The Best Products from the 2019 Builders’ Show

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Here are the CodeWatcher editors’ picks for code-compliant products and those that help builders meet new more stringent safety, water conservation, and energy saving goals.  

At this year’s Design & Construction Week, manufacturers rolled out their latest products. One theme stood out clearly: Make things super easy for the end user. One manufacturer, Henry, even marketed its product with the good-old “1-2-3” step guidance as its main marketing message.

This makes sense as things are getting complicated in the building universe. The 2021 code process is about to go into full swing, and many builders still grapple with the current version they build under, nevermind what might be in the offing. Manufacturers seem eager to help builders navigate and meet codes and green program requirements.

Here are 14 products CodeWatcher editors consider show standouts because they make things simpler to use, faster to install, easier to see, a cinch to get rated,  longer lasting, or safer for homeowners.

  1. Internet-Connected Load Center

The Leviton Load Center is an internet-connected system that sends users real time monitoring data Codewatcher Leviton Load and customizable alerts to their smart devices. The product’s circuit breakers install the same as the standard version and communicate with a Wi-Fi or Ethernet enabled data hub located at the panel. The hub securely transmits circuit breaker data to the homeowners’ router and the Leviton cloud.

Using the company’s My Leviton App, users can:

  • Monitor electricity usage per branch circuit or appliance,
  • View usage trends and estimate their electricity bill,
  • Setup alerts to be notified when a circuit breaker has tripped and why, or if an appliance has been on or off for a user-defined amount of time,
  • Be assured the load center’s smart circuit breakers are receiving the latest firmware updates,
  • Remotely turn off a branch circuit breaker to shed loads.

In addition to smarter technology, safety is first. The company offers the only circuit breakers with patented GFCI lockout technology that exceeds existing UL safety standards. The see-through door is a great design addition.

  1. Leak Detection and Water Monitoring

Phyn and Uponor, featured a water monitoring and leak detection innovation, Phyn Plus Smart, which Codewatcher Uponor phynis now even smarter with the introduction of a B2B multi-property dashboard as well as several new features designed to improve the user experience and make homes safer:

  • Phyn Dashboard. This web-based portal that allows builders, homeowners associations, insurance providers, utilities and more to understand water use, mitigate losses from leaks by shutting off water remotely, and address water conservation and sustainability mandates across their portfolios.
  • Freeze Alert. When the temperature drops, the water pressure slowly rises as ice crystals begin to form inside plumbing pipes. Phyn Plus sends alerts related to freeze pressure build-ups anywhere in the home before they lead to pipe bursts.
  • Amazon Alexa Voice Commands. Homeowners can now use voice commands to ask Alexa to provide updates on their water consumption and even turn on and off their water using their voice. Integration with Google Home will be available in Q2 2019.
  • Water Use Plus. Homeowners now receive unprecedented insights about water consumption by fixture type throughout their homes.
  1. Durable (Changeable) Door Hardware

Schlage introduced exterior handlesets as the latest addition to its Schlage Custom Door Hardware Codewatcher Schlage custom collection Collection. Schlage Custom offers a new universal functionality that allows homeowners to change from a doorknob to a lever, a traditional look to a modern look—even a non-locking door to lockable—in just minutes, without having to remove the inner core of the lock.

The collection now features more than 70 items made with premium designs that uniquely complement any décor, from the front door to the closet. Homeowners can choose from six long-lasting finishes, a variety of styles with seven trim designs and 12 knob and lever designs.

  1. The Align Project

Green Builder Media’s stunning 371-square-foot smart home hosted thousands of visitors outside the KBIS Salon. The super efficient, resource-conserving, connected house boasts net-zero status with just a 1.2 kw Jinko Solar PV system and a tight envelope courtesy Rockwool and Dupont. The entire house is controlled by the Loxone smart home system (including operation of the cleverly concealed queen-sized Murphy bed) to save energy.

Check out the website for photos, a vid tour, and specs on all the products from the industry’s most CodeWatcher align projectinnovative manufacturers involved in this project. And because so many people asked: The house sold to a Vegas buyer and will not be produced (as of this writing) for residential use going forward. But if Tiny Houses are your jam, The Flex House, Green Builder’s tiny house from last year is just starting production in California. Check it out here.

  1. Impact-Rated Mini-Blinds for Exterior Doors

Masonite introduced Impact-Rated Mini-Blinds for its Storm Guard Impact-Rated Door product line. The redesigned mini-blinds are certified to meet code compliance in hurricane zones and simplify the installation process. The product is certified to withstand High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) and wind-borne debris (WBD) code requirements and meet all prescriptive requirements of the International Residential Code (IRC).

