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Top 10 Green Products 2009

The editorial staff of The House Designers has spent several months working with their architects, designers and builders to find out what green home building products they would recommend to consumers looking to build their dream home. Here is our list of Top 10 Green Home Building Products for 2009 based on performance, innovation and design:

1. GE Hybrid Water Heater

The new GE® Hybrid Water Heater is the first water heater to be ENERGY STAR® rated and the first to be listed on the U.S. Department of Energy‘s website. This new energy efficient heat pump electric water heater can reduce energy expenses up to 62%, saving as much as $320 annually on energy bills.

2. ALNO Kitchen Cabinet

The ALNOCLASS kitchen cabinet collection lowers the carbon footprint, while delivering high style and cutting-edge technology. The door fronts are constructed of 100 percent sustainable oak from FSC-certified forests and its matte lacquer finish is free of VOCs. Those looking to spice it up a bit can add a mobile multifunctional niche unit that keeps your most important kitchen utensils within arm's reach. The best part is that the glass cover, which is used to conceal the components when not in use, can be outfitted with your choice of colored LED light fittings.

3. Benjamin Moore's Green Promise® products

Benjamin Moore continues to grow its portfolio of Green Promise® products, which includes Aura, high—performance low—VOC paint; Natura Zero-VOC interior paint, which is considered one of the greenest and safest paints available in the residential market. The Green Promise® designation is Benjamin Moore's assurance that its environmentally friendly coatings meet and exceed the strictest industry standards, while also delivering the premium levels of performance and color you would expect from Benjamin Moore. But how did they get to be so green? The reason is the combination of both the base paint and the colorant. In addition to Aura and Natura, the Green Promise line also includes Aura Bath & Spa, Waterborne Ceiling Paint and ben.

4. Brizo faucets and showers

Brizo®, the luxury brand of Delta Faucet Company (DFC), brings eco-friendly elegance into the home with a line of products that are both environmentally responsible and aesthetically pleasing. Showcased at the 2009 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, the new Brizo green platform includes a range of water-efficient products with luxurious and sustainable design. Many Brizo lavatory faucets, such as the Vesi® Channel and Vesi Curve design, flow at 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at 60 pounds per square inch (psi), saving approximately 30% of water. In the kitchen you'll find many product lines featuring its new SmartTouch technology, which allows the user to turn the water on and off with just a tap anywhere on the spout or handle. The faucet's hands-free functionality allows users to easily wash hands, dishes or food without ever touching the faucet. With this new technology, homeowners are able to conserve water and energy by activating water only when needed, saving an average of 0.3 gallons of water per minute.

5. Georgia-Pacific premier Dens® interior gypsum panel products

Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC has once again raised the standard of excellence in the building products industry, as two of its premier Dens™ interior gypsum panel products have passed the industry's most stringent mold resistance test. DensArmor Plus® High-Performance Interior Panel* and DensShield® Tile Backer each passed the 12-week test, conducted in accordance with the US Environmental Protection Agency. No other gypsum products manufacturer has announced test results showing zero mold growth for 12 full weeks for any product. "These results confirm what we have long known — that our Dens products lead the industry in mold and moisture resistance performance," said Kendall Clark, Research & Development Program Manager, Georgia-Pacific Gypsum. "Architects and builders can take comfort in the fact that the mold-resistant properties of Dens products save time and money during construction, and also ensure the sustainability of structures."

6. Rheem HP-50 Heat-Pump Water Heater

The Rheem HP-50 is an Energy Star-listed, heat-pump water heater with an integral 50-gallon tank. Intended for residential use, the HP-50 operates in three modes: Energy Saver mode uses the heat pump only (energy factor 2.0); Normal mode, for higher demands, uses the heat pump and one of two electric-resistance elements (energy factor 1.5); and Electric Heat Only mode relies solely on the electric elements, functioning like a conventional water heater for particularly high demands.  The Rheem HP-50 is not the highest-efficiency heat-pump water heater on the market, but it is the first relatively affordable, integral-storage, heat-pump water heater from a large national company to enter the North American market. It is also the quietest product on the market, rated at 49 dB, and has the longest warranty.

7. James Hardie fiber cement siding

James Hardie's USA Fiber Cement business manufactures a range of building materials for external and internal cladding and lining applications. Products include, HardiePlank® Lap Siding with ColorPlus® Technology, HardiePanel® Vertical Siding, HardieShingle® Siding, HardieSoffit® Panels and HardieBacker® Ceramic Tile Backerboard. The HardiePlank® lap siding remains it most popular brand of siding because of its strength, beauty and durability. Now its comes with the HardieZone® System, which offers siding with specific performance attributes relative to the climate where your home is being built.

8. Grace Construction

Grace Vycor® Plus Self-Adhered Flashing provides superior protection against water, air and moisture infiltration in window and door openings, corner boards, under stucco finishes, masonry walls and other flashing areas. It is designed to work in severe winter climates, milder climates, and in coastal areas where wind driven rain is common. It should not be used on roofs. Grace Vycor® Plus is ideal for sealing joints, seams, holes, and other unwanted openings in wall sheathing systems.

9. LG Steam Washer

The LG SteamWasher WM3001HWA uses at least 50 percent less water and energy than current ENERGY STAR® requirements. The washer also exceeds 2011 requirements for energy use by at least 35 percent and water consumption by at least 40 percent. It features the Ultra-Capacity SteamWasher™ features the Allergiene® cycle, which removes over 95% of common household allergens; the Wash/Rinse Optimizer®, which automatically senses water hardness and detergent level, adjusting cycle length to maximize efficiency.

10. Lutron's Eco-Home Products

Lutron Electronics launches the eco-home line of products — making it easier than ever for consumers to save energy while adding ambiance to their home.

Composed of the following products, the eco-home line helps homeowners reduce their energy consumption to conserve both natural and financial resources.
  • eco-dim® guarantees at least 15% energy savings, compared to standard switches.
  • eco-minder® LEDs turn from red to green when you are saving 15% or more energy.
  • The Maestro® dimmer with Occupancy / Vacancy sensor saves energy by automatically turning off the lights when no one is in the room.
  • The Maestro® eco-timer saves energy by automatically turning the fan or lights off after a set period of time.

Design Tip
Solar water heating systems use clean, free energy from the sun to heat your hot water, which accounts for about 15 to 20% of home's energy. Renewable energy systems do have an up-front installation cost, but you'll enjoy an instant reduction on your utility bills. Keep in mind that these systems are not designed to provide 100% of your home's water requirements because of the amount of cloudy days in a year. You can expect them to meet between 50 to 75% of your hot water needs, so having a backup water heater is a necessity.