K/BIS products focus on design, conservation, efficiency

June 19, 2009
At the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show held at the Georgia World Congress Center here, April 30 - May 3, attendees previewed not only the latest high-end product designs and styles for kitchen and bath products, they also previewed the sustainable technologies that have been integrated into a variety of different products to ensure that energy efficiency and water conservation is a top priority.

ATLANTA — At the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show held at the Georgia World Congress Center here, April 30 – May 3 attendees previewed not only the latest high-end product designs and styles for kitchen and bath products, they also previewed the sustainable technologies that have been integrated into a variety of different products to ensure that energy efficiency and water conservation is a top priority.

At the show, Rheem displayed its new high-efficiency Marathon Heavy-Duty Electric, which is engineered to provide a low-cost water-heating solution for high-temperature applications in harsh environments. The water heater features titanium elements and a seamless blow-molded polybutene storage tank that is impervious to rust and corrosion. The unit will consistently deliver water at 170°F and is available in two sizes: 85 gallons with a first-hour rating of 87 GPH and 105 gallons with a first-hour rating of 101 GPH.

Rheem also showcased its first all-inclusive active solar water heating system. Nicknamed “solar in a box,” Rheem SolPak comes complete with a heat exchanger tank, collector panels, a controller, multi-speed pump, thermal expansion tank and other essential items. The solar water heating system uses a circulating pump to transfer water through the system and roof mounted collection panels designed for aesthetic design conformity.

Delta unveiled a new kitchen collection. The Collins kitchen faucet offers the firm’s exclusive Diamond Seal and Touch-Clean technologies. Its curves give it a look that will fit a variety of kitchen décors from traditional to contemporary. The Collins kitchen faucet is a single-handle, deck-mount faucet that can be used in a single-hole installation or with a matching decorative escutcheon for three and four-hole sinks. It offers a 9in. arched spout for easy filling of pots and pans. A finished side spray with Touch-Clean Technology and a finished handle button cover complete the kitchen faucet’s features.

Delta’s Pilar Waterfall kitchen faucet in a transitional style looks at home in kitchens from contemporary to traditional. The faucet features a lever handle, high-arc spout with 180-degree swing, and a front-trigger activation side spray and Touch-Clean Technology. The Pilar Waterfall kitchen faucet and coordinating bar/prep are style companions to the Pilar pull-down kitchen faucet with Touch2O Technology, introduced in 2008.

Delta’s Brizo fashion faucet brand previewed an enhancement to its high-arc Venuto pull-down kitchen faucet. VenutoSmartTouch offers the same Zen-influenced design of the original with the added benefit of touch technology that allows the homeowner to turn the faucet on and off by tapping anywhere on the handle or spout. For those who prefer a more traditional approach, standard, single-handle pull-down Venuto models also are available. Venuto also features the Brizo MagneDock magnetic docking technology, which uses a magnet to lock the wand into the faucet spout. Various models in the Venuto line are available in Polished Chrome and Brilliance Stainless, Stainless with Soft Touch and Matte Black with Soft Touch.

The big hit at Moen’s booth was the ioDigital controller, making it possible to program preferred water temperatures and pressures into its memory, so there is no need to adjust water temperature with handles. The ioDigital for the shower has four programmable presets for temperature and flow, an optional remote control, so the shower can be turned on from across the room, and a pause feature that stops water flow when needed. The ioDigital for the tub has three programmable presets, a child lock feature and an optional remote control. An Auto Top Off feature is on the remote, which keeps bath water warm. The ioDigital vertical spa controller has four custom presets and a one-touch activation of multiple water spray outlets, allowing users to switch from shower to body spray, rain shower, etc. The controller is powered by an electronic valve, managing hot and cold water supply. Moen also announced that all its wholesale lavatory faucets are now certified to meet WaterSense labeling criteria and all ShowHouse lavatory faucets feature a 1.5 GPM flow rate.

The Armstrong Astro Express Hot Water Re-Circulation System provides savings, convenience and an environmentally friendly solution for homeowners. The Astro Express supplies instant access to hot water, eliminating the wasteful process of turning on the faucet and waiting for hot water to arrive. According to Armstrong, the Astro Express can save more than 12,000-gal. of water each year. Unlike traditional hot water recirculation systems, which require a dedicated return pipe, the Astro Express System works with a standard two-pipe system and does not require a dedicated return pipe. The system is made up of two main components — the pump and the valve. The pump is placed at the hot water tank. The valve is positioned at the tap furthest away from the water heater. Once installed, the valve is easy for the homeowner to adjust, so contractors can avoid callbacks after installation.

