written by:
January 30, 2009

There was a lot to see at the International Builders’ Show last week. Here are four things that caught my eye.

GE 121783 hires copy

1. GE Profile SmartDispense Frontload Washers and Dryers

GE’s major appliances have a laundry list of cool features to take the chore out of cleaning your clothes. These frontloading washers and dryers are as clever as they are functional, and darn good-looking to boot.

GE 121783 hires copy

-SmartDispense detergent management dispenses the exact amount of liquid needed, based on your specifications.
-CleanSpeak allows the washer to communicate load settings to the dryer, so your garments get the right treatment from start to finish.
-Steam options in the dryer facilitate wrinkle release, along with drying rack and hanger options if your delicates don’t like to tumble.

If only they knew how to fold….

2. Verve Living Systems

Smart home technology just keeps getting brighter. Verve Living Systems completely change the way the home is wired, by eliminating wiring nearly completely. Using Energy Harvesting Radio Frequency, each light in the home is controlled by a remote, which is powered with a simple click. Engineered more for a new build than a retrofit, Verve offers total control over home illumination.

-An occupancy sensor detects movement and shuts off accordingly, while lumens sensors monitor daylight, automatically adjusting output based on brightness from outside.
-Lighting can be adjusted to different levels to set the mood, with settings delineated by scenario (party time, sexy time, dinner time, etc.). Every switch is dimmable to 500 different gradients, and simply dimming by 10% will save money and energy.
-Because there are no wires, you can place switches anywhere you like, providing maximum flexibility for future rearrangement or renovation.

The service will be available from February, and you can find more information from the Verve Living Systems website.

3. Kliptech Eco Top and Eco Clad Recycled Paper/Wood Fiber Countertops

A great choice for sustainable surfaces, inside and out.

-The technical nitty gritty: “Comprised of a patent-pending 50/50 blend of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified post-consumer recycled paper and wood fiber, as well as bamboo fiber, and bound together by a 100-percent water-based co-polymer resin, EcoTop is VOC- and benzene-free and can contribute to seven different credits within the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building standards.”
- The paper—available in ten fade-resistant colors—is dyed before it’s pressed, so the hues are consistent throughout the non-porous, non-toxic material.
-KlipTech also makes outdoor siding, tabletops, and flooring.

4. Tankless Water Heaters

Both Rinnai and Noritz offer the latest in tankless tech, ensuring that your water is heated when you need it, and not when you don’t.

-All of the residential tankless water heater options have an Energy Star certification.
-No tank means no reservoir, which gives you cleaner water clear of sediment or build-up.
-Water heating is the second largest power drain in your home (behind heating and cooling), and tankless options can be 30% more energy efficient than their tanked counterparts.

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