Greenbuild 2017: Three Products


Three of my favorite products at Greenbuild 2017 are simple, with no moving parts: a window buck, an acoustical panel, and siding.

ThermalBuck is a product of BRINC Building Products in Pennsylvania. It’s really not that cold in Pennsylvania, so bless those souls for making a product that speaks to climate zones 6, 7  and 8.

ThermalBuck is an L-shaped piece of expanded polystyrene  (it’s Styrofoam) with a  resin coating. It replaces the standard wood buck made of dimensional lumber needed to provide a nailing and securing surface for windows beyond the stud plane.

The product is ridiculously simple. These folks are selling L-shaped extrusions of Styrofoam with only one real application, but it is a good one. Wood bucks are a known weak link in continuous insulation systems, and we run into it on every project.

Zintra is a sound absorbing panel made of 100% polyester, manufactured by Australia-based Baresque. Half-inch panels have NRC rating from .45 to .90, depending on installation. The manufacturer says the panels are completely recyclable using “ordinary” means. The panels come in several colors, can be digitally printed, and can be cut with CNC or manual methods. In fact, Baresque has done a remarkable job making their panels look interesting by cutting or otherwise forming them into shapes and patterns.

We have been working on a number of projects without carpet on the floor or acoustical tiles suspended from the ceiling. Zintra looks promising for sound attenuation in these kinds of spaces.

A little digging suggests the recycling claim is not as robust as it should be. The Maine-based zero-sort recycler, Casella, says they cannot recycle the panels. I will update this post if the distributor finds a way to recycle.

Boral TruExterior is a family of exterior siding and trim made from a proprietary blend that includes 70% fly ash. Fly ash is a byproduct of coal burning, and it looks like there is a lot of fly ash around. The sidings are the shapes you would expect in a product that mimics wood, such as clapboards. The company claims their wood-pulp free product is not affected by moisture to the point that it is approved for ground contact. End cuts do not have to be primed. TruExterior apparently works like wood: it cuts and nails like wood. This could be a game-changer as the industry moves away from wood-based products, fiber cement, and PVC, which are the other choices for residential and light commercial buildings designed to fit in with traditional, small scale architecture.

TruExterior is also certified Cradle to Cradle, which means it has been reviewed and scored on material health (gold), material reutilization (silver), renewable energy and carbon management (bronze), water stewardship (bronze), and social fairness (bronze).

Follow Mike Sealander, Maine Licensed Architect:


Principal at Sealander Architects, Ellsworth Maine. Revit guru. Married with 3 children. Avid gardener. Lived in San Francisco for nine years. Master in Architecture from Columbia University Bachelor of arts in religious studies, Wesleyan University. Graduated Staples High School, Westport CT. Hope to spend some time in Hokkaido before all is said and done.

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