Danze also announced that the WaterSense label is on the majority of its lavatory faucets, which are now 1.5 GPM. One of the faucets with the WaterSense label featured at the booth was Danze’s new Fairmont, a three-function pull-out kitchen faucet, featuring enhanced functionality. With the push of a button, located on the pull-out wand, users can select from three function choices: spray, stream or pause. The pause function is a convenient alternative in that it allows users to direct and control the water for in-sink and out-of-sink tasks like watering a plant or filling a pot. The faucet wand can be pulled more than 30” from the base. Danze also introduced 1.28-gpf toilets, available in all of Danze’s decorative fixture collections: Orrington, Cirtangular and Ziga Zaga.

Kohler showcased WAVE and Insight, two touchless technologies for faucets and flushometers built on the success of the advanced “hands-free” Kohler Tripoint. Kohler WAVE Technology applies to urinals and toilets, and only works upon user-controlled actuation and water delivery. The user must physically motion for the flush, which reduces false flushes and saves water. This waving motion also eliminates the fixture from actuating during use. This flushometer is equipped with a 0.5/1-gpf for urinals or 1.28/1.6-gpf for toilets. A retrofit option is available as well for seamless installation on remodel projects.

Insight Technology for wall-mount and deck-mount faucets analyzes and logs feedback from its environment upon initial installation. If the bathroom space has low lighting, or highly reflexive lighting, the sensor calibrates its factory default setting to accommodate its new home. As a result, the sensor is precisely tuned to its exact position, eliminating false actuations. Insight technology is available on several Kohler faucet lines with a factory-installed 0.5 GPM aerator for maximum water conservation.

The new Wicker Park bathroom suite, complete with high efficiency toilets, low-flow bathroom faucets, pedestals, and self-rimming or undercounter lavatories, was on display at the Gerber booth. The Wicker Park suite HETs use 1.28-gpf. Plus, the bathroom faucets are certified by WaterSense.

Gerber also unveiled its latest high efficiency toilet, the Maxwell Dual Flush, which will be available this summer. Designed in an elongated front bowl, round front or ErgoHeight model, the Maxwell Dual Flush toilet comes with a two-button actuator to clearly identify between the 1.1- and 1.6-gpf flushing options. The toilet is engineered with a large water surface and Gerber’s syphonic front jet flushing action, which properly cleans the bowl with a single flush. In addition, a fully glazed trapway contributes to this unit’s consistent flush performance.

Before K/BISopened, Bemis held a special event at the Georgia Aquarium, showcasing the Just-Lift hinge and Sta-Tite Commercial Fastening System. The Just-Lift hinge allows the toilet seat to be pulled straight up from the open position, creating a 1.5-in. gap between the seat and the bowl, which makes cleaning easy. This hinge was designed to meet the needs of housekeepers in the hospitality and healthcare industries, featuring electro-polished stainless steel lift posts integrated with over-molded stainless steel mounting bolts for reliable up and down travel of the seat.

The Sta-Tite Commercial Fastening System delivers fast installation speeds and eliminates the need for retightening of loose toilet seats. The fastening system installs up to 33% faster than conventional fasteners and achieves the exact amount of torque needed to keep seats securely fastened by utilizing a single-piece fastener that includes a glass-filled nylon nut and integrated washer. Installers use a 5/8-in. wrench to tighten the lower section of the nut after mounting the seat on the bowl. The lower section of the nut shears away when the exact torque is achieved.

Alsons offered touch-activated showering technology with the launch of the ActivTouch hand shower. Three spray-selection buttons allow the user to select up to eight spray combinations with a one-handed push of a button. In addition to the push-button spray selection, the ActivTouch hand shower offers a “pause control” button, which operates from the front or the back of the hand shower, reducing the spray to a trickle. The shower comes complete with a 5-ft. extendible, stainless steel hose. The hand shower also features anti-clog nozzles; simply rub them to remove any mineral build-up. The shower arm mount allows the unit to operate as a fixed head or as a hand shower.

Cifial introduced two new faucet lines that carry the WaterSense label — the Quadra 25 and Techno 25. Measuring just over six inches in height, each low flow faucet comes standard with a 1.5 GPM flow rate. Both lines offer a wall mount lavatory faucet, single handle lavatory faucet, and single handle high-profile lavatory faucet. Also making its debut was Cifial’s Single Command lavatory faucet, which is part of the Techno M3 collection of faucets, shower systems, fittings and bath accessories. This faucet features a single control lever that can be mounted on the left or right, depending on specific preferences.

