Element 4. WaterMill is an innovative, practical solution for those concerned about potential water shortages. The device draws moisture from the air and converts it into drinking water, generating up to 3.2 gallons a day, which is enough for the average family’s drinking and cooking needs. The process also includes filtration and antimicrobial techniques. The company estimates the system costs about 11 cents per gallon to operate, a fraction of bottled water. It installs on the outside or inside of the home. 250.717.3733.
Serious Materials. Featuring a material makeup that dries without heaters, EcoRock drywall uses 80% less energy to produce than regular drywall, says the company, resulting in an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions. In addition, the product is made with 85% post-industrial recycled content. EcoRock features a naturally mold-resistant core and a fiberglass facing. It performs like regular drywall and is priced similar to premium panels. EcoRock will formally launch in November. 800.797.8159. www.seriousmaterials.com.
Torzo Surfaces. Manufactured with recycled wood and a variety of agricultural by-products, such as sunflower seed hulls and wheat straw, Torzo surfaces offer a unique look in various styles and colors. The products contain 65% to 75% recycled material and are formaldehyde free. The surfaces are hard and durable, according to the firm, and can be used for horizontal and vertical applications. 800.770.7523. www.torzosurfaces.com.
James Hardie. The Artisan Matrix fiber-cement panel boasts crisp, clean edges that allow a layout with consistent architectural reveals on all sides, the firm says. The panels are installed on fiber-cement furring strips, which allows installers to use finish nails and creates a rainscreen to drain moisture. The sanded surface is flat and smooth, and the panels come pre-primed. 888.800.7864.
Akeena Solar. The upgraded Andalay solar panels feature integrated electrical and mounting elements for a more streamlined look. Enhancements include a prefabricated combiner box, which will eliminate on-site assembly of the component that is the second-most susceptible point of breakdown. The new system also will feature proprietary fasteners and mounting jacks for easier placement on the roof, with height-adjustable brackets that will allow for the panels to blend in seamlessly, the company says, and will require less roof cutting. 888.253.3628. www.akeena.com.
Modwalls. Viridian tiles are SCS-certified to contain a minimum 98% pre-consumer recycled glass. The Pearl series of 1-inch tiles offers a soft iridescent sheen for walls and low-traffic floors, indoors and out, including wet areas. Viridian Industrial 1-inch tiles have a non-slip matte finish for walls and high-traffic floors, and are also appropriate for interior and exterior installations, including wet areas. A range of colors is available, including Pearl Ocean, shown here. 877.439.9734.
Ecodrain. The EcoDrain shower heat exchanger warms cold water in the home’s supply line with grey water from the shower, recovering some of the energy and heat used in the shower water. Installed directly under the shower, the device uses a turbulator to stir the waste water in order to maximize heat exchange. It uses two walls of separation between fresh water and grey water to ensure the two sources will not mix. Studies show the product can save 46 percent of the energy used in a typical shower, the company says. 514.448.4798. www.ecodrain.ca.
Brondell. Perfect Flush equips existing toilets with dual-flush technology. The two-button control fits nearly all existing toilets and can be installed in less than 30 minutes, according to the manufacturer. The adjustable device also can alter the amount of water a toilet uses in a full flush, and its batteries last about two years. The Perfect Flush will be available in January 2009. 888.542.3355.
Integrity Block. Meeting the same performance standards as load-bearing concrete masonry units, Integrity blocks contain up 50% pre-consumer recycled content, require 40% less energy to manufacture, and have a smaller carbon footprint than typical concrete blocks, the maker contends. The blocks can be used for retaining walls, garden blocks, or structural applications. Made of a combination of aggregates, minerals, and soils, the blocks come in distinctive and natural colors, the maker says. 650.641.3104. www.integrityblock.com.
Cooper Lighting. Halo LED recessed downlights feature a LED module that installs into a new-construction housing or into existing 6-inch housings, allowing pros to retrofit an existing recessed can. The module is dimmable to about 15% using standard incandescent analog dimmers and to about 5% with dimmers that have a low-end trim adjustment, the maker says. It delivers 600 lumens, making it comparable to a 65-watt BR30 lamp, and has a life of 50,000 hours, the firm says. 770.486.4800.
Masco. The wireless Verve Living lighting control system requires less wiring, lowering material and installation costs, according to the manufacturer. Unlike conventional products, Verve switches use energy-harvesting radio frequency technology, in which the motion of turning a switch on or off generates the energy needed to transmit a radio signal. Standard copper wiring needs to be run from the utility panel to all switches and lights, but with Verve, the wiring only needs to run from the utility panel to a central controller, and then to each light. The switches make every light dimmable and programmable. 336.771.6400. www.vervelivingsystems.com