The mini-blinds come pre-glazed with no additional sealant required, making installation easier for Codewatcher masonite miniblind builders and remodelers. Glass inserts are available in clear and Low-E options, and all sizes feature raise, lower and tilt functions for the blinds. A plugless frame design showcases clean lines and tight miter joints along with a curved profile for the Storm Guard product line. The aluminum frame features a powder-coated finish for added style and durability.

  1. Shower Atomizer

Moen has teamed with Nebia to bring to market a patented technology that atomizes water into codewatcher moen nebiamillions of tiny droplets that create 10 times more surface area of water. Called Nebia Spa Shower 2.0, this product creates a shower experience that is enveloping, relaxing, and also effective at rinsing. The experience feels like halfway between a steam shower and a regular shower. At the same time it saves 65% of the water used by conventional showers. 

According to the company, Nebia’s droplets come into contact with your skin three times faster than standard shower heads, meaning greater pressure and rinse-ability. The product works in homes with well-below-average water pressure (as little as 20 psi) while still providing a great shower experience.

  1. Single-Source Building Envelope Solution

Henry Company introduced its new offering of compatible Building Envelope Systems for residential codewatcher fortifiberand light commercial applications, encompassing Henry and Fortifiber weather-resistive barriers, window and door flashings, sealants, foundation and below grade systems, and roofing systems. The new offering, created as a result of Henry acquiring Fortifiber in 2018, positions Henry as a single-source of Building Envelope Systems for virtually any building project.

A highlight of the new Henry product portfolio is the new Fortifiber 1-2-3 Moisture Control System. An easy, three-step, mix-and-match system, the system allows customers to select a weather-resistive barrier, a flashing and a sealant without worrying about compatibility.  

  1. 16 SEER Heat Pump Line

Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US  launched its line of MSZ/MUZ-WR Model 16 Seasonal Energy codewatcher mitsubishi ceiling cassetteEfficiency Ratio (SEER) Heat Pumps. The new heat pumps are part of the M-Series product line, including indoor units, outdoor units and controller options for residential and light commercial applications. With rated capacities of 9, 12, 18 and 24 kBtu/h, the four WR Model heat pumps’ efficiencies can reach up to 16 SEER.

Other features of the new WR Model 16 SEER Heat Pumps include:

  • 8.0 – 11.0 energy efficiency ratio (EER)
  • 8.5 heating season performance factor (HSPF)
  • Quiet operation: as low as 22 dB(A) indoor unit and 46 dB(A) outdoor unit sound levels
  • Blue Fin anti-corrosion treatment on outdoor unit heat exchanger
  • Wireless enabled (optional feature) with ability to pair with kumo cloud app and other thermostats when using the Thermostat Interface
  • Washable air filters and anti-allergy enzyme filter mechanisms
  • ECONO COOL mode delivers air at higher set point but in a swing motion, so it feels cooler which provides optimum comfort with energy savings
  • 12-hour timer which allows for one ON/OFF cycle during a 12-hour period

The ceiling cassettes, the silver color option, and the fact that the units have paintable surfaces are hip and address the issue of how the system can work with various home styles.

  1. High-Performance Rain Screen

To help architects and builders address more stringent building codes, Fiberon offers high-performance rain screens that manage bulk water infiltration, capillary water intrusion, and water vapor exhiltration.

The product contains 94 percent pre- and post-consumer recycled content, contains no toxic chemicals codewatcher fiberon claddingor preservatives, is manufactured using sustainable processes that recover 98.5% of material wasted, and diverts 70,000+ tons of wood and plastics from landfills and incinerators annually.

The product comes in eight colors, embossed grain patterns, works with horizontal or vertical applications and has a 25-year performance limited residential warranty. The product meets the Florida Building Code Test Protocols for High Velocity Hurricane Zone, among others.

  1. Ultrasonic Water Shutoff

Reliance Worldwide Corporation unveiled its new StreamLabs Control shutoff valve. The device features ultrasonic technology for real-time water monitoring, with smart leak detection and automatic shutoff capabilities.

The StreamLabs Control valve builds upon the popularity of the StreamLabs Smart Home Water Codewatcher StreamlabsMonitor, a smart leak detection device introduced by RWC last year. The product can be opened and closed remotely using the StreamLabs app, with automatic shutoff in the event of a leak.

