BuildingGreen Top-10 Products of 2010

The Top-10 products are chosen from a wide variety of green building products added in 2010 to the GreenSpec Directory, published by BuildingGreen. GreenSpec, along with Environmental Building News (EBN), are well-respected by industry professionals for providing authoritative information on sustainable design and construction. Products are listed in GreenSpec because they have passed a set of environmental criteria set by the editors. Manufacturers do not pay for listings. Neither EBN nor GreenSpec carries any advertising. In this regard they are considered objective and unbiased sources of information.


  1. NyloDeck composite decking from Nyloboard, LLC
    (CSI MasterFormat 06 73 00 – Composite Decking)
  2. Foamglas building insulation from Pittsburgh Corning
    (CSI MasterFormat 07 21 13 – Board Insulation)
  3. Ornilux bird-safe glass from Arnold Glas
    (CSI MasterFormat 08 80 00 – Glazing)
  4. FSC-certified office furniture from Knoll
    (CSI MasterFormat 12 50 01 – FSC-Certified Wood Furniture)
  5. Bensonwood OBPlus Wall System
    (CSI MasterFormat 13 34 00 – Fabricated Engineered Structures)
  6. Stealth toilet from Niagara Conservation Corp.
    (CSI MasterFormat 22 41 13 – Residential Toilets)
  7. Wilo variable-frequency-drive “smart” pumps
    (CSI MasterFormat 23 21 23 – Hydronic Pumps)
  8. Halton Heat Recovery Unit for commercial kitchen ventilation
    (CSI MasterFormat 23 75 00 – Custom-Packaged Outdoor HVAC Equipment)
  9. Xicato LED Spot Module
    (CSI MasterFormat 26 51 16 – LED Lighting)
  10. Electec halogen-free EZ-Wiring and EZ-Cabling systems
    (CSI MasterFormat 27 10 00 – Structured Cabling)

High resolution photos of products available here.


NyloDeck composite decking from Nyloboard, LLC

NyloDeck, introduced in September 2010, is an American-made composite decking produced from recycled carpet fiber and water-blown, VOC-free polyurethane binder. While it is currently using pre-consumer recycled waste carpet, the company plans to convert to 100% post-consumer recycled carpet in early 2011. NyloDeck is impervious to moisture, termites, mold, and mildew. The 5-½"-wide decking is available in two thicknesses: 7/8", which is suitable for spanning 16" on-center joists, and 1-1/8", which can span up to 24" on-center joists. The decking has a three-dimensional, embossed wood-grain surface and is available in three colors (Caramel, American Gray, and Cocoa), which are uniform throughout the material. The company will add an edge-groove option by early 2011 to accommodate the use of hidden fasteners. Decking must be spaced to allow for thermal expansion and contraction.

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NyloDeck, made from recycled carpet fiber, is available in three colors, including Cocoa, shown here. Photo: Nyloboard
NyloDeck is impervious to moisture, termites, mold, and mildew. Photo: Nyloboard
 

What makes this product green?

  • Post-consumer recycled content
  • Pre-consumer recycled content
  • Exceptional durability

LEED credit relevance:

  • MR Credit 4 – Recycled content

More information:

Nyloboard, LLC
14187 Industrial Park Blvd.
Covington, GA 30014
Phone: 770-385-6168
Fax: 770-786-5158
www.nyloboard.com

Foamglas building insulation from Pittsburgh Corning

Foamglas cellular glass insulation from Pittsburgh Corning is 100% glass, made from silica sand (60%), limestone (20%), soda (15%), and trace minerals (5%). Production is free of harmful blowing agents, and the material’s high compressive strength (without creep or deformation) and resistance to water and water vapor make it an appropriate substitute for extruded polystyrene, which contains the brominated flame retardant HBCD and is produced with HFC blowing agents that have a high global warming potential. Foamglas is noncombustible (without using flame retardants), resistant to corrosion in any environment, resistant to termites and rodents, dimensionally stable, and has a high compressive strength. Because of its closed-cell and inorganic structure, it will not support the growth of mold, fungi, or microorganisms. When installed as recommended with bitumen sealant or another suitable adhesive, Foamglas also serves as a radon air, and vapor barrier. The insulation value is a stable R-3.44 per inch. It is available in flat or tapered sheets, either unfaced or faced with a bitumen-impregnated sheet. It is not appropriate for inverted-roof-membrane systems or other horizontal building applications where it is exposed both to moisture and freeze-thaw conditions.

