Readers’ Choice - Top 10 Products
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 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 .
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 .
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.
|1||Wepower Eco||wind turbine|
|2||Southwest Windpower||wind turbine|
|4||Helix Wind||wind turbine|
|5||Bergey Windpower||wind turbine|
|6||Nora Lighting||LED recessed lighting|
|7||Tech Lighting||LED undercabinet system|
|8||Versetta Stone||panelized stone siding|
|9||Schluter Systems||floor drain|
|10||Intus Windows||triple-glazed window|
|12||Sto Corp.||cavity wall system|
|14||Kohler Power Systems||generator|
|17||Dow Corning||insulation panel|
|18||Huber Engineered Woods||sheathing|
|20||L.E. Johnson Hardware||door hardware|
|22||Nuheat Industries||floor heating system|
|24||Comfortmaker Heating and Cooling||gas furnace|
|26||Phantom Screens||retractable panels|
|28||Plain & Fancy||cabinets|
|29||Kreg Tool||jig system|
|30||Zenaro Lighting||LED light panel|
|31||Thermory Wood||thermo-treated wood|
|32||Nuheat Industries||floor heating system|
|33||Oborain||prefab outdoor shower|
|35||Meld USA||surfacing material|
|36||Timber Products||plywood panels|
|38||Kichler Lighting||outdoor lighting|
|40||Knight Wall Systems||rainscreen|
|41||Integrity Windows||fiberglass windows and doors|
|42||Nuheat Industries||floor heating system|
|44||Ann Sacks Tile and Stone||wood tiles|
|45||Baldwin Hardware||door levers|
|46||Broan Nutone||ventilation fan|
|49||Integrity Windows||tripane glazing|
|50||A.O. Smith||tankless water heater|