Innovation: Nest Unveils New Twist on Smoke/CO Detectors

protect-black-pathlight 2Two years ago, Nest Labs wowed the building industry with its “learning thermostat,” an iPod-inspired device that drastically simplified energy efficiency in the home–and looked pretty snazzy doing it (read our coverage here). So it’s no wonder we’re pretty stoked about the company’s latest introduction: a new spin on the smoke/carbon monoxide detector. Read the rest of this entry »

Innovation: Garage Door Sheds Tracks, Springs, and Rails


Trento in action.

Trento in action.

We spotted a cool new garage door–the Trento Collection by Amarr–on Remodeling magazine‘s website. Instead of the typical track and spring setup you’re used to seeing in homes around the country, this Italian-crafted wood door uses a double-counterweight system and integrated opener to lift the top section up and back, then fold the bottom panel up into it.

Absent of tracks, rails, springs, and a visible opener, Trento not only looks nicer, but also is more compact and is therefore an ideal option for garages with space limitations, such as underground parking and brownstones.

The doors have an R-value of 10.6 and come in a range of styles.

For more details and to see a video, check out the original post on Remodeling or Amarr’s Trento product page.

Image courtesy Amarr Garage Doors.

Innovation: Panasonic Introduces Dual-Voltage Tools

The Dual Voltage-ready EY74A1LS2G 1/2" Drill/Driver Kit

The Dual Voltage-ready EY74A1LS2G 1/2″ Drill/Driver Kit

Panasonic’s Power Tool division is increasing the flexibility of its cordless tools with Dual Voltage Technology, an industry-first offering that allows users to switch between 18- and 14.4.-volt lithium-ion batteries on the same tool.

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Innovation: EcoBust Demolition Compound Eliminates Jackhammering of Concrete & Rocks

Imagine demolishing an old foundation, a concrete stoop, or even backyard bedrock and boulders without the noise and dust of jackhammering and without explosives. EcoBust, a new product from Canada, makes it possible.

EcoBust is a non-toxic powdered compound that, when mixed with water, expands to four times its original size, thereby exerting extreme pressure on rock or concrete and causing it to break.

It can be used for small and large projects following three steps: drill holes in the rock or concrete, mix the compound, and pour into the holes. Cover the holes with a tarp and, within about 24 hours, the material will fracture and split into manageable chunks for removal and disposal.

Along with eliminating the physical stress and dust of jack-hammer demolition, or the permits and special skills required for explosives, EcoBust is ideal for situations where access is difficult or noise is restricted.

For more information, check out this video and visit

New: Toto Unveils 1.0-gpf High-Efficiency Toilet at KBIS

The plumbing industry’s mission to develop high-performance water-conserving toilets at ever-lower flow rates took another step forward at the Kitchen & Bath Show (KBIS) last week when Toto introduced the 1G Double Cyclone toilet, which offers Read the rest of this entry »

Innovation: Recycled-Aggregate Wall Tiles Replicate Look of Metal, Wood, and Other Materials

Agrestal tiles in Rivet and Plank.

From across the room at the grand opening of the Urbanata sustainable products showroom in South Seattle, the wall of Agrestal tiles looked like oxidized, riveted metal, accented with wood along the base. As I drew closer, the aesthetics remained quite convincing.

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Innovation: Thermador Launches Industry’s First Full-Surface Induction Cooktop

Thermador has taken the kitchen’s latest must-have—induction—and made it even more innovative by opening up the entire surface to cooking.

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