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Unfaced Foamglas being used on an exterior foundation wall. Photo: Pittsburgh Corning
Foamglas is a 100% inorganic cellular glass that is free of flame retardants and other chemical additives. Photo: Pittsburgh Corning
Foamglas, shown here in the bitumen-faced option, can be used to insulate beneath concrete floor slabs as well as walls and roofs. Photo: Pittsburgh Corning
 

What makes this product green?

  • Exceptional durability or low maintenance
  • Building components that reduce heating and cooling loads
  • Alternative to hazardous components
  • Releases minimal pollutants

LEED Credit relevance:

  • EA Credit 1 – Optimize Energy Performance
  • EA Prerequisite 2 – Minimum Energy Performance
  • EA Credit 1.3 – Optimize Energy Performance—HVAC

Reviewed in EBN: October 2010

More information:

Pittsburgh Corning
800 Presque Isle Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15239
Toll-free: 800-359-8433
Fax: 724-325-9704
www.foamglasinsulation.com

Ornilux bird-safe glass from Arnold Glas

According to the New York City Audubon Society, 100 million birds are killed annually in the United States through collisions with buildings, making it the second-greatest cause of avian mortality, after habitat destruction. To combat this problem, the German company Arnold Glas produces a specialty glazing with a pattern that reflects UV light, which is more visible to birds than to humans. While the original Ornilux glass had vertical stripes of the UV-reflective material, the current version, called Mikado for the game of pick-up-sticks, has a random pattern of UV-reflective lines. Ornilux glass is available in two insulated, argon-filled configurations: one with low-emissivity coating, the other with a heat-rejection coating. Ornilux is also available in a triple-laminated configuration, providing the visible UV pattern when viewed from either side; this uninsulated glass is used on outdoor displays and partitions. The original version of Ornilux was installed at the Center for Global Conservation at the Bronx Zoo in New York City; there are, as yet, no U.S. installations of the Mikado glass. Cost of Ornilux is significantly higher than standard glass, but it may be cost-competitive compared with other bird-protection strategies.

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Ornilux Mikado glass. The pattern is more visible in the reflected sky than when shaded by the building. Shown here is the triple-laminated version, which is UV-reflective from both sides. Photo: Jon Ogrydziak
Ornilux triple-laminate glass at the polar bear exhibit at the Munich Zoo. Photo: Arnold Glas
Mikado pattern on a sample of Ornilux low-e insulated glass. Photo: Jon Ogrydziak
 

What makes this product green?

  • Enhance wellbeing through connection to the outdoors
  • Reduce impacts from construction

LEED Credit relevance:

  • IEQ Credit 8.1 – Daylight and Views—Daylight

More information:

Arnold Glas
Roeder Windows & Doors LLC
476 E. Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 805-895-9436
www.ornilux.de (english website available)
www.ornilux.com

FSC-certified office furniture from Knoll

Knoll, Inc. produces a full line of commercial office furnishings, including casegoods, office systems, and tables, in a wide range of styles, materials, and finishes. All of Knoll’s standard furniture lines that incorporate wood now come standard with wood certified according to standards from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). With just a few exceptions, effective December 2009, Knoll began providing FSC-certified wood without asking, at no surcharge, and at standard lead times. Knoll is the only furniture company—and perhaps the only company of this size in any market sector—that has made such a significant commitment to sustainable forestry and FSC. Knoll has many other environmental achievements: the company pioneered powder coating of metals in 1986 (which cut VOC emissions 99%); became one of the first EPA Green Lights partners (now Energy Star) in 1993; was recycling virtually all waste by 1996; became the first OEM manufacturer in Michigan to achieve ISO 14000 certification; and introduced powder coating on wood in 1999.

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Knoll Repp office furniture line uses 100% FSC-certified wood. Photo: Knoll, Inc.
Knoll Repp office furniture line uses 100% FSC-certified wood. Photo: Knoll, Inc.
 

What makes this product green?

