NEW ORLEANS — Contractors at this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, held here, April 19-21, were the first to see a variety of new and enhanced kitchen and bath products designed with universal appeal and ADA compliance.

And, as usual, water and energy conservation is top of mind for the manufacturers exhibiting at KBIS.    

Delta Faucet introduced a contemporary collection of faucets, showers and accessories for the bath with its new Ara product suite. Influenced by the angular silhouettes featured on modern residential architecture, the Ara collection boasts a crisp rectangular shape with a slim profile. The Collection, which will be available in the fourth quarter of 2013, is offered in contemporary chrome and Brilliance Stainless finishes, and features a large range of products, including enclosed spout and channel spout configurations on its single-handle and two-handle widespread and wall-mount faucets; 14, 17 and 17T series tub and shower trims; handshowers; and three- and four-hole Roman tub faucets.

Additionally, one-handle vessel riser option and enhanced coordinating accessories including a 24-in. double towel bar, universal mount tank lever and 30-in. towel bar are also available. The Collection, which is WaterSense labeled, also features DIAMOND Seal Technology (exclusively for 2H Widespread products), MultiChoice Universal Valve; and H2Okinetic Showers. Delta also showcased the Corrente toilet, a high-performance, water-efficient model that offers worry-free installation at an affordable price. The two-piece unit has a variety of built-in solutions for an easy installation process with no additional tools required. And, bearing the WaterSense label, the toilet uses 1.28-gpf for a savings of more than $90/year in reduced water bills. 

Moen showcased the new Arris bathroom collection. This new complete bathroom suite carefully considers the balance of style and function to provide a collection that is low profile, yet ideal for grand master baths. Available in Chrome and Moen's LifeShine Brushed Nickel finishes, faucet options within the Arris collection include a single-handle, single-hole mount faucet, as well as two-handle widespread and wallmount platforms.

All faucets are certified to meet WaterSense criteria. The faucets are flow-optimized and allow water to flow at 1.5 GPM, versus traditional aerators that flow at 2.2 GPM. Extending the look to the bath tub, matching three- or four-hole Roman tub faucets, are available. The collection can also be combined with Moen's innovative ioDIGITAL Roman tub, which brings the benefits of technology to the bathroom. The benefits of this collection extend into the shower, as well. The Arris suite features ExactTemp shower-only trim, and Posi-Temp tub/shower and shower-only trim options, each with the same exquisite styling as the faucets. Showerhead options include a standard showerhead, an Eco-Performance standard showerhead, a 10-inch rainshower, and an Eco-Performance rainshower. The Eco-Performance showerheads are certified to meet WaterSense criteria with a flow rate of 2.0 gpm. A 14-in. shower arm is also available to easily create an overhead showering experience without a full-scale remodel. The Arris suite also utilizes the innovative Moen M•PACT common valve system on its widespread and wallmount faucets, showering options and three- and four-hole Roman tub faucets. This advanced valve architecture makes it quick and easy to change the style of the faucet in minutes without replacing any faucet plumbing. Simply unscrew the handles and spout, lift them out and replace them with the new style or finish. It is just as easy to change the shower trim. The Arris bathroom collection is ADA compliant.

Kohler showcased a new dual-flush toilet line, featuring the familiar side-mount trip lever feature, but with an innovative two-piece design that makes it easy to understand the two flushing options. Actuating the bottom, or long portion, of the lever provides a 1.1-gal. light flush and pressing down on the two pieces together provides a 1.6-gal. full flush. Kohler dual-flush technology boasts significant water savings of as much as 16,500 gallons of water annually for a family of four over a 3.5-gpf toilet. The new dual-flush toilets carry the EPA WaterSense certification and their siphon jet performance is similar to existing 1.28-gpf toilets, providing exceptional performance and bowl cleanliness. Unlike standard dual-flush toilets with actuator buttons on the tank lid, the new Kohler dual-flush trip lever is ADA-compliant, allowing the Comfort Height toilet models with this flushing system to carry the ADA compliancy.

Kohler also showcased the Sensate, a new touchless kitchen faucet. To equip the Sensate faucet with superior touchless functionality, Kohler developed Response technology with a state-of-the-art sensor to respond in 20 milliseconds for consistent and reliable on/off operation. But what sets Sensate apart from the rest is its truly touchless and intuitive use — no bare-skin taps or awkward waving necessary. And with an activation area strategically placed on the underside of the spout, use is precise and natural; simply wave your hand, cup, pan or kitchen utensil through the activation area to start or halt waterflow. Since the sensor drastically reduces handle interaction, it serves more as a setting control that is smaller in scale, allowing the user to easily tweak the water temperature and flow when transitioning to new tasks, all while looking natural in all positions. Sensate’s signature aesthetic element is the black bonnet — an unexpected touch that adds a subtle detail to its design. A finish-matched bonnet is also available to match the available finishes of Polished Chrome and Vibrant Stainless.

