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By Dawn Killough
February 27, 2017
This year’s Design and Construction Week, which combined the International Builders' Show and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, was held in Orlando, Florida, in early January. Residential builders and designers got a chance to see the latest and greatest products that manufacturers have to provide.
Here are some of the up-and-coming products you need to know about:
Want the feeling of standing under a summer rain in your shower? Thanks to Kohler, you can have it! The Real Rain Shower by Kohler uses a reservoir to hold water in the ceiling, which is then gravity-fed through the shower head, instead of providing a pressurized flow. The “rain” is fed through 775 nozzles at a slow-building pace, until all the water is released in a deluge. It is meant to imitate the varying drop size and intensity of a true rain shower.
“The pitter patter of drops grows in intensity as it swells into a warm summer storm. Finally, to capture the moment the sky opens up and the rain truly pours down, the on-demand Deluge feature releases the water in the reservoir, soaking the bather in an extravagant flood of water.”
It is ceiling mounted and the panel measures 19”x19”. Water flows at a rate of two gallons per minute, and it meets CALGreen requirements.
DecoTech Rooftop Solar by GAF is an integrated roof/solar power system that attaches directly to the roof of a building––no racks or additional structures necessary. The system is all-inclusive, completely sealed, and very efficient.
Standard rack systems can be unattractive, especially when chicken wire or other materials are used to deter animals from making a home under the racks. GAF’s rooftop system doesn’t require a rack system and blends in smoothly with the existing roofline.
“Designed to provide an attractive, low-profile alternative to typical rack-mounted solar panels, the DecoTech System is integrated directly into the roofing system. GAF uses premium solar panels to optimize power output. Robust flashing and a sleek black perimeter shield reduces the risk of leaks and animal intrusion, while creating a monochromatic profile that helps blend the Deco Black panels into the roof for maximum aesthetic appeal.”
GAF even has a team of installers that are available to install new roofing and a solar system. Right now their services are only available in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Texas, but they are expanding quickly.
Who doesn’t need a high-tech toilet these days? The MH Connect+ Toilet by Toto has all the amenities you didn’t know you needed: heated seat, warm water washing and warm air drying, pre-misting system, automatic deodorizer, night light, user memory, and a remote control!
The system feeds the water supply and electrical service through the wall, with nothing visible except the bowl. The fixture is wall-mounted, so cleaning the floor underneath the toilet is easier.
It even claims to be self-cleaning––electrolyzed water, a proven disinfectant, is applied after each use, cutting down on the chemicals needed to keep the bowl clean.
With the growing emphasis on the Internet of things and home automation, security is one of the most important areas where these advances have taken place. Verilock Security Sensors by Andersen Windows allows window locks to be connected, and even activated, through a mobile app.
Andersen’s wireless sensors can detect whether an opening is open or closed, and can lock or unlock it through the app. Not only does this help with security, it also improves energy efficiency, as closing the lock completes the window’s seal.
The sensors come in various colors and are available for doors as well. Professional monitoring is available through the Connect system, or self-monitoring is available through the Nexia or Wink systems.
Safety is always number one on the job. DuPont is helping with roofer safety by offering an embossed roofing underlayment, Tyvek Protec. The embossing creates a rough surface that is easier for workers to walk on in areas where roof slopes are steep.
Protec also has a coating on the back that keeps the sheets from slipping around, increasing the safety for workers.
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