A gas-fired water heater that can also produce a home’s hot water, space heating, and electricity needs won Best of Show at the 2020 International Builders’ Show.
The Enginuity Micro-CHP by Enguinity Power Systems dominated the awards this year, also winning Best Energy Efficient product and Best Home Technology product.
The National Association of Home Builders established the annual Best of IBS Awards to recognize exhibitors with a product or line that shows the best combination of design, functionality and innovation, as well as its usefulness to consumers or home builders.
Finding the top products was no easy feat: A panel of 28 judges considered over 350 entries to find the winners in 10 categories, including the best in show award that went to the Enginuity Micro-CHP, a combined heat and power system. Judges chose the winning products and lines based on design, functionality, innovation, and overall usefulness to its target demographic.
Enginuity Power Systems’ Micro-CHP is essentially a conventional water heater that happens to make power for a home. Enginuity explains that that the new system uses a “mirror-balanced” four-stroke opposed piston engine which makes the most of every cubic foot of natural gas, turning the fuel into energy right where the energy is needed and heating a home’s water with ease. The unit helps reduce a homeowner’s reliance on the grid without having to give up comfort and convenience. In addition, owners will save on electric bills as well. The Micro-CHP also took home Best Energy Efficient product and Best Home Technology product at the show.
Out of over 350 entries, these are the products that stood out:
Best in Show Winner, Best Energy Efficient Product, and Best Home Technology Product: Enginuity Micro-CHP by Enginuity Power Systems
Enginuity Micro-CHP by Enginuity Power Systems may have a complicated name, but its premise is simple: Replace a home’s traditional gas hot water heater with a gas-powered unit that produces hot water, electricity, and heat all in one unit. By running the natural gas through a generator before heating the water, the unit is 90 percent efficient, reducing the energy loss from 65 percent to only 10 percent. This ultimately will save homeowners on utilities. “Our 500cc single-cylinder engine makes up to 6.2 kilowatts of power, so it only has to run for a few hours a day to provide the hot water and electricity needed to keep an average sized American home comfortable,” the company says. The unit is built to last 20 years under normal conditions and is compatible with wind and solar power systems. And if the grid goes down, consumers can use the unit as a backup generator.
Best Green Building Product: AeroBarrier by AeroBarrier
By emitting precise amounts of sealant at a time, AeroBarrier by AeroBarrier efficiently and effectively seals a home to eliminate leaks from openings as large as half-an-inch to ones that are pinpoint small. The sealant mist is “drawn to any leaks” in the pressurized application area, which enhances a building's envelope, according to the company. Aerobarrier is based on a waterborne acrylic which is low VOC and has no off-gassing. Aerobarrier takes four hours to seal a standard-sized home and will last roughly 50 years based on a third-party durability test.
Best Indoor Product: Marvin Skycove by Marvin
The Marvin Skycove by Marvin is a pop-out glass unit designed to maximize natural light while also providing extra living space. With the integrated bench, the glass alcove adds 16 to 20 square feet of usable space. If consumers desire more privacy, the alcove can accommodate a shade system. The unit features windows on all sides with only 3-inch sight lines that create a panoramic view. Its interior is aluminum, but the bench can be finished to match the design of the room. Low E3 glass is standard to reduce solar heat gain.
Best Kitchen & Bath Product: MASST by Atlas Granite, Inc.
MASST stands for “Making Any Solid Surface Touchscreen.” Though it cannot make literally any surface, Atlas Granite says that MASST can transform any light-colored, solid-surface countertop into a touchscreen for a smart device using laser and light technology. Right on the countertop, users can scroll through recipes, watch TV and more via a projection onto the surface.
Outdoor Living Experience
Best Outdoor Product: The Outdoor Living Experience by Somfy, StruXure Outdoor and Phantom Screens
The Outdoor Living Experience is a collection of outdoor products for three settings: a culinary outdoor kitchen, the open sky theater, and a four-season SMART patio. It is a collaboration between Somfy (smart motorization solutions), StruXure Outdoor (pergola and shading structures), and Phantom Screens (retractable screen solutions for doors, windows, multi-panel systems and outdoor spaces). At IBS, the Outdoor Living Experience served as a “one-stop resource to discover all the innovative technologies that create a smart patio that clients can enjoy in any environment condition or season,” according to the joint statement.
Best Window & Door Product: Marvin Skylight by Marvin
With its large window panes that let in the sun as well as the integrated supplemental light system, the Marvin Awaken Skylight by Marvin lets homeowners choose how to best light their home, according to the company. With a mobile app, voice-controlled smart home system, or wall switch, users can adjust the LED lights by choosing its brightness and temperature to extend daylight past sunset. Its design allows for larger size than standard skylights, up to 48-by-90 inches, and its side screens keep out bugs and debris without obstructing the view. Additionally, special rain-and-environmental sensors can automatically open and close the skylight to control the air quality of the home.
Most Innovative Building Material: 2810HR Joist Reinforcer by Metwood Building Solutions
The 2810 HR Joint Reinforcer by Metwood Building Solutions is a “2 plate unit which can be placed in a “C” shape or a “Z” shape if needed,” according to the company. It weighs 5 pounds and measures 16 inches by 17 inches by 7 inches. If a builder needs to put a hole in a joist for a pipe, conduit, or wire, they can use the adjustable reinforcer to place 6-inch holes in 2-by-10 wood joists and 4-inch holes in joists measuring 2 by 8 inches.
Most Innovative Construction Tool: BILT 3D Intelligent Instructions by BILT Incorporated
With BILT, builders can now take 3D interactive instructions with them on site. Along with a list of parts included and tools needed, the voice-and-text-guided BILT gives builders step-by-step instructions on how to assemble and install products. Users can also register the product and track the warranty. By guiding the process, the app helps reduce errors, returns, and calls to customer support, according to the company. The app works for appliances, furniture, security systems, and more.