Exiciting New Products From the International Builders Show
At the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas, over 60,000 building professionals gathered to view what is new and exciting for today’s Housing Industry – and the 1,600 exhibitors on hand at this year’s 65th Annual “look-see” once again came through with flying colors.
With attendance noticeably down, due to economic conditions, one might expect the mood to have been somber and subdued. But, surprisingly, this was not the case. Exciting new products, new techniques and energy-saving innovations were on display and being introduced at every turn setting a very upbeat (and encouraging) tone overall.
It is estimated that about 10,000 components go into building a new home – from roofing and windows to lumber and fasteners – and this year, it seems almost all categories received some sort of dramatic innovation, make-sense improvement and/or exciting new introduction.
Going, Going, Gone (Green)
The number one focus at this year’s show was “Going Green.” And it was, in fact, greener than ever, with attention being paid to nearly every aspect of construction and every individual component of the home. Here is some of what we especially liked:
Starting at the top, numerous solar hot water systems and a vast array of photovoltaic collectors were featured and on display – all powered by the free energy of the sun and being further fueled by enticing tax credits and utility company incentives. Simply put, they are a now truly a hot item and a serious consideration for all homes – especially those throughout the Sun Belt.
A nifty solar-powered, remote controlled shade for Tubular Skylights, introduced by ODL, also taps the free energy of the sun. A small solar collector placed inside the tube continually powers a rechargeable battery that operates a 10” by 10” horizontal fabric roller shade. It also features a two-bulb solar-powered LED Night Light and both the shade and LED light are controlled by a wireless remote. Free natural light both day and night. Very cool!
Another exciting natural light innovation is the new line of super energy-efficient SeriousWindows™, by Serious Materials, with a full frame R-value of up to R-11. They are five to 10-times more efficient than other leading brands and the durable vinyl and fiberglass frames make them both extremely energy-efficient and virtually maintenance free.
For inner wall construction, two standouts caught our attention. One is the new Comfort Foam Polyurethane Foam Insulation by BASF, that – in addition to providing better insulation at walls, floors and ceilings – also acts to improve structural integrity, thus strengthening a home and making it much less vulnerable to damage from high winds. Another inner-wall innovation was Green Award-winning environmentally safe Bora-Care® by Nisus Corporation, a spray-on pre-treatment for wood framing that wards off destructive termites and other pervasive pests (even cockroaches) and eliminates the traditional pumping of 200 to 300 gallons of chemical soil treatments under and around the average home.
The Grass is Truly Greener
This year, when they say “the grass is greener,” they really mean it.
Environmental Turf Inc. offers six specially-grown grasses developed for warm-season regions (from California to North Carolina and south to Florida) that require less water and less fertilizer than many other grasses on the market today. Some may even be irrigated with alternative water sources, saving on precious drinking water supplies. Environmental Turf is a Green Award-winning firm offering environmentally-friendly turf grasses that minimize the need for watering and curb the amount of chemicals and fertilizers released into the ecosystem , all with an eye toward sustainability, ecology and beauty.
Another greener green innovation is Drivable Grass® by Soil Retention, Inc., that is a concrete grid system that allows real growing grass to serve and survive as driveways and parking areas. A close-knit grid of two-inch square permeable concrete “muffins” support the weight vehicles and both absorb and release moisture to better nourish the field of green grass growing between each and every row. Their motto: “Please stay on the grass.”
Putting it all together
Interesting and amazing totally green living spaces were abundant as well, such as the new innovative hi-tech green building project by developer Steve Ribeiro. Located in Independence, Oregon, and billed as the” World’s Greenest Building,” Independence Station is a $15 million 57,00 sq. ft. mixed use building that is mainly solar-powered and fueled by vegetable oil. When completed, it will set world records for leadership in energy-saving, energy-producing environmental design in new construction and project developer Ribeiro is now recruiting interested tenants.
In the tool arena, Craftsman introduced a broad spectrum of innovations that include: A new cordless rechargeable nail driver-hammer that will drive nails up to 16 D framing sinkers (meaning no more tennis elbow or banged-up thumbs!); Plus a new smaller-handled cordless drill as part of the “Comfort Fit” Series of tools for the fairer set; And a tool-purchase discount program for returning veterans who will be retrained for work in the construction industry as part of the admirable “Helmets to Hardhats” program.
Remote Security and Overhead Beauty
Other interesting items range from enhanced security to adding a touch of sheer beauty. Case in point, affordable electronic keypad locks and deadbolts that use four-digit access codes for entry are rapidly gaining in popularity. Pioneered by Schlage, the industry leader has just introduced the first and only wireless-controlled Z-Wave enabled keypad locks allowing full 24/7 remote control and monitoring of homes – cross-town or cross country – via the internet using personal computers and web-enabled cell phones. Now you can remotely change or add access codes anywhere at the touch of a finger and receive back info as to who is coming and going. It’s called LiNK and it represents some of today’s newest electronic technology at its best.
Beauty-wise, overhead, a stunning pre-fab coffered ceiling system, by Acoustic Ceiling Products LLC (ACP), allows one to quickly and easily turn any room into a stunning showplace with the architectural detail of 2’ x 2’ rich wood panels nestled in a pre-fab cross-tee grid that – when finished – rivals the elegance of any Euro-mansion or lavish boardroom. It’s call Evoba™ (which is “Above” backwards) and it is affordable chic that is certainly worth checking out.
Overall, this year’s Home Builders Show and Housing Industry focus can be summed up in five simple words: lean, green and not routine.
For information on these products and more, search www.onthehouse.com or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474!