It wasn’t fancy home automation systems that took the top prizes at PCBC; energy efficient products were the ones in the spotlight.
“Energy efficiency, for a long time, was considered sort of a niche, and green was a thing for people who wore Birkenstocks and composted toilets, and really it’s become table steaks,” says Laura Petee-Chriscinske, senior marketing manager at Whirlpool.
Whirlpool’s HybridCare heat pump dryer, which uses a unique reverse refrigeration process, is one of seventeen products honored in PCBC’s Parade of Products (POP).
At least ten of the products recognized conserve energy or water.
RELATED: POP @ PCBC Awards
“We’re always looking for ways that we can be more efficient in offering our products to our consumers,” says Jay Moss, chief marketing officer at Woodside Homes.
Moss says his company, Woodside Homes, already offers solar as a standard in some if its houses.
Now, he and a lot of other builders are pouring over other energy efficient products such as D’mand Kontrols hot water recirculation systems, General Electric’s GeoSpring Pro hybrid electric water heater and Toto’s Ultramax II 1G Toilet.
“When we sell a new home, the buyer is expecting the latest and greatest; it’s no different than buying a car for its gas efficiencies,” says Moss.
Mike Hodgson of energy consulting firm ConSol doesn’t blame builders for tying to get a handle on these types of technologies now. After all, in a couple of years most of those on the West Coast, especially California, won’t have a choice.
“It’s not surprising at all,” says Hodgson. “This state has a very strong energy policy, and we recently adopted a 2016 energy code just earlier this month.”
Those new, more strict energy codes will go into effect in California starting in January 2017 and will likely spread across the country. And Hodgson says luxury builders need to be the most aware.
“If you build a larger home with more amenities, you’re probably going to have to use more efficient appliances and lighting, so you’re going to be looking at even more ways to conserve water.”
So Woodside Homes and many others are focusing their efforts on closing the envelope with foam insulation, ventless dryers and saving energy with low flow toilets, tankless hot water heaters and energy-saving appliances.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see if these products surpass home automation in popularity.