This international competition drew submissions from across the globe, among them a daybed from Indonesia, salmon skin leather from Chile, appliances from large U.S. and European manufacturers, recycled cement blocks from a Hudson Valley firm, and lighting crafted at a Vermont forge.
This year, products were judged by five experts in their respective fields: sustainable architect and retrofitter Ellen Honigstock, sustainability consultant Joanna Black, green builder Mark Jupiter, green marketing researcher Doug Mazeffa, and ecofriendly interior designer Cheryl Terrace. The discussion focused on the environmental impact of materials and resources that went into creating these products, as well as their design, price, and practicality. The judges sought a healthy combination of—if not all—these criteria in winning products. They defined a clear standard for innovation; that it was about the advancement and originality of technology. Subsequently, there were no awards given in the bedding and window treatments categories, since neither had submissions that fit these standards, the judges concluded.
Panelists favored “products that offer a solution to problems in the marketplace,” says Jupiter, specifically citing do-it-yourself retrofit products. Judges were passionate about the issues at hand, critical of product claims, and uncovered a few instances of greenwashing. As Terrace put it, “we held [the manufacturers’] feet to the eco fire.” In some cases, the judges also favored lesser-known companies. “Promoting underdogs is about getting them to where they want to be,” Jupiter said. The endorsement of products from relatively unknown companies, like Big Ass Fans’ Isis Fan, the winner in appliances, was also about creating awareness, enabling those who put environmentally conscious principles into action to expand in the marketplace.
The panel took a definitive stance on corporations that have the resources to operate divisions devoted to sustainable products or production processes, but that only offer a “token” green product or line. There were several in the competition. Judges reproached these companies to improve their eco-mission. This led to the special mention for big companies making small steps, presented to Shaw for its recycled polyester ClearTouch flooring. The panelists had one caveat: they’d like to see Shaw establish a residential carpet recycling program and create a 10-year sustainability plan.
Special mentions were made for design, utility (“unsexy” practical home products), local manufacturing, and social responsibility.
Below is the complete list of 2010 IGDA winners. Please join New York House in celebrating the winners at an IGDA cocktail reception at GreenBuildingsNY on June 16 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York.—Additional reporting by Nancy Meyer and Christina Jelski
The WinnersBy Category:
Appliances Isis Fan Big Ass Fans; bigassfans.com Building Materials Pozzotive Plus Concrete Brick Line Kingston Block & Masonry Supply, LLC kingstonblock.com Floor Coverings Verte Collection Odegard Inc; odegardinc.com
Flooring Traditional Cork Flooring Expanko Cork expanko.com Furniture/Hard Goods Alfresco Collection Loll Designs; lolldesigns.com Furniture/Soft Goods Diamond Fields Lulan Artisans; lulan.com Interior Finishes Lime Putty American Clay; americanclay.com Lighting LEDme Downlights WAC Lighting; waclighting.com Plumbing Fixtures Hydroright Dual Flush converter MJSI; gomjsi.com Other Products Solon Composter System Blanco blancocanada.com