Sound Muffler. QuietPad 420 floor under- layment allows you to reduce sound transmission between stories in tall buildings without adding noticeably to floor heights. Suitable for use with tile and hardwood flooring, the padding is a mere 1/16 inch thick but earns an IIC (impact insulation class) rating of up to 61. It comes in 5-foot rolls from 300 to 1,200 feet long. A local dealer quoted me $1,400 for a 300-foot roll. Quiet Solution, 800/797-8159, quietsolution.com.
Moment’s Notice. Moment frames are most commonly used in areas subject to earthquakes or high winds and in homes with expansive window and door openings. Until recently they required a case-specific design and engineer’s approval, but now there’s a manufactured version: Simpson’s Strong Frame Ordinary Moment Frame. Sized to fit in a 2x6 wall, the steel frame comes in sizes up to 19 feet tall and 16 feet wide. Prices range from $2,000 to $6,000. Simpson Strong-Tie, 800/999-5099, strongtie.com.
Load Up. An integral part of modern sound control, mass-loaded vinyl installs easily and barely affects wall thickness. Properly installed, SoundSense’s 1/8-inch-thick NoiseOut 2 has an STC (sound transmission class) rating of 29 — higher than can be achieved by adding extra layers of drywall to both sides of the wall. A 41/2-foot-by- 30-foot roll sells for $330. SoundSense, 631/324-2266, soundsense.com.
Sky’s the Limit. If your clients want something a little more dramatic than a simple rectangular roof window, tell them to check out Wasco’s Architectural Series Skylights. Units come with several types of glazing — including two hurricane-resistant options — and can be used on both low- and steep-slope roofs. Standard sizes start at 5 feet by 5 feet. Wasco, 800/388-0293, wascoskylights.com.
Solar-Ready. This Square D combination service entrance panel makes it easier to add photovoltaics to your client’s home — either during construction or in the future. Sold with a 200- or 225-amp main breaker, the panel has 26 breaker slots plus room for a backfeed circuit breaker and current-monitoring equipment, as well as a separate compartment for PV switching equipment. An online vendor (newark .com) sells the 200-amp version for about $1,500. Square D, 888/778-2733, us.squared.com.
Easy Does It. With Velux’s Solar Water Heating Systems, you get all the matched components you need in one package — with most of the engineering already done for you. Available with either 52 or 78 square feet of collector space, each system contains a controller, a storage tank, and collectors. Installed costs generally run between $7,000 and $10,000. Velux, 800/888-3589, veluxusa.com.
Composite Siding. Revolution Composite Siding is one of the most natural-looking composite sidings I’ve seen. It’s made from wood fiber and plastic, half of which is recycled. The 7-inch planks have 67/8-inch exposures and are 12 feet 6 inches long; they come in five matte-finish colors and cost about $3 per square foot. Alside, 800/922-6009, revolutionsiding.com.
Bright Idea. Suitable for both new construction and retrofits, Halo LED Recessed Lighting uses 75 percent less energy than the 65-watt incandescent lamps found in most can lights. And unlike compact fluorescent lamps — which commonly dim down to 50 percent of maximum output — LED modules can be dimmed down to 15 percent with standard dimmers or 5 percent with trim-adjustment dimmers. According to the maker, the bulbs have a warm white color and last 50,000 hours. They cost about $130 each. Cooper Lighting, 770/486-4800, http://www.cooperlighting .com.