Water is a finite resource. Even though about 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, less than 1% is actually available for human use. Last year the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported 40 of 50 state water managers said they expected to see water shortages in some portion of their states under average conditions during the next 10 years (2013 to 2023).
As manufacturers continue to explore new ways to reduce the water usage of their products without sacrificing performance, they also remain focused on design and style, as well as other features that will be attractive to homeowners.
There were many decorative and innovative green kitchen and bath products on display at the Kitchen Bath Industry Show and International Builders Show which co-located for the second time as Design & Construction Week in Las Vegas Jan. 20-22. Here are some highlights:
New single-handled articulating kitchen faucets, inspired by the design and functionality of an architect lamp, were honored with the Best of Kitchen: Gold award in the 2015 Best of KBIS competition. The faucet’s articulating arm can be positioned at various heights and angles to direct water flow where needed.
This faucet is being incorporated into the Brizo Artesso and Brizo Solna collections, which include water-efficiency among their features. Brizo is the luxury brand of faucets and accessories within the portfolio of Delta Faucet Co.
The two-function spray wand easily docks and undocks for maximum functionality. When docked, the wand stays securely in place with Brizo MagneDock technology, a patented magnetic docking system.
Inspired by detailed, early 20th century metal works, the Artesso version of the articulated kitchen faucet will be offered in polished chrome, Brilliance polished nickel, Brilliance stainless and Venetian bronze finishes. The Solna version, featuring a clean, contemporary design to match its Scandinavian name, will be available in polished chrome, Brilliance stainless and matte black finishes.
The new San Souci round-front one-piece toilet offers a small space solution with its compact bowl and regular height seat. With its 1.28-gal. flush, the San Souci also is listed as one of Kohler’s WaterSense models, which provides a significant water savings up to 16,500 gal. per year. Plus, its sleek lines make it easy to clean.
The toilet uses Kohler's AquaPiston flush system, a patented flush engine for gravity-fed toilets featuring a canister design for enhanced flushing performance. AquaPiston directs water to flow in from all sides, and the precision-engineered tank, bowl and trapway create a strong siphon that results in a fast and thorough flush. The AquaPiston canister lifts completely off the outlet valve, releasing water from 360°. This toilet’s powerful flush virtually eliminates plugging and makes for a longer rinse and cleaner bowl, according to the company. It also is an easy flush, requiring only about two lb. of pressure to actuate.
There were two new digital faucets in the Danze Did-U-Wave line on display: a single-handled electronic kitchen faucet and a single-handled electronic kitchen pulldown faucet. Both bear the WaterSense label for meeting water-conserving criteria.
Both faucets are equipped with an infrared sensor for motion activation and LED task lighting at the top of the spray head (on the hard-wired AC models) to provide spot lighting where the head is directed. If the faucet is not manually turned off, it will automatically shut off after one minute.
Both feature a streamlined spray head and sleek contour with both aerated and stream sprays, and both offer two ceramic disc valves to provide a tight seal and feature Danze’s SnapBack technology for consistent retraction.
These faucets both have 17 3/4-in. high swivel spouts for kitchen sinks with lots of open space overhead. They are available in chrome and stainless-steel finishes.
Delta Faucet Co.
Delta’s new FlushIQ smart toilet offers overflow protection, touch-free flushing and leak detection. A sensor on the back of the bowl monitors the water level and prevents additional flushes if the water rises to a critical point.Thetoilet flusheswith a simple wave of the hand, activating a sensor on the tank. If the water level drops and breaks contact with the sensor, the LED indicator will change to solid yellow the next time the toilet is flushed, warning of leakage.
These Delta toilets are WaterSense labeled and feature an exclusive pre-assembled SmartFit tank-to-bowl connection that quickly installs and reduces potential leak points. The slow-close toilet seat has a quick release feature that enables easy removal for cleaning. This product was nominated for the Best of KBIS 2015 award.
The Hot Start is a temperature-controlled WaterSense-certified showerhead that lets the user turn on the shower at full flow and wait for the water to heat up, but then minimizes water waste by reducing the flow to a trickle once it reaches 95° F.
The showerhead provides visual confirmation the water is hot. Upon entering the shower, the user presses the “resume” button on the showerhead to restore the full stream at a flow rate of 2 gpm. According to the company, by reducing the flow when the water gets hot this showerhead can save thousands of gallons of water per year and reduce utility bills.
Boasting three adjustable spray settings, a modern design and a sleek chrome finish, Hot Start will only be offered as part of the Niagara ConservationStealth System, which also includes high-efficiency faucet aerators, two for the bath and one for the kitchen; and a choice of either a single- or dual-flush Stealth ultra-high-efficiency toilet.
The new STo pulldown kitchen faucet with MotionSense provides hands-free convenience with water temperature control at the faucet handle.
A simple hand movement triggers the water flow. Its Reflex system ensures smooth operation, easy movement and secure docking of the spray head. Choose between an aerated stream for everyday cleaning or a powerful rinse for heavy–duty cleaning. The faucet’s tubular design and cube-shaped base give it a distinctive contemporary style.
It’s available in chrome and Moen’s Spot Resist stainless finish. Its eco-performance design uses less water without sacrificing performance. It was a nominee in the Best of KBIS 2015 competition.
The new Ambient Series from Franke Kitchen Systems offers a range of kitchen faucets and complementary components, featuring a sleek, contemporary design and water-saving flow rates.
The pulldown faucets feature a 28mm Nobili cartridge enclosed in a protective fiberglass stem. Each faucet offers two flow rates: 1-gpm for a simple light rinse and 1.75 gpm for a more powerful flow. Both settings are well within the stringent flow rate requirements of the WaterSense program and the state of California. By coupling the cartridge with a restrictor, the faucet can achieve the even lower flow rates required by LEED-certified projects.
Neoperl aerators also are standard on the pulldown models. The 16 1/2-in. tall pulldown kitchen faucet in the series is available in chrome and satin nickel.
The Avalanche CT two-piece concealed trapway residential toilet has been added to Gerber’s Avalanche family of products. This WaterSense-certified high-efficiency toilet operates at 1.28 gpf.
The concealed trapway gives the toilet base a sleek, smooth look that is easy to clean. Available in white, it is offered as an ADA-compliant ErgoHeight elongated toilet. A one-piece alternative model also is available. The toilet has a Fluidmaster fill valve, a quick-acting 3-in. flush valve and a dual-siphon jet.
The Carlyle II 1G is a one-piece toilet that uses TOTO’s Double Cyclone technology to deliver ultra-high-efficiency flushing using only 1-gpf. The toilet bowl and concave rim are coated with SanaGloss, TOTO’s nano-technology glaze that creates an ionized barrier to repel both visible and invisible waste. The toilet’s features include clean lines, a skirted design and “inclusive height.” This toilet was nominated for Best of KBIS 2015.
One of the most unusual products at the show was displayed by ToileChic and described as “the toilet of the 21st century.” Imagine, if you will, a comfy, upholstered easy chair in the living room. Lift the seat cushion, and voila! It’s a functioning toilet. The upholstered furniture used for ToileChic uses nonporous, stain- and odor-resistant Crypton fabrics. The fabric can be cleaned with enzyme soap and water and disinfected with Crypton’s EPA-approved disinfectant. Five designer chair styles can be covered in 40 fabric patterns and colors or a faux leather. The ToileChic includes TOTO or Kohler brand toilets. Matching bidets by the same manufacturers also are an option. The chair has a recliner flush handle.