The device uses advanced sensors to measure water flow rate, water pressure, water temperature, ambient (air) temperature and relative humidity, providing real-time push notifications, valve status alerts and freeze warnings. It also utilizes data analytics to provide water use history, conduct pressure decay testing and deliver user-configurable abnormal usage and leak alerts. In addition to Nest and Alexa integration options, the StreamLabs Control features ‘home’ and ‘away’ modes and adaptive leak detection that learns water usage patterns and introduces appropriate leak setting parameters.

  1. Solution for the “Silent Killer”

Fantech’s reconfigured RN Series Radon Fans offers an electronically commutated high-suction fan, radon-specific LDVI couplings, and diagnostic kit. Among the five Rn Series models is a new in-line fan, the Rn4 EC. The first of its kind, the Rn4 features the radon industry’s first electronically commutated (digital DC) high-suction motor, which provides for more power yet greater efficiency. The digital controls also allow for easier speed control, permitting the fan to be dialed in for operation in both high-pressure and high-flow applications, depending on need, simplifying the selection process.

The four other models in the reconfigured Rn Series lineup comprise:Codewatcher fantech

  • Rn1: Suitable for applications where lower pressure and suction are needed, offering record-low power consumption of 19 watts. Ideal choice where there is good sub-slab communication and lower radon levels. Energy Star rated.
  • Rn2: Designed for medium flow and suction, the Rn2 has an ideally tailored performance curve for a vast majority of mitigations.
  • Rn2 SL: The Slimline fan is engineered specifically for the demands of radon mitigation applications when aesthetics are a consideration. It features a sleek, neutral-colored housing.
  • Rn3: With high flow/medium suction, the Rn3 is ideal for systems with elevated radon levels, poor sub-slab communication, multiple suction points, and/or large sub slab footprint.

Rn Series radon fans are UL listed and are certified by the Home Ventilating Institute. All five radon-mitigation fans in the Rn collection now include the industry’s first radon-specific LDVI (Low-Durometer Vibration-Isolating) couplings. Designed specifically for radon-mitigation applications, the couplings are molded with a softer, more flexible material than standard plumbing couplings, easing installation while providing superior vibration isolation to dramatically reduce noise. 

  1. Durable Rails, Even in Harsh Environments

Feeney introduced DesignRail Panel Infill, a line of alternative infills for interior and exterior railing applications. The new infills will be offered in a variety of standard materials and styles, and can also be customized to meet almost any residential or commercial design specification.

Styles include stainless steel wire mesh and laser cut aluminum panels with powder-coated finishes for codewatcher feeney railsinterior or exterior applications. Feeney will also offer resin panels with embedded materials such as rice grass and leaves for use in interior settings.

Available for 36- and 42-inch railing heights, the infills can be mixed-and-matched with Feeney’s other DesignRail infill options – including CableRail, glass, vertical cable and pickets – and are compatible with all DesignRail top rail styles and with Feeney Post Accent Lights. The laser cut aluminum panel infills can be powder-coated in any DesignRail or custom color, providing even more design flexibility.

Simple to install, the infills fit easily into the pre-engineered DesignRail frame and are fully surrounded on all four sides with a low-profile aluminum channel, providing an aesthetically clean appearance with minimal transition from panel to frame.

For the stainless steel wire mesh styles, all components are fully isolated to prevent contact among dissimilar metals, which is critical in harsh environments.

  1. Standardizing Beams and Headers

Boise Cascade relaunched its 2.1E Versa-Lam LVL (laminated veneer lumber) beams and headers with increased modulus of elasticity (MOE) grades.

By shifting to a common approach for assigning MOE grades, the company will simplify the process of codewatcher versa lam boise cascadedesigning wood structures. Currently, there are two acceptable methods of determining the MOE value for structural wood beams, and EWP manufacturers have been split between the two methods. Boise Cascade is shifting to assigning MOE grades based on the method used by other EWP producers in order to simplify the design process for specifiers.

This shift will not only showcase the superior design values of Versa-Lam LVL, but will also help lumberyards reduce the risk of inadvertently substituting beams with lower design values where Versa-Lam LVL has been specified. The company will update its software design engine with the new grades in April and begin shipping Versa-Lam LVL with increased MOE grades in early summer 2019.

  1. Smart Circuit Breakers

Eaton’s Energy Management Circuit Breakers provide intelligent circuit protection and connectivity Codewatcher Eaton for virtually any application. The system automatically reports energy-saving data to utilities, provides revenue-grade metering to monitor power usage, retrofits into existing Eaton load centers (both current and legacy), and features secure Cloud-connected Wi-Fi. The breakers can be turned on/off remotely without interrupting the main source of power.