The 10 Most Exciting Products at GreenBuild

Last week I spent a few days at one of the best eco-focused conferences around, GreenBuild. Held this year in Chicago, the event was vast and overwhelming to say the least. I attended several inspiring seminars and walked the expo floor for hours on the hunt for great green building products. There was a lot out there, so I’ve created a list of the best and most exciting things at the show, that are actually available for use in your home, right now.

I tried to limit my search to items we’d hadn’t yet seen before or covered in depth on Re-Nest Some of these items we’ll be exploring in more detail over the next few weeks, but for now, here’s a peak at my favorite and accessible residential green products from the GreenBuild 2010 show (in no particular order):

1 Parasoleil Panel System: The Parasoleil booth was buzzing with inerest because of its beautiful artistic panels. What was originally designed as a copper shade structure is now available in six different materials for a variety of applications including awnings & shades, privacy screens & doors and architectural accent panels. The panels come in stock designs but can also be fabricated in custom colors and patterns.
2 Verve Living Systems: We’ve been on the hunt for home automation systems that not only work well, but can also assist in running a more efficient home. Verve is a wireless electrical system, which is green for a number of reasons: the wireless modules are self-powered (no batteries), wireless means less wires and labor, home automation reduces phantom power and provides more control over climate and electrical loads. We also hear the cost to install this system is the same, if not sometimes less, than a normal electrical system. They must be doing something right because the system is in all the Make It Right homes in New Orleans.
3 Versacork: There was no shortage of cork flooring manufacturers at the show, and this penny-tile look alike stood out amongst them all. Made from post-industrial wine cork factories, Versacork is made in tile form, available in three sizes. The cork tiles are anti-microbial, can be installed in wet applications, can be stained almost any color, is slip resistant and is soft underfoot.
4 Korq Yoga Mats: Another cork standout was not, a flooring, but a yoga mat! Cork is well-known for it’s cushion, anti-fungal and moisture wicking capabilities, so using it as a yoga mat is totally a no-brainer.
5 Durapalm Panels & Flooring: PlyBoo’s always had a great selection of bamboo products, but at the show it was the PlyBoo’s Durapalm Series that caught my eye. The Durapalm material is made from coconut or sugar palms that are past their fruit bearing years, and would normally be unused and discarded. PlyBoo has turned Durapalm into plywood, flooring and paneling, all of which have an amazingly beautiful color and grain, unlike any other wood product.

6 Native Trails: Native Trails is making some of the most beautiful artisan crafted kitchen, bath and home accessories out there. They have an amazing collection of hand-hammered recycled copper vessels, reclaimed and FSC-certified bath furniture, and a beautiful variet of copper home accents.
7 Stealth Toilet by Niagra: The Stealth Toilet was just name one of BuildGreen’s top products of 2010, and there’s a good reason why — it uses a mere 0.8 gallons per flush, which is less than the ‘low’ setting on a dual flush toilet.
8 AirLab Home Air Quality Test Kit: If you’ve ever wanted to know the air quality of your house, there’s now an easy kit to sample and measure for toxins in your home. The kit comes four samplers that test for a number of chemicals, formaldehyde, radon, mold and allergens. These samplers are then mailed into the testing company — results are ready in as soon as 10 days with resources on ways to get healthy indoor air quality.
9 Rainwater Pillow: With plenty of rainbarrels and cisterns on the market, the Rainwater Pillow stands out because of its flexibility. The pillows are made from durable, heavy duty, industrial strength fabric and can hold anywhere from 1000 to 200,000 gallons of rainwater. The pillows can be stored anywhere a barrel or cistern wouldn’t normally fit such as under your porch, deck or even under a bench.
10 AirRenew Gypsum Board: CertainTeed’s new gypsum board product is specially engineered to actually capture VOCs, converts them into safe, inert compounds, which will remain permanently in the board.

(Images as linked above)