PHILADELPHIA — The Greenbuild Expo still had its share of oddball items, but CONTRACTOR saw plenty of practical items for plumbing and mechanical contractors.
Bradley introduced the Advocate lavatory unit, a device that seems to make so much sense that it’s tempting to ask, what took you so long? The lav includes a large-capacity soap dispenser, touchless faucet and a dual-sided hand dryer integrated into the fixture. The faucet uses just 0.38-GPM for a 24% savings over a 0.5-GPM faucet. Incorporating the hand dryer into the sink unit means the water runs down the drain instead of all over the floor. Bradley is telling users that the lav will cost them 80 cents per thousand uses.
Trox USA Inc., the Georgia-based unit of a German company, promoted its line of active and passive chilled beams. The flush-mounted radiant heating or cooling products comes in a variety of widths, Btuh outputs, and are suitable for two or four-pipe configurations.
A Pennsylvania firm, Therm-Omega-Tech Inc., showed a hot water system balancing product that makes balancing a large circulated hot water system simple. Currently, the way to balance a large hot water system in a multi-family building, hotel, nursing home or similar occupancy is to manually set balancing valves, a process that might take days to get working correctly. Therm-Omega-Tech has come out with a wax diaphragm Circuit Solver valve that operates on the same principal as the thermostat in your car radiator. The plumbing contractor needs to tell Therm-Omega-Tech the pipe diameters and the target operating temperatures and the company supplies the NPT threaded valves that will do the job.
Grand Hall, marketer of Eternal hybrid water heaters, displayed its new the new GU120 model, which can supply 2.6-GPM of hot water at a 90°F rise or up to 12-GPM with warmer supply temperatures. In line with its name, the GU120 has a 120,000 Btuh input. The unit is easier to retrofit than many tankless heaters because it needs only a ½-in. gas line, has top-mounted water connections and can vent with 3-in. PVC. It contains a 2-gal. reserve tank. It claims thermal efficiencies up to 96%.
How low can you go? Niagara Conservation introduced the Stealth UHET Dual Flush. The toilet has a raised green half flush at 0.5-gpf button and a larger 0.95-gpf full flush button. The toilet uses an average of just 0.65-gpf. It includes a low-friction ceramic surface and fully glazed two-inch trapway to eliminate the need for double flushing. The large water surface in the toilet helps ensure that the bowl’s surface stays clean. The product features a 10-year limited lifetime warranty and meets ADA height requirements. The Stealth technology involves a combination of air and water. After flushing, water fills the tank and air is forced to the top of the chamber, through the transfer tube and into the trapway. As a result, the trapway is pressurized, creating larger water surface area in the bowl. When the half flush button is depressed, the vacuum-assist chamber is sealed off to form a suction that prevents the water inside from being included in the flush. The suction force then pulls the wastewater into the trapway. As water empties from the tank, the trapway is filled completely.
Nyle Systems LLC showed one residential retrofit heat pump water heater and a large variety of commercial heat pump water heaters, such as the Geyser Series that has an inoput capacity as large as 2.4 million Btuh. Nyle promotes its heat pumps as suitable for any large commercial water user, such as hotels, barracks, apartments, laundries or gyms. The product can also produce hot water for radiant floor heating applications. The firm says that the Geyser-CCHP model will produce hot water with outdoor temperatures as low as -10°F.
Reed Construction Data showed a subscription-based service called Intelligent Leads that can help contractors find work that’s going out to bid. Combining Reed’s database of construction projects with RSMeans’ predictive cost models, Intelligent Leads offers visibility into project opportunities. The searchable database would allow mechanical contractors to search for work by keyword, say, rainwater capture or radiant cooling. The results pop up showing the name of the project, where it is, how far along it is in the design and bidding process, and information on the owner, architect, general and the engineers. The Reed folks told CONTRACTOR that they charge less money if a contractor only wants to search his state or region or more money for a large mechanical who wants to look for work nationwide, making the product affordable for contractors of all sizes.