I am beside myself with excitement over drywall and linoleum.
Almost every year I look at the BuildingGreen top ten products for the upcoming year and wonder, how can I make this interesting or exciting? They are sometimes as boring as watching paint dry. One year it actually was about paint drying. This year at Greenbuild they tried to make it even less exciting by putting the presentation in a drab corner of the hall with little screens and lots of ambient noise, but Brent Ehrlich and Nadav Malin made the best of it. And really, there is some interesting and important stuff going on here. My top picks of the top ten:
USG Sheetrock Brand EcoSmart Panels
Alpen ThinGlass Triple and Alpen ThinGlass Quad
But there have been so many advances in glass technology for the screens of our phones and tablets. Alpen has put some of these to work and used really strong, thin 1mm glass to replace the usual thick panes in the middle. The glass doesn't cost less than the usual 3-pane glass, but being thinner and lighter, it may well drive down the cost of Passive House quality windows because the frames and hardware can be lighter. Even our usually reserved BuildingGreen people can't help themselves:
That is exciting because replacing a double-glazed IGU with a ThinGlass Triple would improve the whole window U-value by 35%–45% over a standard dual-pane option, according to the company. And perhaps the best part: the cost of these Alpen ThinGlass windows is the same as their standard triple-pane offerings.
Duracryl International Corques Liquid Lino
Now they have somehow figured out how to deliver it in a bucket; you pour it out and somehow, magically without heat and rollers, it turns into a Lino floor. Brent writes:
CLL cures overnight at room temperature, so it has a much smaller carbon footprint than standard sheet linoleum with jute backing, which can take an energy-intensive 30 to 60 days to cure at the factory. And unlike with sheet goods, there is no trimming, no welding seams, and very little waste during installation.
It does seem like magic to me, but if it works, it's pretty amazing. I didn't think you could actually improve linoleum, but they have.
R-50 Insulation Systems Rich-E-Board
We also have no idea how long it will last. When the vacuum goes and it fills with air, we have nothing but a bit of poly iso, a problematic insulation on its own. It is an interesting product, but I really wonder how it will be used or misused, and whether we should be rethinking our aesthetics.
There are lots more at BuildingGreen, from MDF panels made from rice to levitating chillers to low CO2 carbon pavers. Check them all out.