To mark this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, held Nov. 20 to 22 in Philadelphia, we are rounding up the latest green products and technology to be displayed on the show floor. From biowaste-infused wood to a daylighting system designed to infiltrate commercial interiors, these six products offer a sample of the latest trends in sustainable material.
The task of making wood more resilient and suitable for use in the construction of larger buildings is one driver behind contemporary wood research. Among the manufacturers seeking to revamp the standby product is Kebony, which has been manufacturing and selling its fortified wood product in Scandinavia since 2003. New to the U.S. market, the FSC-certified wood is impregnated with biowaste material, which the company says makes the material more environmentally friendly and durable compared to wood treated with conventional wood preservatives. It also renders the wood a dark color that emulates tropical hardwoods.
Balancing the need for privacy with the benefits of daylighting can be a challenge in contract applications such as corporate or healthcare interiors. Guardian’s Reveal glass features an electric current activated by a switch, motion detector, or daylight sensor to change between transparent and opaque states. The phase-changing capability is derived from a layer of liquid crystal film and a polyvinyl butyral interlayer.
A combination of daylight and direct lighting with personalized controls may be ideal for offices, but it can test designers tasked with illuminating the spaces. Light Corp.’s Revo task light gives occupants control at their desks with 95 footcandles of dimmable illumination. A 300-degree swivel allows users to direct the light as they see fit while a motion detector turns the LED luminaire off after 30 minutes without sensing movement nearby.
Spray-foam insulation has been criticized for the release of toxins during installation, but the product’s manufacturers are beginning to respond with environmentally friendly alternatives. Among them is Canadian spray-foam maker Icynene, which developed ProSeal Eco, a 100-percent water-blown closed-cell foam that doesn't contain greenhouse-gas-emitting blowing agents and offers an R-value of 4.9 per inch of thickness.
Reach for the Sun
The task of daylighting large areas in multistory buildings such as open-plan offices and school classrooms poses a challenge to designers who must also illuminate the building core. The horizontal SunCentral lighting system from SunCentral can be integrated in a ceiling canopy or atrium to gather and redirect sunlight captured outside from all roof surfaces. Using a series of luminaire beams, the light can be transmitted it up to 50 feet within a building. The fixture integrates LEDs that dim or brighten to deliver consistent light levels when its photosensors detect a change in available sunlight. The luminaires are available in recessed or pendant models.
Below the Surface
Concrete formwork may not be the first application project teams consider when integrating principles of green design. Newark’s Newform Wireholder rebar chair adds an element of sustainability to cast-in-place concrete. Made entirely of recycled paperboard, the chair keeps mesh, cable, and other wires supported and off the ground or formwork while concrete is poured.