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Readers’ Choice - Top 10 Products

  • Wepower Eco

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    Falcon is a 1.2-kilowatt wind turbine that weighs 350 pounds and has a tower height of 18 feet. It has a cut-in speed of 6 miles per hour and captures wind from any direction. Ideal for off-the-grid applications, the product has an operating noise level of 32 decibels. Wepower Eco. www.wepower.us .

  • Southwest Windpower

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    Skystream 3.7 is a grid-connected wind turbine designed to work in low wind speed situations. It offers a rated capacity of 2.4 kilowatts, and has a 12-foot rotor diameter. The product features a cut-in wind speed of 8 miles per hour and wireless remote monitoring. Southwest Windpower. www.windenergy.com .

  • Honeywell

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    Frederic A Reinecke

    At 185 pounds, the WT6500 is perfect for residential applications, the company says. It has a startup speed of 2 miles per hour and addresses past constraints such as vibration, size, noise, and output. It is flexible enough to mount directly to a house or building. Honeywell. www.honeywell.com .

  • Helix Wind

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    The S322 compact wind turbine provides smooth power and torque delivery across a range of wind speeds, says the company. The 10.8-foot-tall product is rated for 2.0 kilowatts at peak operation, weighs 135 pounds, and will generate usable power with wind speed as low as 11.1 miles per hour. Helix Wind Corp. www.helixwind.com .

  • Bergey Windpower

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    The Excel 5 is a 5-kilowatt wind turbine that is ideal for smaller, more energy-efficient homes and businesses. The product features a large rotor that has a startup wind speed of 7.5 miles per hour, a low-noise airfoil, and remote monitoring via the Internet. Bergey Windpower. www.bergey.com .

  • Nora Lighting

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    Part of the Diamond Series, this 4-inch light is part of Nora’s line of LED recessed downlights for new construction and retrofit projects. It has a deep-set, 2-inch lens and offers 530 lumen output. The Energy Star–rated product provides up to 50,000 hours of performance, says the company. Nora Lighting .

  • Tech Lighting

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    Krull Associates

    Available in 13- and 19-inch versions, Unilume is an energy-efficient LED undercabinet system that produces even, glare-free lighting. It uses 30 LEDs per foot and has an element that illuminates as a single bar of light. It consumes 8.5 watts to 10.5 watts. Tech Lighting. www.techlighting.com .

  • Versetta Stone

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    Versetta Stone is a non-structural veneer offering the look of traditional masonry without requiring mortar. The company uses fiber-reinforced concrete that is one-third the weight of stone, and the molding process reproduces a stonelike texture and look. Versetta Stone. www.versettastone.com .

  • Schluter Systems

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    ADA-compliant and stylish, the Kerdi-Line drain sits flush with a tiled floor and allows builders to slope the bath in one direction. It’s available in lengths from 20 inches to 48 inches and comes in two parts. Three grid styles are available. Schluter Systems. www.schluter.com .

  • Intus Windows

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    A European import, this triple-glazed window features a beefy wood frame, warm-edge spacers, silicone seals, and gasketed sashes. The highly energy-efficient unit offers R-values of up to 10, according to the company. Intus Windows. www.intuswindows.com .

Wind power created a lot of energy among BUILDER readers in 2012. There was a clear trend as the top five products—based off reader service requests for products featured in the magazine—are all wind turbines.

In a typical application, the wind turbine is connected to the home and the grid, powering the house and sending excess power back to the utility. Through net metering, many utilities will credit the homeowner’s account for the turbine-produced power that’s fed to the grid.

But the systems are pricey. They can range from $10,000 to $70,000 depending on size, height, and installation costs. The payback period varies from six to 30 years.

What else caught builders’ eyes in 2012? Rainscreens, insulated vinyl siding, high-performance windows, LED lighting, and tankless water heaters are just some of the standouts. Take a look at the results to see what 50 products most intrigued your peers.

1Wepower Ecowind turbine
2Southwest Windpowerwind turbine
3Honeywellwind turbine
4Helix Windwind turbine
5Bergey Windpowerwind turbine
6Nora LightingLED recessed lighting
7Tech LightingLED undercabinet system
8Versetta Stonepanelized stone siding
9Schluter Systemsfloor drain
10Intus Windowstriple-glazed window
11Panasonicwall fan
12Sto Corp.cavity wall system
13Honeywelltouchscreen alarm
14Kohler Power Systemsgenerator
15Brooks Customcountertop
16Intus Windowswindows
17Dow Corninginsulation panel
18Huber Engineered Woodssheathing
19Benjamin Obdykerainscreen
20L.E. Johnson Hardwaredoor hardware
21Carrierheat pump
22Nuheat Industriesfloor heating system
23DuPontThermawrap
24Comfortmaker Heating and Coolinggas furnace
25Uponorplumbing system
26Phantom Screensretractable panels
273Formresin panels
28Plain & Fancycabinets
29Kreg Tooljig system
30Zenaro LightingLED light panel
31Thermory Woodthermo-treated wood
32Nuheat Industriesfloor heating system
33Oborainprefab outdoor shower
34Traneair conditioner
35Meld USAsurfacing material
36Timber Productsplywood panels
37Levitondimmer switch
38Kichler Lightingoutdoor lighting
39Schlage Lockdeadbolt
40Knight Wall Systemsrainscreen
41Integrity Windowsfiberglass windows and doors
42Nuheat Industriesfloor heating system
43WaterFurnaceheat pump
44Ann Sacks Tile and Stonewood tiles
45Baldwin Hardwaredoor levers
46Broan Nutoneventilation fan
47Niagara Conservationtoilet
48Pellafiberglass windows
49Integrity Windowstripane glazing
50A.O. Smithtankless water heater