2015 Best of Products Awards> HVAC and Outdoor Furnishings

2015 Best of Products Awards> HVAC and Outdoor Furnishings

On a hot day in June, a jury convened to review nearly 400 entries to The Architect’s Newspaper first Best of Products competition. Submissions, divided over eight categories, abounded in new materials and exciting technologies, provoking a lively dialogue during the evaluation process.

Colin Brice of Mapos, Barry Goralnick of Barry Goralnick Architects, Harshad Pillai of Fogarty Finger Architecture, and architect Alison Spear generously contributed their considerable expertise and insight to the judging.

While the complete roster of winners can be found in our just-published print edition, AN will be publishing the results daily over the next week. Today’s categories, HVAC + Environmental Systems and Outdoor Furnishings + Products, evidenced a shared trend of sustainability. View all of the published categories here.


“Amazing idea.” —Barry Goralnick

Hot Art
BRZ Brands

This flat-panel heating system can double as a piece of graphic art: customers can choose a design from a selection of stock photos (or upload an image for a custom treatment) then have it crafted into an energy-efficient, far infrared heating panel. A 600-watt Hot Art panel will heat roughly the same area as a 1500-watt conventional space heater, while using approximately 60 percent less energy. Available in hard-wired or corded models, the units can be controlled by switch, occupancy sensors, regular and smart thermostats, and most home-automation receivers. Installed indoors or outside, the panels can be freestanding, or mounted on walls or ceilings.

Honorable Mention
Haiku with SenseME
Big Ass Fans

Made of sustainably-harvested Moso bamboo or a durable matrix composite, this Energy Star-rated ceiling fan is equipped with SenseME technology, which allows it to respond to changing room conditions. An occupancy sensor turns the fan off when the room is empty; when temperature and humidity levels change, the fan automatically adjusts its speed. The Haiku fan with SenseME can be integrated with the Nest thermostat, allowing homeowners to increase their thermostat set points and so offset their air conditioning or heating usage. Working together, the two technologies can save up to 30 percent on energy costs while simultaneously increasing the sustainability of home heating and cooling systems.

Honorable Mention
AquaSAFE Residential Fire Sprinkler System

This non-stagnant fire sprinkler system is integrated with a home’s cold-water plumbing using flexible PEX-a tubing. Flexible tubing can bend around corners and obstructions, which means fewer fittings—potential leak points—are required. Minimizing leaks is especially important for the system, which relies on having the necessary water flow available in case of activation. The shape memory of PEX-a tubing, combined with ProPEX expansion fittings, comprises a connection system that cannot be dry fit, thus eliminating another source of leaks. Additionally, the tubes can expand up to three times their diameter without cracking, greatly reducing potential for freeze damage.


“A game changer.” —Colin Brice

Walkable Photovoltaic Floor
Onyx Solar Energy

Recently patented, this walkable photovoltaic floor paver supports 400 kilograms/881 pounds in point-load tests, meets anti-slip standards, and reaches efficiency levels comparable to any other photovoltaic building material. It combines passive elements (its installation on a rooftop terrace, for example, improves the structure’s thermal envelope) and active elements (on-site power generation) to greatly reduce a building’s environmental impact while avoiding CO2 emissions. Equally important is the appealing design of the system. It offers a wide range of colors, sizes, and transparency; it can be modified to accommodate LED backlighting.

“Very consistent design.” —Alison Spear

Honorable Mention
Landscape Forms

Created and developed in partnership with designer Yves Behar and fuseproject, MultipliCITY pioneers the integration of mass production and custom materials and configurations for a global market. Structural parts are manufactured by Landscape Forms, seating and table surfaces are produced from locally sourced hardwoods in markets outside North America, and flat shipping and local assembly to international locations supports carbon-reducing sustainability. The flexible, dynamic system addresses multiple scales, applications and artistic expressions and includes six elements: a backed and backless bench, table, bike rack, LED pathlight, and litter receptacle.

Honorable Mention
Chevron Bench
Ore Inc.

Understated in design and materials, this 54-inch by 15 ½-inch by 17 ½-inch bench complements city and suburban settings. The metal supports can be finished in any custom powder-coat color. The angled wood seat is ipe, which is noted for its durability and strength, as well as its natural resistance to decay, wet conditions, and insect infestation.