A Few Inspiring Products Amidst the new Normal at IBS
Sitting at the airport bar, having just left the International Builders Show, waiting for a delayed flight, it’s time to muse on the International Builder’s Bash (okay, Show) in Orlando. It’s impossible resist comparing attendance and mood to prior years. IBS attendance keeps dwindling, although now in single digits. The mood has stabilized, no despair, no exuberance, the new normal has settled in.
Manufacturers have not done much to innovate, but truth be told, innovation in the last years of the boom had become silly: refrigerators with built in televisions, whirlpools with floating keyboards to surf the net, multiple shower heads that evoked images of water-boarding, fish tank toilets, etc. Then green become the rage, everything turned green as if the Wizard of Oz had taken over the industry. Now this year’s IBS theme was… I couldn’t tell, neither dazzle, nor green, it just seemed routine. Homebuilding as it used to be, “We’re back to the 90s,” according to one NAHB staffer I met on the airport shuttle.
Nevertheless, a couple of products caught my eye, NanaWall, makers of high end, wall-to-wall glazing systems, those huge expanses of glass that open and close with fingertip ease, has come out with wildlife-sensitive glazing.
Bird Protection Glass: A window pane clear as… well, glass, that from a bird’s eye view is anything but transparent, it appears a solid wall. Birds won’t fly into it. No more dead robins on the deck. This made me wonder how many other products exist to protect wildlife from the hazard of humanity, maybe a good story for a future FHB artilce, a really neat story—hats off to NanaWall!
Other products that impressed, solar plantation-style shutters by Solar Shutters that turn the sunlight we turn away when closing the shutters into electricity. Just plug the shutters into an outlet and solar cells deliver, instead of devour, electricity. Problem is, most of us close the shutters at night for privacy rather than during the day to block the light–maybe they work well in the sunniest climates. Those of us in the darkened heartland would never turn away a drop of sun.
The heart of innovation seems to belong to apps and web-based information, management, and networking systems. Check out Buildpedia.com, an organized index of building information, check out Fine Homebuilding’s, from-the-beginning compilation of searchable articles, everything: Fine Homebuilding 2010 Archive DVD-ROM, and then beta-test Cadreas.com, the newest networking site for builders and homeowners.
Bird Protection Glass: A window pane clear as… well, glass, that from a bird's eye view is anything but transparent, it appears a solid wall. Birds won't fly into it.
Just plug these Solar Shutters into an outlet and the solar cells deliver, instead of devour, electricity.
For those of you still in love with the log cabin, a beautiful but notoriously inefficient form of construction, there’s SIPS-style, foam insulated logs from Golden Eagle Log Homes.