Buzz: Product News Roundup, Pulled Out a Plum Edition

Colors of the year, toxic-material buzzwords, top green products, and more product news from around the industry this week.

Exclusive Plum• We’ve entered that fun time when paint manufacturers begin releasing next year’s signature colors—those hues that reflect our current culture, state of mind, and style choices. Sherwin Williams’ pick for its color of the year is “Exclusive Plum,” described as a dusky, silky violet.

• Also releasing its color report is Pittsburgh Paints, whose “Book of Now” compilation of 2014 color forecast stories highlights keywords such as “versatile,” “optimistic,” “dynamic,” and “elegant.”

• This is also the time of year when magazines compile their favorite finds. One of the most respected is BuildingGreen’s Top 10 Green Products, which this year includes CLT and mineral wool.

• Broadening the scope, here are This Old House’s Top 100 favorite new-home products from the year.

• If your pickup’s past its prime, here’s a look at three truck models rolling off the lines in 2014.

• Our reclaimed-material-loving hearts are pounding over these bike chain chandeliers.

• Trying to keep toxic materials out of your projects? Memorize these 4 red-flag product descriptors.

• If there’s no room in the bathroom but plenty of room in the budget, try a wall-hung toilet on for size.

• 6 fun-and-functional products from the Remodeling Show.

• USGBC and UL are teaming up to increase building material transparency.

8 unique range hoods.


Innovation: Recycled-Aggregate Wall Tiles Replicate Look of Metal, Wood, and Other Materials

Agrestal tiles in Rivet and Plank.

From across the room at the grand opening of the Urbanata sustainable products showroom in South Seattle, the wall of Agrestal tiles looked like oxidized, riveted metal, accented with wood along the base. As I drew closer, the aesthetics remained quite convincing.

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Green: Upstart Upcycling Company Helps Waste Materials Find New Life

Used ski lift cables have found new life as decorative-and-functional stairway handrails.

After spending a few years in the waste management industry, Damon Carson grew weary of watching perfectly good things get discarded. Today his career still revolves around waste, but with a focus on what can be saved. Read the rest of this entry »


Buzz: Product News Roundup, Window Safety Edition

Product news from around the web this week, including window safety tips, the Final Four floor, universal design strategies, and oddball accessories.

Marvin's Window Opening Control Device limits a casement window's opening to 4 inches unless overridden by a two-step process.

•  It’s National Window Safety Week! Here are some safety tips from Marvin (plus a look at their cool new Window Opening Control Device). Read the rest of this entry »


Green: Low-Flow Toilets Show Big Promise

Even in wetter regions, water conservation is likely to become a bigger concern for all Americans in the near future. Government predictions are dire: Within a few decades as many as 36 states could experience water shortages. Water is already causing political and boundary tensions in some areas of the country.

The good news is, there are plenty of easy product swaps around the house that can put a dent in your clients’ consumption—and their water bills—without affecting their day-to-day life. Read the rest of this entry »


Buzz: Product News Roundup, Woman Caves Edition

The rise of the backyard woman’s retreat, appliance complaints, tall wood buildings, and other product news from the past week.

•  Move over, man cave. Backyard greenhouses are coming back into fashion as a retreat for the lady of the house. Read the rest of this entry »


Buzz: Product News Roundup, No Allen Wrenches Required Edition

IKEA-inspired modular housing, 50 hot green products, invisible universal design, and other product-related news from the past week.

The Swedish-inspired 1br/1ba Activ modular house from IdeaBox is priced at $86,500.

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Green: What’s Hot in Residential Solar?

I had the pleasure of catching up with Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, as he preps for the upcoming PV America West conference. Here’s what he believes to be the biggest current trends in residential solar: Read the rest of this entry »


Buzz: Product News Roundup, Show Stoppers Edition

Product-related news from the past week, including highlights from the 2012 International Builders’ Show, modern wood paneling, thermostat wars, and more.

Benjamin Obdyke's HydroGap drainable housewrap was one of many buzzed-about products at this year's Builders' Show.

Couldn’t make it to the Builders’ Show last week? Here is a selection of post-show highlights: Read the rest of this entry »


Buzz: Product News Roundup — Radiating Beauty Edition

Sophisticated radiators, finding the perfect circ saw, solar goes standard, mis-labeled light bulbs, and other building product news from the past week. 

• Forget hissing and spitting. Here are 6 wall-mount radiators that Read the rest of this entry »


In Practice: Rustic-Yet-Modern Steel Fireplace Surround

When was the last time a fireplace surround stopped you in your tracks? In a sea of ho-hum hearths, this one-of-a-kind beauty stands out for its Read the rest of this entry »


Buzz: Product News Roundup – Royal Wave Edition

The holidays didn’t slow the flow of interesting building product news last week. Here are a few stories that caught our attention, including Queen Elizabeth’s alternative energy installation, solar-generating paint, 2012 trends, fabulous fireplaces, and more.

• The Queen’s Gone Green: A pair of turbines installed in the River Thames will generate enough wave-powered electricity to power most of Windsor Castle. Read the rest of this entry »