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Exhibitors say interest in sustainable construction still strong despite low turnout at tradeshow.

Exhibitors at the 2014 Greenbuild attributed the frequently light traffic on the show floor Oct. 22-23 to a number of factors: educational workshops being conducted during trade show hours; declining attendance at trade shows in general; and the location of the event in New Orleans. Exhibitors did not, however, equate the turnout to a waning interest in green buildings. They say interest in sustainable construction among industry professionals remains as strong as ever. Numbers released by the show’s producers state that 17,507 people attended Greenbuild this year. Exhibiting companies numbered 552 with their booths covering 142,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space.

Several exhibitors say attendance should pick up next November when Greenbuild shifts to Washington, D.C. The federal government’s emphasis on green buildings and the number of universities in the area should bring more people to the show.

The number of new products introduced at Greenbuild was limited. Companies that exhibit at Greenbuild do so more for branding purposes and to show their support to the committed green building professionals who attend the show, according to one exhibitor. The plumbing-and-heating manufacturers exhibiting at the show include Aquatherm, Armstrong Fluid Technology, Kohler Co., Mitsubishi Electric, Navien, Niagara, Owens- Corning, Sloan Valve, TOTO, Uponor and Zurn.

Plumbing products
A portion of Kohler’s booth addressed water safety as much as it did water sav- ings. New to the U.S. market, faucets and shower controls from U.K.-based Rada feature digital thermostatic technology primarily in health-care applications. Kohler acquired Rada in 2001.

“Rada faucets and showers are capable of delivering precise temperature and flow while managing Legionella risk, reducing the risk of scalding and using less water,” says Eoin McQuone, business director at Rada.

Kohler’s booth also featured two of its sustainable systems that are being used in India and France.

In its booth, Sloan displayed its BASYS faucet platform that can be used in health- care applications as well. One of its features is a line purge that automatically activates the faucet after a long period of non-use to eliminate stagnant water. The company also was soliciting feedback from Greenbuild attendees on a hybrid urinal that uses just 1 gal. a week, or 52 gal. a year, to flush the drain line.

TOTO unveiled its MyGreenPayback app for mobile devices, computers, and smartphones. It enables consumers and construction professionals to calculate in real time their financial return on their investment and the planet’s return on the environment when they purchase one of the company’s plumbing products.

“We wanted to make the sustainable purchasing process easier by demonstrating our high-efficiency products’ water and energy savings across their lifecycle in a format that is easy to understand,” President of Operations for the Americas Bill Strang said.

Niagara Conservation showed its HotStart Showerhead, which will be available in January 2015. The showerhead will allow users to turn on the shower at full flow while they wait for the water to heat up. Once the water reaches 95° F, the flow reduces to a trickle, which saves water, energy, and money. Users will get visual confirmation when the water is hot and can press the “resume” button on the showerhead to bring the hot water back on at a flow rate of 2.0 GPM.

Heating and cooling products
Used in both plumbing and HVAC applications, Aquatherm’s polypropylene-random pip- ing systems now feature a threadless transition from PP-R pipe to copper sweated connections, for use particularly in commercial and industrial plumbing applications. Aquatherm collaborated with Sioux Chief Manufacturing, which makes the copper portion of the stub-outs that come in 1/2-in., 3/4-in., and 1-in. diameters and are 11-in., 11-in., 18-in. long respectively.

Armstrong Fluid Technology announced its single-phase motors are available on its IVS102 variable-speed controller and Design Envelope pumps up to 7.5 hp to optimize energy savings in light commercial, residential and industrial applications. The company also showed a Chiller Plant Automation System targeted at optimizing the performance of air-cooled chiller plants. The IPC 9511 streamlines plant operations and can lower operating costs, in part, by incorporating Sensorless pump speed control technology. In addition, the company released an app for iPads and other mobile devices for its ADEPT software for industry professionals to select energy-efficient pumps.

Navien’s Heating Boiler, rated at 95% AFUE, was on display. It is offered in four sizes: NHB-55, NHB-80, NHB-110 and NHB-150 with turndown ratios of 7:1, 10:1, 11:1 and 15:1, respectively. Also shown was Navien’s NPE-S series of condensing tankless water heaters. They supply maximum inputs from 150,000 to 199,900 Btu/hr. and efficient outputs from 148,500 to 197,900 Btu/hr. Maximum flow rates are from 8.4 to 11.1 GPM. Other features include 1/2-in. gas pipe capability up to 24 ft.; 2-in. PVC venting up to 60 ft.; dual stainless- steel heat exchangers; field gas convertibility; and capability to cascade up to 16 units without an external control box.

Mitsubishi Electric introduced its Hyper- Heating INVERTER MXZ multi-zone outdoor unit for residential applications. A single out- door unit is capable of connecting up to eight indoor units, providing a solution for whole- home cooling and heating in cold-weather climates. The technology offers improved efficiency, quiet operation and decreased installation time, the company said.

VRF zoning systems
Mitsubishi Electric’s Hyper-Heating R2 series of variable refrigerant flow zoning systems joins the Hyper-Heating Inverter (H2i) family of products. The flash injection technology allows the series, available up to 16 tons, to simultaneously cool and heat down to -4° F. In addition to heating at 100% at 0°, the system can operate at 85% heating capacity down to -13°. One outdoor unit can connect to 24 indoor units and the heat pump is compatible with all City Multi indoor unit styles. The series features up to 150% connected capacity. Mitsubishi Electric U.S. Cooling & Heating Division.

Temperature-controlled showerhead
Niagara Conservation will release its HotStart showerhead, its latest UHET Water-Savings Kit product offering, in January 2015. The HotStart is a temperature-controlled, EPA- and WaterSense-certified solution that allows users to turn the shower on at full flow and wait for the shower water to heat up without being wasteful. When the water reaches 95° F, the showerhead reduces the flow to a trickle, saving the user water, energy and money. When the user is ready to get into the shower, he/she will have visual confirmation that the water is hot and can press the Resume button on the showerhead to bring the hot water back at a 2-gpm flow. Niagara Conservation.

Recycled water pipe
Aquatherm’s Lilac recycled/ reclaimed water piping system is a durable and corrosion-resistant polypropylene material that is easy to design and install for applications such as toilet/drain water, rainwater collection, laundry/cleaning and irrigation. This fully recyclable environmentally- friendly alternative to plastic and metal piping also is installed without the use of any toxic materials, glues and resins, or open flames. Lilac uses a simple heat-fusion connection to create seamless connections. Available in pipe dimensions rang- ing from 3/8” to 12”. Aquatherm.

Touchless flush toilet
Kohler adds its touchless flush technology to the company’s San Souci toilet line. The toilet has a sensor mounted on the inside of the tank that will set off the flush when a hand is over it. The San Souci is a one-piece design with a compact but elongated bowl with a seat that is more comfortable and easy to use for most adults. Featuring a 1.28- gal. flush, the toilet is WaterSense-certified to provide savings up to 16,500 gal. per year. Kohler.

Enhanced pumps
Armstrong Fluid Technology’s Design Envelope pumps now are available with single-phase motors to meet optimum efficiency and energy savings for all building loads. These pumps allow engineers to select the ideal pumping solution for the application’s needs. Design Envelope pumps include sensorless variable-speed control, integration of pump and controller, and are compliant with ASHRAE 90.1 guidelines. Armstrong Fluid Technology.