Highlights from the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Chicago.

Moen’s water-saving products include hands-free electronic faucets, showerheads and faucet filtration systems. George Spear (pictured at Greenbuild), senior commercial marketing/product manager for Moen Commercial, noted that the hands-free concept is growing in importance for both toilets and faucets. Moen offers a dual-flush toilet that automatically activates a reduced flush when less than one minute is spent by the user. Electronic faucets also provide savings on cleaning and maintenance costs, he said. (photo by Pat Lenius)

American Standard Brands showed the Porcher Solutions dual-flush toilet at Greenbuild (photo by Pat Lenius). The company also unveiled H2Option, which it described as a siphonic dual-flush toilet, with strong push and pull action created by forceful but quiet jetted action under the rim. Independently rated to flush as much as 1,000 grams of solid waste, it uses as little as one gallon of water on the low setting.

Exhibitors at Greenbuild stressed sustainability in manufacturing and plant operations as well as in product performance.

Kohler Co. provides cull (discarded porcelain pieces from toilets and lavatories) from its pottery operations in Kohler, WI, to local businesses and the village of Kohler, that is used as aggregate in road pavers and drainage projects, epoxy overlay, blended in concrete and tile products, and used in the golf courses’ drainage systems, among other projects.

TOTO said its sustainable efforts include: crushing imperfect/damaged china for roadbed and construction  projects; repurposing clay slurry for  other  manufacturing processes; recycling post-industrial gray water within plant operations to reduce potable water consumption. Also, the company’s kilns use pulse fire technology and re-use exhaust heat; green electricity is purchased from Georgia Power; all hydraulic systems use biodegradable soybean-based oils; plastics, aluminum, glass, cardboard, brass, pallets, and computer equipment are recycled, and employees are encouraged to bring their recyclables to the plant if their community does not provide recycling service.

Sloan noted that its Franklin Park, IL, headquarters and manufacturing facility is equipped with solar energy panels and giant wind turbines on the rooftop and its renewable energy credits offset 100% of its electricity use.

Delta Faucet Co. reported that in 2009 it recycled or reused 5,218 tons of brass, 750 tons of other metals, 1,062 tons of cardboard, 47 tons of plastics, 68,137 gallons of oil (and treated for reuse) and 54 million gallons of water. Also, in partnership with General Electric, Delta Faucet performed an Ecovaluation of its domestic manufacturing facilities and headquarters.

Moen said it is re-using 70% of all water used in product testing and is recycling nearly 82% of waste from the manufacturing process. Also, the company installed water filtration systems in all of its facilities to reduce plastic bottle consumption and uses only recycled paper and soy-based inks for copies.

Bemis utilizes environmentally friendly processes and materials for its toilet seats including rediscovered wood and paints that minimize the emission of VOCs. All of its toilet seats are packaged in recycled and recyclable corrugate. Its plastic toilet seats also contain recycled materials.

Acorn Engineering Co., which shared a booth at Greenbuild with its NeoMetro division, manufactures products made from 80% recycled stainless steel. The AcornVac vacuum plumbing system uses only a half gallon of water per flush, removing waste while reducing potable water consumption by as much as 68%.

Lochinvar introduced Knight wall-mount boiler models that offer up to 99% efficiency in low water temperature applications, low-NOx emissions and a fully modulating turndown burner that helps minimize fuel use by adjusting heat output to demand.

Gerber Plumbing Fixtures LLC showed its Avalanche 1.28 (gallon-per-flush) toilet now available in a high efficiency model that features Gerber’s XP3 flushing system, a three-inch flush valve, Fluidmaster fill valve, uniquely designed jet feed, rim structure and trapway configuration.

Rheem added tankless gas products and Marathon storage tanks to its line of SolPak active solar water heating systems that can provide up to 80% of a home’s hot water. A Rheem tankless gas water heater used as a secondary water heater reduces energy use, includes a digital thermostat, and frees up space. When used as the system’s solar storage tank, the Marathon tank combines the longevity of the electric water heater with the energy savings of the solar water heating system and gives the homeowner access to the pump controller that shows how many kilowatts the solar panels have collected.

Niagara Conservation said its new Versa kitchen aerator with a 1.5 gallon per minute flow rate can save a homeowner up to 7,655 gallons of water per year and up to $82 off utility and water bills. Featuring dual-spray technology, it lets the homeowner switch from a splash-free bubble spray to a needle spray pattern with 20 individual streams. The solid brass aerator has a ball joint that enables 360 degree swiveling.

Pat Lenius
Pat is the managing editor of Supply House Times and editor of Bath & Kitchen Pro eNews. She can be reached at 847/405-4052, LeniusP@bnpmedia.com.

Sloan displayed a Corn Cob sink, solar-powered SOLIS faucet and the AQUS water reuse system at Greenbuild. (photo by Pat Lenius)