  • Certified wood
  • Releases minimal pollutants

LEED Credit relevance:

  • MR Credit 7 – Certified Wood

Mentioned in EBN: March 2003

More information:

Knoll, Inc.
1235 Water St.
East Greenville, PA 18041
Phone: 215-679-7991
Toll-free: 800-343-5665
Fax: 215-679-1385
www.knoll.com

Bensonwood OBPlus Wall System

Over more than 35 years, Tedd Benson and his company Bensonwood, have nurtured and led the timber-framing industry, popularizing this highly durable construction system. Bensonwood pioneered the use of salvaged wood in timber-frame construction; and invented the highly adaptable Open-Built construction platform. This Top-10 recognition for Bensonwood is for the company’s innovative OBPlus Wall system (“OB” for “open-built”) and its advanced panelized construction system. The wall system is framed using 9.5"-deep I-studs filled with R-35 dense-pack cellulose insulation, then clad with exterior moisture-resistant OSB sheathing (with taped joints). Advanced gasket technology is used for air sealing, detailing is provided to minimize thermal bridging, a drainage plane is installed on the exterior, and integral baseboard raceways are provided on the interior for electrical and data cables to eliminate wall penetrations for wiring. Bensonwood houses are designed using a sophisticated Swiss BIM (building information modeling) software, with direct output to computer-based milling equipment that cuts components to precise dimensions. The company also offers a Passive House options, achieving up to R-60 walls and comparable roof systems; its first Passive House, currently being completed in Vermont, was recently featured in The New York Times. The OBPlus wall system is being recognized for its superb energy performance, use of environmentally responsible materials, excellent durability, and Bensonwood’s signature elegance.

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Bensonwood home in New Hampshire built using the pre-fabricated OBPlus Wall System. Photo: Bensonwood
Cellulose-insulated OBPlus Wall System at the Bensonwood factory, showing interior wiring raceway. Photo: Alex Wilson
 

What makes this product green?

  • Components that reduce heating and cooling loads
  • Exceptional durability
  • Salvaged materials
  • Post-consumer recycled content

LEED Credit relevance:

  • EA Credit 1 – Optimize Energy Performance
  • EA Prerequisite 2 – Minimum Energy Performance
  • MR Credit 4 – Recycled content

More information:

Bensonwood
6 Blackjack Crossing
Walpole, NH 03608
Phone: 877-203-3562
www.bensonwood.com

Stealth toilet from Niagara Conservation Corp.

The Stealth 0.8 gallons-per-flush (gpf) ultra-high-efficiency toilet uses a vacuum-assist technology to achieve superb flush performance using very little water and producing very little noise. The vacuum is achieved by creating an air bubble in the trapway as the toilet tank is filling up after flushing. Air at the top of a sealed tank-within-a-tank is forced into the trapway below the toilet bowl, and this bubble creates the vacuum during the flush. Unlike pressure-assist toilets, which also have a tank-within-a-tank, the Stealth toilet is very quiet—even quieter than many standard gravity-flush toilets. The toilet evacuates 600 grams, as measured by third-party MaP testing. Note that this is the same flush volume that many dual-flush toilets use on the light flush, and it’s used for all flushing. Several users we have heard from find it very satisfactory. This two-piece vitreous china toilet comes with either an ADA-compliant elongated bowl or a round-front bowl. It has a ten-year warranty on parts, a lifetime warranty on the vitreous china, and is available in white. This toilet is also marketed and sold in Canada as the Hennessy & Hinchcliffe Proficiency N7717 and N7716.

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The Niagara Stealth toilet uses a vacuum-assist flushing mechanism to achieve very good flush performance with very low noise and only 0.8 gallons per flush. Photo: Niagara Conservation Corp.
The Niagara Stealth toilet uses a vacuum-assist flushing mechanism to achieve very good flush performance with very low noise and only 0.8 gallons per flush. Photo: Niagara Conservation Corp.
Diagram showing how the Niagara Stealth toilet works: as the tank refills after flushing, air is pushed into the trapway, creating a bubble, which results in suction during the flush. Graphic: Niagara Conservation Corp.
 

What makes this product green?

