This week Boston, Massachusetts hosted the United States Green Building Council’s GreenBuild 365 ,drawing a crowd of over 29,000 people for lectures, green building exhibitions, and networking. During this week, Building Green LLC announced its pick of the top ten 2008 green building products drawn from its coverage on its website, BuildingGreen.com, and Greenspec Directory.
“Our selections of the Top-10 Green Building Products represent a wide range of product types in many different application areas,” noted BuildingGreen president Alex Wilson. There are a particularly large number of interior products in this year’s group of winners: the first FSC-certified and formaldehyde-free bamboo flooring; doors made with wheat-straw particleboard; a line of zero-VOC paint; a transparent finish produced from a byproduct of cheese making; and a line of organic fabrics.
Three of the products this year save energy, including a low-cost, solar water-heating system; a combination heating, water heating, and heat-recovery ventilation system; and a system for monitoring real-time energy (and water) use in buildings. Water saving products are represented by a line of rainwater storage tanks — the first rainwater storage equipment ever recognized in our Top-10 lists.
Fully half of the products this year are green in part because they are made from natural, rapidly renewable, or agricultural waste materials; natural materials often require significantly less energy to manufacture. A new compressed-earth masonry block is particularly noteworthy in this regard. “Most of the Top-10 products this year have multiple environmental attributes,”said Wilson as stated in BuildingGreen’s press release.
The top Ten products are as follows:
This product is compact-earth block used as a replacement for concrete masonary units. According to the website, the block is made up to 50% pre-recycled content and requires 40% less energy to manufacture, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint. More information on BuildingGreen reveals that it meets ASTM C-90 for loading bearing concrete masonry units, its unique earthen appearance is created without any added dyes or pigment, and it will be initially shipped to Northern California in late 2008. Regional manufacturing plants are planned so that the product can be shipped at a low transportation cost and carbon impacts. Right now only its landscaping block is available; however, its structural full and half blocks will be available in late 2008.
I have been following the production of this door since the inception of Green Talk. Masonite bought PrimeBoard, a wheatboard manufacturing company, several years ago. I have always wondered what was Masonite going to do with this wheatboard company. I knew from my conversations with one of Masonite’s environmental engineers, that eventually all of their Safe ‘N Sound Doors’ cores would be comprised of wheatboard. Last February, when I was writing about everything under the sun, Masonite issued a press release about its sustainable Safe and Sound Door products, comprising of the Safe ‘N Sound Door and the Safe ‘N Sound Emerald Door, both containing a wheatboard door core (DorCor®.)
Between the two door products, Emerald Door is more sustainable. It does not contain any added urea-formaldehyde, its skin is a wood composite, and its stiles and rail are made out of wood. The doors are FSC certified.
The door is available in passage and bifold doors in 6’8”, 7’0” and 8’0” heights; 1’0” through 3’0” passage widths; 2’0”, 2’6”, 3’0” bifold widths; 1-3/8” DorCor® Solid Core construction.
In April, 2008, Smith & Fong announced that it obtained FSC certification for its plywood and bamboo flooring. Since late 2007, the Company offered PlybooPure Bamboo Flooring which does not contain any added formaldehyde binders. PlybooPure’s low emitting and rapidly renewable materials and FSC certication earned it a spot in the top ten BuildingGreen products.
The flooring is 5/8” x 3 3⁄4” x 76 1⁄4 flat grain, and comes in either amber or natural, pre-finished with aluminium oxide or unfinished. See additional accessories associated with the flooring.
Natura Paint is a zero VOC, low odor paint with contains Benjamin Moore’s green promise, that its paints will exceed the strictest industry standards. Their green promise standard was created to cut down on the consumer confusion of all the different third party certifications such as Green Seal, GreenGuard, and Master Painter’s Institute (MPI) just to name a few. Benjamin Moore will be seeking their own independent testing.
According to the Company, Natura Paint remains a zero VOC paint after tinting unlike some of its competitors. It is fade resistant, washable, and splatter resistant. I am wondering if this paint will replace Eco-Spec, one of Benjamin Moores low voc paints?
It is only available in California, Texas, and Washington, but will be available nationwide Spring 2009.
