”

Using renewable resources, such as wood and cellulose and low to no-VOC materials and finishes, Unity's Zūm modelassembled on-site at Greenbuild in just three days, is a prime example of how a green home can be efficient, affordable and stylish. The process starts with sophisticated CAD-CAM production modeling to help create panelized wall systems and pods (small prefabricated modules used for bathrooms, mechanical rooms and kitchens). The walls are insulated with cellulose to R-35 and roofs are insulated to R-38 to R-44.

Unity's Zum model home at night

(Photo: Unity Homes)
Sanden SanCo2 Heat Pump Water Heater: The First Eco-friendly CO2 Hot Water Solution

Most industry standard heat pumps use hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants such as R410a, which has a 100-year GWP. Sanden now offers a residential heat pump water heater that uses CO2 as the refrigerant and is capable of delivering enough hot water for domestic hot water use and even hyronic heating in more modern homes.The SanCO2 system consists of two parts: the outdoor unit, where hot water is produced using the CO2 refrigerant to extract heat from ambient air, and the 60- to 80-gallon storage tank, which is installed inside the home. The closed-loop system uses less energy and allows for faster heat recovery, resulting in lower operating costs than traditional electric tank heaters or typical heat pumps. Hot water, naturally with Sanden!

Sanden SANCo2

(Photo: Sanden)
Telsa Powerwall and Powerpack: Energy Storage for a Sustainable Home

The majority of grid-tied PV systems can only store power for daily use, lacking backup power capacity. Storing this electricity helps minimize utility power and ensures the system functions in an outage. Telsa’s Powerwall and Powerback home battery systems charge using electricity generated from solar panels. Telsa’s Powerwall allows the home to run on solar energy through the night. Automated, compact and simple to install, Telsa's Powerwall can help homeowners achieve net-zero energy and allow homes to function almost entirely off-the-grid.

Telsa Powerwall and Powerpack

(Photo: Telsa)

A big thanks to BuildingGreen for the info on this first round of products.

But, wait -- there's more...

Look for the upcoming list: Top Green Products - Part II, to learn more about products/manufacturers that are stealing the show in 2016.