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KBIS showcases high-end and practical products

June 6, 2011
LAS VEGAS — This year at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, April 26-28, here, a variety of high-end products as well as practical products, most all of them conserving water or energy, were introduced to contractors and other industry professionals.

LAS VEGAS — This year at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, April 26-28, here, a variety of high-end products as well as practical products, most all of them conserving water or energy, were introduced to contractors and other industry professionals.

Kohler’s big introduction at KBIS was the debut of its Numi toilet with bidet functionality. Numi features high levels of personal technology and forward-looking design. The “smart toilet” is WaterSense and CALGreen certified. The toilet comes with an interactive LCD touch-screen interface, built-in personalized bidet functionality and deodorizer, dual-flush technology with 0.6-gpf and 1.28-gpf, auto-open and -close lid, built-in music system, and a heated seat and foot warmer.

Kohler introduced a slimmed-down and less expensive version of its DTV electronic showering system called the DTV Prompt. Easy installation and multiple energy and water conservation settings make this an option for both new construction and remodel applications. The DTV Prompt Shower System’s technology features a large LCD screen with universal markings and backlit raised touch buttons that allow easy temperature control and water use. The shower temperature can be set to the user’s ideal temperature (default temperature is 100°F) and this will be repeated every time the shower is turned on. The user can set the maximum temperature limit, making it an ideal solution for children to shower unattended. DTV Prompt has two outlets with an integrated diverter valve so users can select shower or bath applications. Users can choose between one outlet or two outlet applications. The One outlet application has a maximum flow rate of 8 GPM (bath filler only, showerhead only, handshower only, etc.). The two outlet application has a maximum combined flow rate of 13 GPM (bath and shower, showerhead or handshower, bath filler or deck-mount handshower, etc.). The one touch operation diverter is integrated into the interface and can be configured to allow the user to switch between either outlet or run both together.

Moen introduced a new type of kitchen pulldown faucet called the Reflex. The first Moen faucets to feature Reflex are the new Brantford pulldown and matching bar/prep faucets, making their debut at K/BIS. This new system will roll out to all other Moen pulldown faucets throughout 2011. Reflex works with the user’s movement. Its resistance-free hose extends and retracts easily. Moen redesigned the weight of the hose, to provide the right amount of retraction force while preventing snags on under-cabinet obstructions. The flexible hose in the Reflex pulldown system responds to user movement. It features a ball swivel joint between the hose and wand, which offers a full range of motion that works naturally with the movement of the wrist and easily directs the flow of water from the wand. Reflex returns to the docked position after use without additional assistance. It stays securely in place when not in use, yet extracts easily with just one hand. The smooth docking feature, Moen says, is due to perfectly matched geometries in the wand and dock; the wand is shaped to fit securely in the spout, ensuring a correct alignment every time.

Delta introduced lavatory faucets from the Talbott and Lahara bath collections available with Touch2O Technology, allowing the user to tap the faucet on or off anywhere on the spout or handle. For an even cleaner experience, Addison and Lahara models feature Touch2O.xt Technology — “xt” for extra technology — that offers an entirely hands-free experience. These lavatory faucets with Touch2O and Touch2O.xt Technology offer three operation modes. In manual operation, the user can control the flow and temperature of water by moving the handle to the desired position. With Touch2O functionality, the user can tap anywhere on the spout or handle to start or stop the flow of water. Water turns off automatically within one minute on the lavatory after the faucet is tapped on. With Touch2O.xt Technology, the user can also have an entirely hands-free experience in addition to the Touch2O tap functionality. Touch2Oxt Technology features a 4-in. sensing field around the entire faucet. The faucet automatically responds when the user approaches the sensing field, no infrared sensor is used. Moving hands out of range intuitively shuts off the water flow within seconds when not needed. The faucets also have a variety of features, including LED mode indicator, WaterSense labeled, DIAMOND Seal Technology, and a variety of finish options.

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At Brizo’s booth, a modern, European kitchen pull-down, the Solna, was showcased. Its crisp lines are influenced by Scandinavian furniture and a seamless hidden pull-down wand that affords homeowners both stream and spray settings. The Solna features the Brizo brand’s first-ever hidden pull-down wand housed neatly inside the spout and held securely through MagneDock Technology, an exclusive magnetic docking system that utilizes a powerful magnet to securely lock the wand in place. This magnetic connection makes the wand extremely easy to engage and disengage, without any risk of the wand slipping from the spout when not in use. Solna incorporates a next generation DIAMOND valve, an integrated ceramic valve cartridge, featuring one ceramic disc and one diamond-embedded ceramic disc. As the two discs move against each other, the diamond-embedded disc constantly polishes the uncoated ceramic disc, removing calcium and mineral deposits. Solna is available in Polished Chrome, Brilliance Stainless and Brilliance Brushed Bronze finishes in single-hole, single-handle kitchen and bar/prep configurations.

