News from the International Builders’ Show: Product Picks, Day 3
Yesterday was the final day of this year’s International Builders’ Show (IBS) and Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). Once again, I spent the whole day walking the show floors. By the afternoon, the crowds had thinned enough that I could talk to company representatives in a less-hurried manner.
The shows’ sponsors haven’t yet released the numbers, but I’m betting that this year’s attendence will approach or exceed pre-recession levels. And as I mentioned in an earlier blog, all those I talked to told me that their businesses were doing very well compared to two or three years ago. I’ve really enjoyed my time here at both shows. By the end of the day yesterday, however, I had to tighten my belt a notch, as I think I’ve lost a pound or two with the many miles of walking I’ve done since I’ve been here.
See all of the coverage from IBS & KBIS
I started the day with a cup of coffee from GE's new Cafe refrigerator, which has a built-in Keurig K-cup coffeemaker. That's the GE product engineer making it for me. The fridge costs $3300, which is $200 more than the same fridge without the coffeemaker. It makes a really good cup of coffee.
This is a cutaway showing Kohler's new Touchless toilet mechanism. It's offered on several models and as a retrofit kit ($50) for most existing toilets from all makers. Instead of using the flush lever, you wave your hand over a sensor underneath the tank lid. You can see the small battery-powered motor on the top right of the tank that lifts the flapper or flush mechanism.
It might be a somewhat alarming insight into my personality, but of the hundreds of beautiful show booths I visted at both KBIS and IBS, I felt most comfortable in the garage workshop built by Gladiator. This display shows the company's new Racing Red storage cabinets. There was also a refrigerated beer dispenser on display. I didn't indulge, or I might have stayed for the rest of the day.
Owens Corning has a new insulation system designed to make it easier and more affordable to create a conditioned attic space using high-density blown-in fiberglass. The High Performance Conditioned Attic System is currently being tested in climate zones 2b and 3b, which are warm and dry. The hope is to gradually introduce the system to colder, wetter climates to ensure that the system performs as modeled. The company has done about 100 homes so far.
This model shows how Owens Corning's High Performance Conditioned Attic System is installed. One side of the three-sided enclosure is stapled to the side of the truss or rafter, and the second side is stapled to the next enclosure using a clinch-style stapler. The weights are meant to show how strong the connections are. I'm grateful to Dr. Liang Gwee, the engineer who's working on the project. He patiently explained how everything works and why the company is introducing the product slowly.