  • Fixtures and equipment that conserve water

LEED credit relevance:

  • WE Credit 2 – Innovative Wastewater Technologies
  • WE Credit 3 – Water Use Reduction
  • WE Prerequisite 1 – Water Use Reduction—20% Reduction

Reviewed in EBN: July 2010

More information:

Niagara Conservation Corp.
45 Horsehill Rd., Ste. 106
Hanover Technical Center
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927
Phone: 973-829-0800
Toll-free: 800-831-8383
Fax: 973-829-1488
www.niagaraconservation.com

Wilo variable-frequency-drive “smart” pumps

Wilo’s commercial Stratos and residential Stratos ECO pumps use integral variable-frequency drives (VFD) and electronically commutated motors (ECMs) to reduce circulation energy by over 70%, compared with standard, single-speed pumps. This is significant because pumping can account for as much as a fifth of electricity use in commercial buildings. The pumps use advanced circuitry logic to analyze their own rotational speed and current draw and compute where the unit is on its “pump curve” and optimize pump speed accordingly. Additional features include soft-start, high-torque design, built-in data logging (records hours of operation, number of starts, accumulated power consumption), overload protection, and such accessories as infrared remote control and interface modules to assist in remote monitoring and control. Manufactured in Germany, these pumps are used for hydronic heating, air conditioning, solar water heating, ground-source heat pumps, and other water-circulation applications. Because they can adapt to changing water demands and reduce the amount of water circulated, they optimize the pump speed and avoid the problem of pump oversizing, which is the primary reason so much energy is wasted in water pumping. By permitting easier zoning (using zone valves), these pumps can achieve savings in heating fuel use as well as pumping energy. While Wilo was first out of the gate with advanced VFD pumps, the Danish company Grundfos was close behind and also offers such pumps with its Magna line of commercial circulators and Alpha line of residential pumps. Both manufacturers offer a wide range of pump sizes in their respective product lines.

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The Wilo Stratos ECO line of residential ECM “smart” pumps, which have integral variable-frequency drives. Photo Wilo
Wilo Stratos commercial ECM “smart” pump, which has an integral variable-frequency drive. Photo Wilo
 

What makes this product green?

  • Equipment that conserves energy and manages loads

LEED Credit relevance:

  • EA Credit 1 – Optimize Energy Performance
  • EA Prerequisite 2 – Minimum Energy Performance
  • EA Credit 1.3 – Optimize Energy Performance—HVAC

Reviewed in EBN: September 2010

More information:

Wilo
1290 N 25 Ave.
Melrose Park, IL 60160
Phone: 708-338-9456
Toll-free: 866-945-6872
Fax: 708-338-9455
www.wilo-usa.com

Halton Heat Recovery Unit for commercial kitchen ventilation

First introduced in 2006 by Martin Air Systems, the Halton Heat Recovery Unit (HRU) is now distributed worldwide by Halton Group. The HRU is a pre-packaged exhaust and make-up air unit for commercial kitchens that incorporates energy recovery. Energy savings can be dramatic, since commercial kitchen ventilation systems often exhaust 8,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm) or more at a temperature of 110°F or higher. Payback is typically in the two- to five-year range. The system uses demand-control ventilation to adjust the fan speed of the exhaust fan (based on feedback from heat and infrared sensors) and the make-up-air fan. A fin-tube heat exchanger captures heat from the exhaust and transfers it to a glycol loop that can be routed to pre-heat make-up air or water (or both depending on outside conditions). Exhaust air speeds through a 90° bend, which “impinges” most of the grease out of the air. The grease is then collected for disposal, and any that remains can be removed during routine cleaning. Approximately 100 Halton HRU systems have been installed to date, mostly in Canada, though the first units are being installed in the northern U.S. Systems that preheat make-up air in the winter can be configured to heat water during the summer months.

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Interior of Halton Heat Recovery Unit, showing copper heat exchanger tubing that captures waste heat from commercial kitchen range hood exhaust fans. Photo: Halton Group
Halton rooftop-mounted Heat Recovery Unit that captures waste heat from commercial kitchen range hood fans. Photo: Halton Group
Schematic of Halton Heat Recovery Unit showing transfer of heat from kitchen exhaust air for use in preheating incoming air or water. Graphic: Halton Group
 

What makes this product green?