American Standard displayed its Monoglide Hand Shower that provides a four-function hand shower through the simple action of sliding a button. The Monoglide’s non-slip sliding button changes the spray pattern by toggling from one setting to the next. Located on the handgrip away from the water stream, the button provides a choice of four spray pattern options — a wide full spray, drenching aerated spray, therapeutic massage spray and power mist spray.

American Standard also displayed a new line of commercial hands-free, dual flush toilet valves that automatically adjust flush volume, thereby consuming 20% less water than standard toilets. The Selectronic dual flush toilet valve releases a 1.1-gpf light flush when motion is detected for less than 60 seconds. A standard 1.6-gpf volume is used when motion is detected for 60 seconds or longer. The line was developed to simplify specification and installation while reducing maintenance time. The same watertight miniature sensor and wireless program controller works for all Selectronic fittings on faucets, flush valves and urinals. The sensor’s range is preset at the factory and can be adjusted either manually or via remote control. Three DC battery powered models are available. The dual flush valves are offered as an 11 ½-in. or 27-in. rough-in version, as well as a retrofit model (valve minus the stop valve and vacuum breaker).

Danze showed showerheads that are all about options for the bather. Danze 503E three-function showerhead features wide, centerjet and aeration function options. Available in 1.75 GPM and 2.0 GPM, both are WaterSense approved. The 1.75 GPM showerhead is available in chrome while the 2.0 GPM version is offered in chrome and brushed nickel finishes. The showerhead is available in a handshower option with 72-in. brass hose.

Five functions are available in the 505 Showerhead: wide, centerjet, massage, aeration, wide+centerjet, all at 2.5 GPM flow rate. The showerhead, in chrome or brushed nickel, is in a transitional style that works well with traditional or contemporary décor. The Danze 525 showerhead is also in traditional styling with the same five functions and a 2.5 GPM flow rate. It comes in chrome, brushed nickel and oil rub bronze finishes. Both of the five function showerheads are available in a handshower option with 72-in. brass hose.

GROHE showcased a variety of new products at its media event, Wednesday, April 27, at Vanity Night Club. GROHE announced the upcoming July launch of GrohFlex, a new universal valve system that accommodates the full spectrum of shower applications, from a basic tub-shower setup to a multi-function custom shower. Designed to meet the needs of the North American building industry, the new GrohFlex system is the only universal valve that handles high-flow custom showers on a single axis, and fully supports both pressure balance and thermostatic valve installations.

The core element of the universal rough-in is a one-size-fits-all installation box that will accommodate the full GROHE portfolio of trim styles. During installation, each trim is coupled with an integral four-port valve that also includes service stops and check valves to ensure water remains off during installation and service repairs. Connections to the hot and cold water supplies and the various showering outlets are made via this installation box, which provides full protection against water leakages and damage from inside the finished wall. Once the installation box is sealed in place, leaks can only flow through the front of the box and down the outside of the wall. GrohFlex will encompass 41 stock-keeping units, including three different style ranges (Authentic, Timeless and Modern) in up to four finishes (Chrome, Brushed Nickel, Polished Nickel and Oil Rubbed Bronze).

The company also showcased its new Blue faucets, providing homeowners with the opportunity to draw fresh, pure still or sparkling water directly from their home faucets. GROHE Blue Chilled & Sparkling, available late 2011, offers the additional benefit of professional-level chilled water that can be carbonated to taste and enjoyed to individual desires, whether filtered still, tap or fully sparkling. The faucet design blends European minimalism with fluid, natural curves available in U- and C-spout models. In addition to the single mixer lever (for water volume and temperature), there is also a rotating handle to control the flow of filtered water. A blue LED display on the handle blinks to indicate an easy filter cartridge replacement, based on when the capacity falls below 10%. Both GROHE Blue Pure and Blue Chilled & Sparkling feature a dedicated internal waterway that carries the filtered water from the filter cartridge to the faucet, separating it from the unfiltered.

Bemis Manufacturing Co. showcased a heavy-duty, plastic toilet seat with hinge and fastening systems that are specifically selected for the hospitality industry at its pre-KBIS media event Monday, April 25, at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. The sold-plastic seat eliminates loose and wobbly seats with the STA-TITE Commercial Fastening System and prevents slamming with the innovative Slow-Close hinges that allow the cover and ring to close slowly and quietly with just a tap. The hospitality seat also features DuraGuard, an antimicrobial agent that inhibits the growth of microorganisms on the seat, promoting hygiene and a fresh feeling. The seat is available in white with the closed-front design and elongated shape favored for hotel bathrooms.

