The International Builders’ Show, the home building industry’s largest trade show and exhibition, draws home builders from across the country to learn about next-generation designs, technologies and products that will soon benefit homeowners.
After the January 2010 Las Vegas convention wrapped up, it was clear to attendees that the manufacturers of many home products have made significant strides in improving energy efficiency throughout the home. And products that contribute to enhanced comfort, convenience and elegance continue to share center stage with energy-efficient products.
Here are a few of the most intriguing new products that were introduced at the show.
• A new CFL light dimmer (Leviton Decora®) which automatically detects if the bulb is incandescent or a dimmable CFL, and adjusts the dimming rate accordingly.
• Another new dimmer (Maestro® Dimmer with Occupancy/Vacancy Sensor), made by Lutron Electronics to reduce unnecessary energy consumption.
Residential wind turbines
• A compact wind turbine (Honeywell) that resembles a large bicycle wheel with plastic blades. It can be mounted on a home rooftop and generates electricity at wind speeds as low as 2 miles per hour, the equivalent of a light breeze.
Thermal Hot Water
• A solar thermal collector made by EarthNet Energy that makes hot water for domestic use, radiant floor heat or spa and pool water heating.
Heating and Cooling Systems
• A home heating and cooling system powered by renewable energy. The system will be brought to market this summer by Lennox Industries.
• Natural wool insulation (by Green Metal USA), a product that absorbs moisture in humid climates, absorbs airborne toxins and won’t burn. It’s also produced with low energy, is recyclable and easy to install.
• Stone-coated steel tiles and shakes (DECRA Roofing Systems) that are lightweight, energy-efficient, long-lasting, low maintenance and contain over 25% post-consumer recycled steel.
• Synthetic slate and shake roofing tiles from EcoStar® which, with 80% post-industrial recycled materials, represent an eco-friendly alternative to traditional slate and cedar shake roofing products.
• An attic-ridge vent (Greenward Ridge Vent) that harvest escaping hot attic air and uses that thermal energy to preheat water in the home, by Energy Alternatives.
Outdoor water use
• A rainwater harvesting system (Original Rainwater Pillow) that’s designed to be stored in a horizontal wasted space like a crawl space or under a deck or porch.
Other innovative home enhancements introduced at the show included:
• Floating glass shelves (Bluegate Inc.) that require no hardware.
• A non-toxic, noise-proofing compound that reduces noise transfer from one room to the next by up to 90%. The product, made by The Green Glue Company, contains no volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) or hazardous odors.
• Affordable architectural-cut stone for window and door surrounds, columns, balusters, caps and sills, fireplace surrounds, hearths and mantles, by Delta Stone Products.
• Automated, vertical carousels (by StorageMotion Inc.) for the pantry and master closet, including The Automated WardrobeLiftTM and the ShoeSelect,TM which holds hundreds of shoes.
• A high-strength, elastomeric liquid rubber (Ames Research’s Blue Max) that can seal hard-to-stop leaks on below-grade foundations and basement walls, making them impervious to water.
• Decking and rails (Trex TranscendTM) that are guaranteed to outperform wood, composite materials and PVC and contain 95% recycled content.