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Product Reports 2008

December 2007

Once again we present a comprehensive look at some of the year’s more remarkable building-product offerings selected by a discerning jury of your peers.

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By Rita Catinella Orrell

Each September, Architectural Record invites a jury of architects, lighting designers, and product specialists to convene for the day to help our editors select the most noteworthy building products of the year. It should come as no surprise that in the course of this year’s meeting—which took place during a turbulent week on Wall Street and in the last throes of the presidential race—that the parallel subjects of economy and energy were top of mind.

Prototypes
Prototypes

Top Ten Green Products
Top Ten Green Products

 

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One repeated sentiment this year was the desire to find products strong both technically and aesthetically. Our jury felt a special appreciation for the submissions that accomplished both, and recognized that these days, products must work harder to earn space in their budgets and buildings. Explains juror Stephen Bernstein, who focused on the Electrical category, “You realize that now more than ever, you can’t just select a fixture by the way it looks; the technical considerations of efficiency and sustainability are critical to the design-making process.” Juror Peter Syrett, AIA, felt some manufacturers could do more to help architects and designers find ways to save energy in their designs. “In this period of rapid energy-cost escalation, I’m disappointed at the low number of alternative energy products that were submitted.”

That’s not to say the jury wasn’t impressed with many of the products they reviewed, and we present more than 100 of their top picks alongside BuildingGreen’s selections for the Top Ten Green Products of the year. Jury favorites this year include a concrete structural and panel product with integrated carbon fiber (Concrete), a recyclable tensile structural fabric made from a rapidly renewable resource (Special Construction), a rotating electrical outlet (Electrical), and a gypsum board that uses 85 percent less energy to produce than competing products (Finishes)—which, according to one juror, “is the first time I have seen a manufacturer describe the embodied energy of its building product in terms of CO2 emissions reduction.”

We look forward to seeing how manufacturers will push the (building) envelope in 2009 to help meet our readers’ sustainable, economic, and design goals. Thanks to all the manufacturers that entered this year and to our jury, which included RECORD editors Linda C. Lentz and Josephine Minutillo.

 

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