Bemis also introduced its high-density molded wood seat featuring a combination of its WhisperClose with EasyClean & Change hinges and the STA–TITE Seat Fastening System. The high density molded wood seat features the STA-TITE Seat Fastening System’s patented one-piece integrated nut system that eliminates the need to ever re-tighten wobbly seats while cutting installation time by as much as a third. The seat also offers two hinge options: WhisperClose and WhisperClose with EasyClean & Change. The WhisperClose hinge allows the seat to close slowly and quietly with just a tap, eliminating slamming and pinched fingers. The WhisperClose with EasyClean & Change hinge combination adds the ability to remove the seat for easy cleaning by twisting two hinge caps while the bolts remain firmly affixed in the bowl. The high density molded wood seat also incorporates DuraGuard. The closed-front seat is available in elongated and round shapes, and in white or biscuit/linen. The non-tarnish hinges are available in chrome and brushed nickel.

Penguin Toilets gained attention with a toilet design that has overflow holes in the back of the bowl. The inventors had worked in the multi-family and hotel market and had seen the damage caused by toilet overflows. If the toilet clogs, water passes through the three overflow holes in the back of the bowl and through a secondary drain line directly into the sanitary main. This secondary drain is jetted with water with each flush to maintain sanitary conditions. In the event that even the overflow holes are also clogged, water can drain through the holes in the bowl’s rim through a hidden inlet into the secondary drain system. Penguin has a variety of toilets available, including a WaterSense HET and two flushometer bowls.

Rheem Manufacturing Company showcased an entirely redesigned product portfolio of heating, cooling and water heating products, including the Hybrid Water Heater with Heat Pump Technology and Condensing Tankless Water Heater.

Launching in the fall of 2011, the company’s second-generation Hybrid Electric Water Heater will feature the hybrid industry’s first color touchscreen LCD display, which will provide homeowners greater insight into the home's water heating energy usage. The interactive touchscreen is easy to use and similar to touchscreens found on other consumer electronics. This product includes three user-friendly modes of operation: Energy Saver, High Demand (normal) and Electric Heat Only. With the next-generation release, there will be five Hybrid Electric Water Heater models all featuring an impressive 2.0 EF.

The Rheem Prestige Series Condensing Tankless Water Heater is the company’s most efficient tankless water heater to-date. Operating at 94% efficiency, this water heater provides all the hot water needed for families. Boasting an industry-best minimum flow rate of .26 GPM and a minimum activation flow rate of .40 GPM, homeowners using low-flow fixtures receive hot water without having to increase the flow. The Rheem Prestige Series Condensing Tankless Water Heater works by heating only the water that homeowners need, at the time they need it. Units can vent with PVC piping, making installation faster, easier and cost-effective for contractors.

INAX showcased the space-saving, tankless SATIS integrated toilet. SATIS utilizes the least possible amount of water (.92-gpf, 1.32-gpf) to fully cleanse the bowl and ensure a complete flush every time via INAX’s Vortex Flush System, which discharges water all at once from the top of the bowl and circulates beneath the rim, creating a powerful whirlpool cleaning effect. SATIS features sensors that activate soft LED lights to illuminate the bowl interior and foot area of the fixture, and soothing music that plays as the lid automatically opens to uncover its heated seat. All its functions are fully automated, including double power deodorizing, flushing and lid closure. Plasmacluster technology cleans the air with antibacterial ions. When not in use, SATIS saves energy by automatically powering down. In addition, SATIS features INAX’s innovative “Hyper Clean” technology.

Toto showcased the Aquia one-piece dual-flush HET, a new addition to the Aquia Suite, featuring Toto’s dual-max flushing system and versatile clean lines and contemporary design. Its elongated bowl’s skirted design conceals the trap way, where dust and bacteria typically collect, which saves time by making it easy to clean. The HET allows homeowners to select the level of water used each time the toilet is flushed, 1.6 gallons for bulk waste and 0.9 gallons for liquid. The Aquia dual-flush toilet is also available as a wall hung toilet that may be paired with Toto’s DuoFit In-Wall Tank System (as well as others). Other features include a SanaGloss ceramic glaze that coats the bowl’s interior, elongated bowl, universal height, and a wall-mount push plate flush actuator.

Panasonic Home & Environment Company showcased its new WhisperControl Condensation Sensor, a wall-mounted combination humidity and temperature sensor designed to anticipate condensation and automatically turn on Panasonic ventilation fans to remove humid air. The WhisperControl is currently the only condensation sensor available on the market. The sensors detect hot air and humidity based on dew point. By accurately recognizing dew point, the sensor turns on the ventilation fans when necessary allowing for energy efficient function in all seasons for all climate zones. The product line is comprised of two models, the FV-WCCS1 and the FV-WCCS2. The FV-WCCS1 model, available in white and light almond colors, includes a blue LED light, Condensation Sentry, and a manual on/off fan switch. The FV-WCCS2, also available in white and light almond, includes the same features in addition to manual on/off fan and light switches. The WhisperControl also helps builders comply with new building codes and standards such as ASHRAE Standard 62.2, the ventilation platform adopted by LEED for Homes, ENERGY STAR Indoor Air Quality Program, and California Title 24.

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