Danze Inc. showcased the Parma, a 4-1/2” multi-function showerhead. Following the overall design cues of Danze’s longstanding and popular Parma bath collection, this showerhead continues its bold contemporary style. With five functions (wide, centerjet, aeration, massage and wide + centerjet), the Parma 4-1/2” showerhead adapts easily to user preferences.

This showerhead also features an Easy-Glide selector ring with lever to ensure ease of use when changing function selection. The Parma showerhead also incorporates several beneficial innovations. The Danze Air Injection technology infuses air directly into the water stream. This, combined with the internal D-Force dual valve engine, provides improved spray intensity, consistent water temperature and quiet operation. The new showerhead includes a solid brass ball joint with high strength polymer shell to ensure quality and reliability and has 71 easy-to-clean jets. It’s available in both Chrome and Brushed Nickel finishes.

Danze also showcased the Antioch Pull-Out faucet, featuring a 7” high spout and 9-3/4” spout length — a true design statement for any main sink or island setting. With organic curves and a graceful handle design, the Antioch Pull-Out faucet is added to the family’s other kitchen faucets (Single Handle Faucet and Articulated Spout Faucet), and complements its full-line of bathroom faucets and shower products. This pull-out faucet features a ceramic disc valve, two-function spray/aerated stream and quiet running hose with retraction. It operates at a maximum flow rate of 2.2 GPM at 60 psi and meets the low-lead requirements of California and Vermont legislation. The new Antioch faucet is available in three finishes: Chrome, Stainless Steel and the emerging Tumbled Bronze.

Attendees at this year’s KBIS were the first to see Mansfield's two new high-efficiency toilets. Both Montclair HET and Essence HET use only 1.28-gpf, and complement the current fixtures in the Essence and Montclair Suites. The suites are part of Mansfield’s Affordable Style collection, and include matching toilet, sink and tub options in a variety of design styles. The Montclair and Essence suites’ original toilets use 1.6-gpf. The new Essence HET additionally features a sleeker design than the Essence Suite’s original toilet, with a smooth contoured tank and lid. In addition to using only 1.28-gpf, the new HETs also feature concealed trapways for easier cleaning; comply with ADA requirements; have 3-in. flush valves that deliver faster tank emptying rates, resulting in better flush performance; include jet and hydraulic enhancements that virtually eliminate clogs; consistently shut off over a wide range of water pressures thanks to pilot-operated fill valves; and IAPMO/MaP certified to flush 800 grams (Essence HET pending certification). Mansfield’s seven Affordable Style suites are known for high style at affordable prices. The suites range in design styles, from contemporary to traditional. Three other Affordable Style suites come with water-saving toilet options, including the Barrett Suite, the Waverly Suite and the Enso Suite.

Niagara Conservation showcased eco-friendly showerheads at KBIS. The Vara Spa comes as both a handheld and fixed mount combo showerhead with five spray settings, including full, pulse and center. The Vara saves 20% over standard showerheads with its 2.0 GPM flow rate, saving 5,475 gallons of water per year and $107 off utility bills, and specialty diverter valves allow easy shift from fixed head to handheld.  The new Rainfall showerhead, also showcased, features a sleek, modern design with a large 8-in. diameter face plate that provides a wide, full body spray pattern for a soothing rain shower experience. High-efficiency 2.0 GPM flow rate saves 5,475 gallons of water per year and $80 off utility bills. The showerhead also features a 360° balljoint swivel for easy adjustment.

During a private party at the historic Roosevelt Hotel, Bemis Manufacturing Company introduced a new heavy-duty, plastic toilet seat with hinge and fastening systems that are specifically selected to meet the needs of the hospitality industry and surpass the expectations of their guests.

The durable solid-plastic seat is made to withstand the rigors of commercial usage while offering two features designed to please hospitality customers as well as maintenance and housekeeping staff: STA-TITE Fastening System, which cuts the initial installation time by a third and eliminates forever the need to tighten loose seats; and Whisper•Close hinges, which allow the cover and ring to close slowly and quietly with just a tap, eliminating slamming. The seat is available in round or elongated shapes and in two models: white and white or bone with DuraGuard Antimicrobial Built-In Seat Protection.