  • Building components that reduce heating and cooling loads
  • Equipment that conserves energy and manages loads

LEED Credit relevance:

  • EA Credit 1.3 – Optimize Energy Performance—HVAC
  • EA Prerequisite 2 – Minimum Energy Efficiency Performance

Mentioned in EBN: February 2010

More information:

Halton Group
101 Industrial Drive
Scottsville, KY 42164
800-442-5866
www.haltoncompany.com

Xicato LED Spot Module

The Xicato Spot Module (XSM) is an LED module that is coupled with a separate heat sink, reflector, and remote driver. Designed for use in place of MR16 halogen lamps, the Xicato module is available with outputs of 400, 700, and 1,000 lumens (1,300- and 2,000-lumen models are in development) in 2700K, 3000K, and 4000K color temperatures. Xicato’s “remote phosphor” coating absorbs the off-color light emitted from the LEDs and re-emits a consistent, color-corrected light that is similar to that of halogen lamps, with a color-rendering index (CRI) of 81 for the standard XSM (45–55 lumens per watt ) and 98 for the Artist Series XSM (33–40 lpw). Interchangeable reflectors allow different beam angles. Xicato does not produce fixtures; the OEM manufacturer supplies the LED module component to several dozen fixture manufacturers, including some that are being used in museums and art galleries.

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Xicato Spot Module that relies on multiple LEDs and remote phosphor to produce high-quality white light. Photo: Xicato
Xicato Spot Module that relies on multiple LEDs and remote phosphor to produce high-quality white light. Photo: Xicato
 
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Light fixtures from Lighting Services Inc (LSI) that use the 98-CRI Xicato Spot Module Artist Series illuminating the Brooker Gallery at the Cicago Field Museum. Photo: Lighting Services Inc
LumeLEX 2024 light fixture from Lighting Services Inc (LSI) that is made with the modular Xicato Spot Module, a finned heat sink, reflector, and remote LED driver. Photo: Lighting Services Inc
 

What makes this product green?

  • Alternatives to hazardous components
  • Equipment that conserves energy and manages loads

LEED Credit relevance:

  • EA Prerequisite 2 – Minimum Energy Performance
  • EA Credit 1 – Optimize Energy Performance
  • EA Credit 1.1 – Optimize Energy Performance—Lighting Power

More information:

Xicato, Inc.
4880 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 204
San José, California 95129
805-403-8258
www.xicato.com

Electec halogen-free EZ-Wiring and EZ-Cabling systems

Despite the millions of miles of electrical wire and data cable used in North American buildings, and despite recent advances in removing hazardous constituents from electrical components in manufacturing (including wiring), remarkably little progress has been made in making less hazardous wiring available for construction applications. That is now changing. Electec’s EZ-Wiring is a cost-effective plug-and-play modular wiring system that contains no halogens (bromine, chlorine, or fluorine), which are commonly used in cable sheathing, and no heavy metals. Rated as “low-smoke, zero-halogen” (LSZH), these systems are compliant with the European Union’s RoHS and REACH programs. The EZ-Wiring D-Series is a four-wire system targeted primarily to lighting applications. The H-Series is an eight-wire system for applications such as systems furniture, advanced lighting controls, and raised-floor systems. Electec’s EZ-Cabling is a LSZH steel-shielded voice/data zone cabling system that satisfies requirements for Cat 5e, 6, and 6A cabling. All of these systems are designed for easy reuse and reconfiguration using foolproof, uniquely keyed connections. This provides benefits in the form of resource and cost savings, easier retrofits, and preventing the buildup of abandoned cabling in walls or air-handling spaces, a common fire and health hazard. While the product cost is higher than that of standard cabling systems, the installed cost, according to the manufacturer, is comparable to (or slightly less than) standard construction, because of reduction in installation time.

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Electec’s Low-Smoke Zero-Halogen EZ-Wiring System features fast plug-in connections. Photo: Electec, Ltd.
Installing a receptacle box using Electec’s halogen-free EZ-Wiring System. Photo: Electec, Ltd.
 

What makes this product green?

  • Reduces impacts from construction or demolition
  • Releases minimal pollutants
  • Alternatives to hazardous components

Reviewed in EBN: May 2010

More information:

Electec, Ltd.
5977 Hazeldean Rd., Ste. 100
Ottawa, Ontario K2S 1B9
Phone: 613-836-0300
Toll-free: 866-233-5328
Fax: 613-836-0391
www.electeconline.com