I want to share some new products that we have been using as well as a few that I have seen and will be using soon. To minimize the impact of our rough hurricane prone environment there are two products we are using regularly. One is Marvin Integrity Windows; the exterior is made of Ultrex® which is a fiberglass material with a patented coating and the interior is wood. They are extremely weather resistant and also come with impact glass rated for hurricane protection. Another great product for hurricane protection is Armor Screen, a fabric based roll down hurricane protection system. It blocks 97% of rain and wind while allowing filtered light to enter. This screen is great on porches. Because new houses are sealed very tightly, fresh air needs to be introduced to prevent sick building syndrome. In our climate it is not desirable to use untreated hot, humid air. In addition to a heat pump, each Heat, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system needs an Energy Recovery Ventilator (EVR). The EVR pre-treats the hot, humid fresh air before it enters your heat pump or air conditioner. The load on your air conditioner is less, you save on cooling cost and your indoor air quality is greatly improved.
Composting your vegetable scraps and coffee grounds is great for your garden but can be unsightly on your kitchen counter. Blanco Solon composting system traps odors and is flush mounted on your countertop. It won Interior Design Magazine's best eco product for 2010.
I currently have three favorite tile companies. The Virginia based New Ravenna Mosaics creates contemporary interpretations of the ancient art form of mosaics. www.newravenna.com The designs range from classic to whimsical and can be executed in a wide range of stone and glass. Artistic Tile http://www.artistictile.com has interest shapes and patterns that will knock your socks off. I am currently installing their Sinuous pattern in a house and everyone that walks in says - wow! Alyse Edwards Tile has interesting decorative trim pieces and liners available in stone and glass.
There is a paper based countertop material that has its roots in outdoor skate park ramps. It is Richlite http://www.richlite.com/ It is made from FSC certified wood and post consumer recycled paper that is treated with resin ten pressed and baked into solid sheets.