Pentair showcased the Everpure PBS-400, which is now available for the home. The PBS-400 offers the convenience of being added to any existing faucet, which means there is no need to change your current plumbing configuration. The Pentair Everpure PBS-400 introduces great-tasting, crisp, clean filtered water at the prep sink and at the wet bar for mixing drinks and making ice. The submicron design rids water of unwanted lead, particulate and chemical impurities, and provides a fast, convenient water flow. Also showcased were the Everpure 2CLM and 2CLM-S cartridges, the first chloramines solutions designed specifically for office coffee and water applications. How can chloramines impact drinking water and coffee? Chloramines can cause chlorine-like taste and odor in beverages. They can also alter the aroma and taste of coffees by oxidizing the aromatics and oils, reducing the pH balance and causing drinks to sour. Both cartridges reduce chloramines, chlorine taste and odor, particulates and cysts. The 2CLM-S cartridge also features scale inhibition, which reduces limescale buildup to conserve energy and minimizes equipment downtime.

Rheem debuted an entirely redesigned hybrid water heater. With an Energy Factor (EF) of 2.45, the new Rheem Prestige Series Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater has the highest efficiency in its class. It costs less than $16 a month to operate, and homeowners can expect to save $329 annually with this ENERGY STAR-qualified unit, compared to a standard 50-gal. electric model (0.90 EF and 4,879 kWh). The Rheem Prestige Series Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater uses the power of air to heat water more efficiently. Instead of heating stored water directly with a conventional electric element this water heater transfers available heat from the ambient air, intensifies the heat and transfers the heat into the water.

Rheem employed its 360° +1 design philosophy, which involves Rheem engineers evaluating every detail of a product and then creating new designs that promise greater serviceability, installability and performance. Rheem developed its Prestige Series Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater using this philosophy, and contractors will benefit from a number of enhancements. The most noticeable update is the inclusion of the water heater industry’s first-ever full-color, backlit touch-screen control. The touch-screen provides homeowner service alerts as well as detailed, text-based diagnostic information for the contractor, which makes problem solving and troubleshooting easier. Rheem has also integrated its exclusive EcoNet technology into this unit, which will facilitate future connectivity between Rheem appliances — such as heating and cooling systems, pool and spa heaters, and remote access tools. It will also ensure optimal performance and energy savings for homeowners, while simplifying installation, maintenance and troubleshooting for contractors. Additionally, EcoNet is future-compatible with home automation, energy management and demand-response systems. The Rheem Hybrid is EcoNet ready right out of the box.

InSinkErator showcased two newly redesigned hot-only models in the Invite line: the Classic and Contour. With affordable price points, homeowners can now fulfill their desire for these popular kitchen amenities without breaking the remodeling budget. InSinkErator — a business unit of St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co. — first introduced its instant hot water dispensers in the 1970s, but the two new hot-only models complement a wide variety of kitchens of the 21st century. Adding to the list of features is an upgraded hot-water stainless steel tank that comes with each Invite dispenser and offers longer life and improved performance. A more robust optional filtration system is also available and includes the F-1000S and F-2000S filtration systems. F-1000S is the standard filtration system that replaces the F-201, and, like its predecessor, it reduces chlorine, taste and odor. F-2000S is a new premium filter system, and it similarly removes cysts, lead, mercury, asbestos, benzene and atrazine. The hot-only models are designed with an automatic shut-off feature and instantly dispense 200-degree near-boiling water, helping to expedite cooking and preparing hot beverages like tea, hot chocolate and coffee. Hot water from a dispenser is also used to loosen baked-on food, remove stubborn lids and clean without the use of harsh chemicals, making it an essential aid to today’s busy homeowner.

Panasonic Eco Products Division highlighted a new retrofit solution for bathroom fan/heat combinations with the introduction of WhisperFit-Warm. The product (model FV-07VH3) not only ventilates bathroom moisture and odors, but also provides an added source of heat with a quick, one minute warm-up. WhisperFit-Warm features an aerodynamic fan design that delivers quiet operation and one-minute warm-up function that quickly heats up a cold room. The fan also has a unique, low-profile housing to fit in a 2”x6” joist cavity or nearly every ceiling capacity. In addition to easy installation and super quiet operation, Panasonic’s WhisperFit-Warm has a thermal fuse protection on the motor, three-level safety device for the heater and a fully enclosed condenser motor for long life. The 1300 Watt Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater ensures safety and reliability. The detachable filter removes dust from exhaust air and is easy to clean. The product is also manufactured with a contemporary grille design for increased aesthetic appeal.