Sustainable design comes home at West Coast Green (photos)
Green building festival West Coast Green showcases the newest ideas in sustainable home design.
SAN FRANCISCO--Each year, the West Coast Green show plays host to many companies hoping to turn what are currently considered alternative technologies into a new, greener standard for home building. This year's show, which runs through tomorrow, features everything from solar window shutters to efficient, nontoxic piping, and greywater collection systems.
Many of the products and technologies here are designed to be integrated into existing home architecture, making current homes greener and more energy efficient.
This is a colorful--and highly efficient--LED lighting display being shown off at the conference.
Aquatherm polypropylene pipes are made of a low-friction material that makes the pipes more energy efficient than traditional metal plumbing systems. They also hold energy better and do not require external insulation, according to the company.
The pipes have heat-fused joints and a flexibility in construction that mean builders can drill into the sides as needed, allowing for easily customizable systems.
The pipes also take less energy to produce than steel or copper counterparts, and will not corrode or leech toxins into the environment, Aquatherm says.
IceStone is a recycled glass and concrete mixture that can be used to build countertops. While many traditional home concrete products are produced with harmful chemicals, IceStone says its products contain no volatile organic compounds.
The company says it also kept sustainability in mind while building its factory in Brooklyn, N.Y. IceStone says its factory is lit with natural light and is outfitted with a water recycling system.
PV Solar Shutters take advantage of the sun, mounting solar cells on bamboo shutters to harvest energy from the sun.
While not capable of powering an entire home, the shutters can act as part of a larger energy system to give homeowners a way to reduce their power consumption by using the many small resources available.
Just plug the grid-tied inverter into any wall outlet to feed the power back in to the home.
Many products use the free resources of the sun to reduce energy costs and a home's environmental impact.
This solar hot water heater from Velux harnesses the sun's power to heat water for a house. The company says its product has an advantage over traditional home water heaters that require natural gas or oil because they are dependent on the cost of oil, while sunlight is free.
Aqua2use uses the water runoff collected from the shower, bath, and washing machine for garden and lawn irrigation.
The filtration system easily connects to a home's indoor plumbing and to outdoor irrigation systems, making use of the 40,000 gallons of greywater a typical home produces annually--all of which is typically discarded.