Polywhey Natural Wood Finish is made out of recycled whey protein, a by-product of the dairy industry. The Company claims that it has twice the hardness of ordinary water-based floor finishes, scratch and water resistant, and does not yellow. It contains no toxic heavy metals, and is low-odor, and low VOC. The 1 gallon product covers 500-600 feet, dries to the touch in two hours, and cures within one week. The product is available in pint, quart, one gallon, and five gallon containers in satin, semi-gloss, or gloss finishes. A one gallon costs $62.00. Note, even the cans are made from 100% pre-consumer recycled polypropylene.
The Company also sells a furniture finishes.
If you are a follower of Green Talk, green fabrics are one of my favorite subjects. I have previously written about O Ecotextiles and have paid homage to the two sisters. Patty and Leigh Ann, behind this wonderful company. I am not surprised that they made the top Ten.
As I have spoken before, these women have really done their homework to make sure that the creation of their organic textiles made of hemp, cotton, flax, silk, abaca, ramie, or bamboo do not create any harmful ecological effects on human or aquatic life which includes the chemicals used in processing the textiles through the diposal of the wasterwater. The textiles are produced in living-wage environments.
In addition, fabrics are third-party certified to meet the Oeko Tex Standards, with some fabrics also certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
The Matrix is an all in one heating system comprised of a gas fired condensing water furnace and boiler, condensing water heater, heat recovery ventilator, and is pre-wired for air conditioning. I think it is only missing the kitchen sink!
According to this Candian Company, this integrated dynamo uses less electricity than its competitors. In addition, its high efficiency heat exchanger reduces gas consumption by as much as thirty percent compared to other systems. Its powerful microprocessor electronics analyzes the home environment so that it only produces the necessary energy needed to increase comfort level. Since the Matrix contains several different heating and air conditioning components, it eliminates the need for separate appilances and redundant energy usage.
The Matrix is the first product to meet Canada’s CSA-P.10 standard for highest efficiency and for integrated mechanical systems.
For dealers near you, click here.
SunCache is a lower cost solar hot water option for the SUNBELT region. According to the website, “SunCache preheats cold water before it enters a conventional back-up water heater” via a cooper heat exchanger inside the polyethylene panel.
The Company claims that this solar hot water system cost less than half of the conventional solar hot water systems on the market resulting in a shorter payback period. Its lower price is due to its extensive use of polymers without the need to use costly aluminum or cooper in its manufacturing. The water heater is sold as a complete kit rather than requiring the installer to assemble products sourced from a variety of other suppliers and thereby reduces labor costs. Only PEX tubes and a thermostatic mixing value will need to be supplied. In addition, its low weight eliminates the cost of a crane since two people can easily lift the panel.
Other benefits include low profile similar to a skylight and fifteen-twenty year lifetime warranty.
Agileswaves Resource Monitor provides real time energy and water consumption for commercial and residential dwellings. Invented by former NASA scientist, the system seeks to alter behavior through emailes and text messages to notify you of leaks, excessive energy use or carbon emissions. The Company claims the system can save more than twenty percent of your energy and water costs simply by making you aware of your consumption habits.
This system integrates a web based interface to track information for your carbon footprint. provides up to the minute energy consumption, and monitors energy costs, in addition to the alerts noted above.
The beauty of the Rainwater Hog is that due to its narrow size (71″x19″x 8.5″), it is able to fit where space is a premium. It can easily fit under a deck, the side of your house, or along your fence. It is only intended for non-potable water use and has the capacity of approximately 47 gallons or 180 liters. Made of virgin polyethylene and molded in food grade plastic in compliance with the FDA and HPB regulatory standards for food contact.
It comes in bronze, olive, green, and a range of other colors such as terracotta and sandstone for orders of 20 or more. The product has a one year warranty and is recyclable at the end of its life. For suppliers near you , click here.
Readers, here are some questions I have for you:
- Do you think other products should have been on the list rather than the ones listed above? If so, let us know. Try to keep the products to ones created in 2008.
- Are there any products on the above list you don’t think should be on the list?
- Which one of the above products do you like the best? I encourage you to go to the website to obtain more information since I tried to be brief although that is really hard for me.
- If you were at GreenBuild 365, which products did you adore and why?
Photos from BuildingGreen.com
Sources: Piepkorn, Mark, “2008 BuildingGreen Top-10 Products,” BuildingGreen.com, November 21, 2008.
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