I think Pentair has done a great job staying on the forefront with technology. This is mainly based on the Intelliflo pump. We have installed so many of these and our customers love them. They were one of the first that I saw to jump on the "green" bandwagon as well and show customers what they could do to make their pool more efficient.
Grand Effects is putting together a very nice offering, with some amazing new additions recently. http://grandeffectsinc.com/water-fire/water-fire.html
Their products aren't "green" by any stretch, but the beauty and elegance is unmatched. All UL listed as well, which is rare with these types of products.
I have to agree about Pentair... not only is the Intelliflo amazing, but they continue to push the envelope with their automation products. ie you can now controll you Intellitouch remotely with a free app for your iPhone, and you can also hook up multiple security cameras to the system which can be viewed remotely. Does anyone else even come close?
I also like the offerings from Nexxus Lighting. High output nicheless LED pool lights with very little energy consumption, and numerous options for fiber optics, lighting water features, as well as yard lighting, which can all be color synced together.
I am quite impressed with the "solar attic" concept. Solar heating of a swimming pool is nothing new. But taking heat out of the attic so that your house stays cooler in the summer, while coincidentally warming up your pool - now that's a pretty cool trick. especially in Texas!
I also give a big thumbs up to anything that completely eliminates chlorine from the swimming pool, e.g. Ecosmarte.
Viking Pools has continued to lead the way in the fiberglass pool industry with innovations like closed beam construction, built-in cleaning systems, cascades, streams, and aromatherapy. We also have an array of unique finishes, one of which - Crystite - can be customized to create millions of color possibilities. I would be happy to review in detail with you or send you a packet of information.
Innovation seems to be rare and is not associated with any single company.
StaRite was innovative when they designed the Max-E-Therm from the ground up while the other heater manufacturers were adding fans and monkeying with existing designs. It was so innovative that Pentair reportedly purchased the company so they could sell the heater as their own.
Pentair was innovative a few years later in designing the Intelliflow. The other companies are still struggling to catch up.
Jandy was innovative when they first created the Aqualink control system years ago.
Balboa's M7 technology spa packs are innovative in differential temperature sensors and off peak switching.
Both Hayward and Pentair have innovative LED lights -- a big improvement over halogen color pool lights
Allen Industries' Tight Watt 2 doesn't use higher technology than other timer manufacturers, but their design shows a good understanding of the real world. (They make a pool timer that adjusts with the season.)
It is a small design tweek, but Hayward's DE filter has innovative "legs" that let the manifold stand up while the grids are assembled.
Jandy's sweep plumbing is innovative, but not very practical in real world installations.
There have been many innovations regarding VGB, but it may be too early to see which ones are the real gems.
It would be interesting to interview the engineers who were responsible for these innovations. In this climate of mega companies purchasing smaller innovative companies I wonder what the real story of innovation has been and what the future of innovation will be.
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Mark Richter Pool Pro Office
Great discussion Rex. I have already found some companies here which I will be looking at to supply solutions for my customers.
I want to nominate Emotron's PSP20 and another product from them which they launched at the Vegas show called the Eco-Flow.
The PSP20 has been my VGB secondary layer of protection solution of choice since I began VGB work. During my research, I was looking for a reliable, simple, cost effective solution for my clients (in that order by the way.), and the PSP20 won hands down. Many of you here a familiar with the PSP20, but if not, here's the link for it: http://www.usa-emotron.com/psp20poolprotection.aspx
The Eco-Flow is the first and only stand alone variable speed controller designed for pool pumps. It allows customers to keep their existing pump and motor, even if it is single phase. To me, this is brilliant. Replacing a customer's pump and motor, while it is still working well is a hard sell. With the Eco-Flow, they can keep what they have and simply add this variable speed controller to reduce power consumption, while maintaining their turnover rate.
Here's the link to Eco-Flow: http://www.H2FLOW.NET. I encourage you to take a look. Not only is this a opportunity for us to increase our cash flow; it's an opportunity to assist our clients to go green.