Safety Tubs showcased its walk-in tubs, offering patented and patent-pending exclusives, including the Minute Drain and the patented T5 Door System. The Minute Drain is a powered pump that drains water up to eight times faster than typical drains without requiring additional plumbing. Equipped with safety suction and an on/off control, the Minute Drain is easily activated with the touch of a button. The T5 Door System technology has a watertight seal created by the Safety Tubs Santoprene tube that runs the length of the door edge and sits snugly against the doorframe. As water fills the tub and the water pressure against the door increases, the weight of the water further compresses the tube, creating an even tighter seal and preventing any water leaks. The door cannot be opened when water is in the tub. All Safety Tub models have comfortable and wide contoured seats that are built in with color-matched handrail and come with a variety of options, from the Hydro Massage Air Bubble System and Hydro Massage Jet System to faucets with rapid fill rates and hand-held showers.

Everpure introduced Claris, the 5-stage softening and filtering system that makes it possible to dial in the amount of mineral preferred for specialty coffee and steam applications. The Claris system features DUOBLEND bypass valve technology that provides consistent and precise adjustment of carbonate hardness, resulting in the right balance of minerals in the water while the system ensures that chlorine, organics and unpleasant tastes and odors are reduced efficiently. Plus, the system protects the equipment from scale deposits and has a multivalve head with autoshut off and quick-change cartridges.

Grand Hall displayed its Eternal hybrid water heating system using patented counter-flow design and multi-pass heat exchanger technology. The Eternal maintains an 86% thermal efficiency rating with consistent pressure. The Eternal GU32 is one of the cleanest gas burning appliances on the market, operating at a significantly lower emission rate of only 5ppm NOx. The unit can be vented with PVC. In addition, a Florida-based firm, Integrity Sales & Marketing, developed a complete solar heating package system combining several technologies. The new heating system includes an Eternal hybrid water heater and TCT ProgressivTube Solar water heater along with a SummerAire hydronic air handler, resulting in a system with enough capacity to heat an entire home or business.

Mr.Steam announced the introduction of day spa steam bath systems for the hospitality and wellness communities. Mr.Steam has offered its CU commercial steam systems for larger sized steam rooms and now has unveiled its CT Day Spa steam systems to address smaller day spas, individual hotel rooms or fitness centers. Mr.Steam’s commercial, large-room Steam bath CU generators provide high-performance, low-maintenance product solutions. The Mr.Steam CT Club Therapy Day Spa Steam Bath System offers a space-saving, energy efficient and water-conserving product for smaller day spas and specialty resorts. The CT steam bath systems are built for one to two occupants.

German tub maker Kaldewei introduced heavy gauge porcelain-on-steel tubs and shower pans that a drawn from single sheets of steel. Kaldewei’s new Bassino bathtub allows bathers to escape pressures and experience a completely new feeling of relaxation with an unusual form and size that enable the bather to float freely in the water. The generous dimensions, 78 x 39 in., of the straight-lined bath allow the bather to stretch out and be supported by the warm water. Internationally renowned Phoenix Design of Stuttgart and Tokyo designed the bath. Like all Kaldewei bathtubs and shower trays the Bassino is made with Kaldewei steel enamel that carries a 30-year guarantee.

At Toto’s booth, sustainability met elegance in Waza Collection’s Miyabi Series of toilets and faucets, which conserves water while capturing the beauty of Japan’s four seasons. The toilets consume 1.28-gpf, and faucets consume 1.5 GPM. For this collection, Toto reinterpreted Kiyomizu-yaki, a historical art form from the Kyoto region of Japan — each toilet and lavatory is unique with hand-painted, intricate detailing. Four different designed are available, representing spring, summer, fall or winter.

Toto also introduced a new technology, GyroStream. When equipped with GyroStream, a shower system’s water flows through nozzles oriented on two different axes that tilt and rotate, resulting in consistent water distribution. The pressure generated as the water flows through the casements creates a rapidly rotating motion, and consumes only 0.8 GPM.

About the Author

Candace Roulo

Candace Roulo, senior editor of CONTRACTOR and graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences, has 15 years of industry experience in the media and construction industries. She covers a variety of mechanical contracting topics, from sustainable construction practices and policy issues affecting contractors to continuing education for industry professionals and the best business practices that contractors can implement to run successful businesses.      

About the Author

Robert P. Mader

Bob Mader is the Editorial Director for Penton's mechanical systems brands, including CONTRACTOR magazine, Contracting Business and HPAC Engineering, all of which are part of Penton’s Energy and Buildings Group. He has been  with CONTRACTOR since 1984 and with Penton since 2001. His passions are helping contractors improve their businesses, saving energy and the issue of safeguarding our drinking water. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with an A.B. in American Studies with a Communications Concentration.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Contractor, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations