Greenbuild 2013
Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia was low on new products, but companies focused on how important water savings and sustainable building are to customers’ business plans. Photo credit: John McNally/Plumbing & Mechanical

After walking the Greenbuild 2013 exhibitor hall Nov. 20-21, it became evident that major manufacturers did not pack as many new products or technologies for the Philadelphia incarnation of the premier sustainable building trade show.

Still, there was plenty to see and learn at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

TOTO announced a new way to report product transparency that will enable customers to earn LEED v4 credits by installing certain high-efficiency toilets. In the past, TOTO could not comply with LEED v4’s option to provide Environmental Product Declarations for the company’s HETs because LEED contained no Product Category Rule for toilets.

TOTO and Sustainable Minds — a cloud-based software and services company helping manufacturers design and market greener products — teamed up and found that current EPDs provide so much life-cycle analysis and other environmental data that they are difficult to understand for a nontechnical reader. Now, the companies put together more concise SM Transparency Reports. These are new three-page reports and have all the functional and environmental product performance information describing what TOTO is doing to make its products more eco-friendly.

To make sure the new reports are credible, the companies brought on NSF International to provide third-party verification for the life-cycle analyses. TOTO has made five of its reports available for preview at the Sustainable Minds’ Manufacturers Showroom (

“As a company, we’re living the ethos of the sustainable products we manufacture,” TOTO USA’s President of Operations Bill Strang told PM. “People will do business with a company that is in line with their personal ethos.”

Kohler’s booth displayed “We believe…” branding alongside new products such as upgrading the classic Kathryn One-Piece toilet with modern technology. The walls had taglines such as “We believe every visit has value,” and “We believe in reusing resources,” among others.

Kohler also brought its Trust the Flush tour bus into the exhibit hall. Kohler spokesman and plumber Ed Del Grande ushered more than 1,500 people into the bus throughout the two days for demonstrations on how the company’s 1.28 gpf HET can handle excessive waste.

Del Grande filled the bowl to an extreme amount with miso paste encased in plastic, flushed the toilet and visitors watched the faux excrement come through the pipe with ease.

Armstrong Fluid Technology — formerly Armstrong Pumps — touted its Armstrong Design Envelope. This program provides a “larger sweet spot” for HVAC systems that are typically designed to handle a specific peak load capacity. Using the Design Envelope will allow for a wide array of load levels, giving systems flexibility and “future-proofing” so they run more efficiently at off-peak times.

Other exhibitors included Sloan Valve, Watts Water Technologies, Zurn Industries and NEOPERL. Some new products of note at Greenbuild 2013 include:

  • Niagara Conservation released its expanded Stealth HET that now has a dual-flush model — with the easy-to-understand green button for a lower-volume flush — that the company is targeting for the hospitality market. The toilet’s maximum flush is 0.95 gallons per flush for solids and 0.5 gpf for liquids.
  • American Standard displayed its new faucet — the Times Square Widespread faucet. The stark modern design will be a focal point for any bathroom that wants to be on the cutting edge. It’s made from durable solid brass and is WaterSense-certified. It also has the exclusive Speed Connect Drain.
  • Eternal Hybrid Water Heaters showcased its residential GU120 hybrid water heater. The GU120 was officially released in October and has a 1/2-in. gas line capability that makes for a simpler and more efficient installation for plumbing contractors. Additionally, homes with the GU120 can use a shower and a dishwasher simultaneously and not worry about a lack of hot water.
  • Aquatherm unveiled its 4-in. diameter Blue Pipe SDR 17.6 for chilled water, geothermal and condenser water mains. This version provides nearly 20% more flow volume than the SDR 11, is less expensive and 35% lighter.