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Products - Eco Picks Featuring Windows, Skylights & Doors

All products featured here have been screened and approved by our partners at BuildingGreen. Click here for more information on product evaluation and criteria. If you have an interesting product to showcase, please contact our products editor, Brent Ehrlich, at greensource-products@buildinggreen.com.

Compiled by Brent Ehrlich

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Suncurve Lightshelves

Suncurve Lightshelves
Interior lightshelves are installed on windows to reflect natural light up onto ceilings, reducing glare and the need for artificial lighting. Most flat, or planar, lightshelves don’t work as well when the sun is low in the sky, but the curved, polished aluminum surface of Suncurve lightshelves reflects this low-angle light farther into the building, improving light dispersion by up to 153 percent, according to the company. Made using Lamcel’s honeycomb aluminum construction, these adjustable lightshelves are only ¼-inch thick, weigh just 1 pound per square foot, and are available in painted or wood grain finishes.

Lamcel; New York, NY. 514-457-4760; www.lamcel.com
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Parans Daylighting System

Parans Daylighting System
HUVCO’s Parans daylighting system provides natural daylighting to interior rooms where skylights or light tubes aren’t practical. It uses solar panels (mounted on a facade or roof) made up of 62 Fresnel lenses that track the sun and concentrate the light into flexible fiber-optic cables. These cables can be snaked through buildings to interior rooms where they supply light to fixtures that look like traditional skylights, or like fluorescent or spotlights. Some light is lost as it travels through the cable, but options are available that incorporate energy-efficient fluorescent fixtures that turn on when light levels are low.

HUVCO, L.L.C.; Rohrersville, MD. 301-432-0678,
800-832-6116; www.huvco.com
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Savannah Trims Solar-Powered External Louvers

Savannah Trims Solar-Powered External Louvers
External blinds control the amount of sunlight entering the building, but few use the sun as a source of power. Skyshield, makers of a wide range of exterior louvers, is now incorporating SIMU’s Autosun solar-powered motors, whose 1-watt photovoltaic (PV) cell and 22-milliamp nickel metal hydride battery supply enough energy to operate the louvers; a second PV cell can be added to ensure power under low-light conditions. The PV and battery are small enough to be integrated into the frame and do not require any external wiring, which means fewer penetrations into the building.

Savannah Trims, Inc.; Lake Park, FL. 561-656-2556; www.savannahtrims.com
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Rytec High- Performance Doors

Rytec High-Performance Doors
It takes 30 seconds or more for the large doors in warehouses and garages to open or close. In that time a considerable amount of energy pours out of those doors—particularly in cold climates. Rytec’s high-performance doors close in as little as three seconds to minimize this energy loss. The company uses counterbalances to reduce power consumption, and optical sensors stop the door in case equipment or people get in the way. Several high-performance doors are available, including insulated models that contain thermal breaks and those with windows that allow natural light in.

Rytec Corporation; Jackson, WI. 262-677-9046,
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Nysan External Roller Shades

Nysan External Roller Shades
Nysan’s external roller shades keep light and heat out of the office and glare out of occupants’ eyes. These motorized shades can be operated by a switch or hooked into automated building controls. They are available in a PVC-free greenscreen fabric made from high-tensile polyester that meets North American and European fire-rating standards, withstands harsh weather, and comes in five openness factors (the amount of light allowed through) and a variety of colors. Nysan external roller shades are UV and rot resistant and come with a 10-year warranty.

Hunter Douglas: Contract Window Coverings Division; Poway, CA. 800-727-8953; www.hunterdouglascontract.com
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Rocky Mountain Hardware

Rocky Mountain Hardware
Family-owned Rocky Mountain Hardware started out making custom products for homes in Sun Valley, Idaho. It now offers handmade, solid-bronze door, cabinet, bathroom, and lighting hardware for commercial and hospitality use out of a LEED Gold-certified headquarters. Rocky Mountain Hardware uses bronze containing 90 percent recycled content—50 percent from post-consumer sources, as verified by Scientific Certification Systems. Bronze changes with age, so the company can help clients choose from among two metal formulations and a variety of colors and textures to find products that best suit the building, whether a rustic log cabin or high-end hotel.

Rocky Mountain Hardware; Hailey, ID. 208-788-2013, 888-788-2013;
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ENERsign Windows

ENERsign Windows
ENERsign is not your standard window. Made by the German company Pazen Fenstertechnik and distributed by Quantum Builders, ENERsign windows are designed to have almost no thermal bridging. There are thermal breaks between components, sealed with butyl rubber gaskets; the glazing is a low-e, argon-filled triple-pane glass with warm-edge spacers; and the exterior frames are durable fiberglass packed with carbon-impregnated EPS and polyiso insulation. The interior frames are triple- laminated wood, so they even look good. Though still awaiting an NFRC rating, ENERsign windows meet strict Passivhaus standards. An integrated exterior shade system is also available.

Quantum Builders for Sustainable Living, Inc.;
Berkeley, CA. 510-559-3488;
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Apollo Light Pipe

Apollo Light Pipe
Using one of the largest solar collector domes in the industry, a highly reflective tube, and proprietary light diffuser, the Apollo Light Pipe effectively transfers natural light into commercial buildings, providing electricity-free natural light for up to 10 hours a day. The Apollo’s acrylic dome and built-in flashing withstand harsh weather outside; the sealed diffuser prevents moist air from entering from the inside; and closed cell insulation between the flashing and dome prevents condensation. For those rainy days when artificial lighting is necessary, the Apollo can be used along with Orion’s lighting controls and high-bay fluorescent fixtures.

Orion Energy Systems; Manitowoc, WI. 877-204-7540; www.oriones.com
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