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IBS/KBIS Trade Show


IBS/KBIS Trade Show

New products, trends and technologies from the International Builders Show and Kitchen and Bath International Show in Orlando.

By Douglas Weinstein

IBS-KBIS grahic

THE INTERNATIONAL BUILDERS SHOW, in tandem with the Kitchen and Bath International Show, were held February 8-10 in Orlando, Florida. There were definitive trends in building methodologies including resilient fire retardant building cladding materials, energy recovery heating/cooling systems and clean air strategies, as well as enhanced insulation materials that solidifies the movement towards passive designs that lower energy usage and provide for healthier environments.

Another major trend that is now front and center as far as manufacturers' marketing efforts go is the move towards sustainable packaging. Virtually every booth we visited made mention of how green they have become over the years, with lean manufacturing and net zero facilities and supply chain efforts towards lower carbon footprints and recyclable materials being the focus of their marketing initiatives. Sustainability is the new black.

There seemed to be much greater awareness of environmental issues that are pushing design discussions towards a more sustainable and resilient future – from California’s fire seasons to new building codes – requiring vendors to up their game as far as bringing to market solutions that homeowners are not only becoming aware of but are asking for. Wellness and healthy indoor environments are more than just a trend.

There were plenty of induction technology introductions and incredible building cladding materials on display that solidify the move towards performance home strategies most manufacturers and builders are embracing.

Of course, there were still the obvious greenwashers in attendance. Take the cement consortium who set up camp in a rather large booth in the South Hall. They had major signage touting cement as the queen of sustainability. Rather odd we thought considering the cement industry is responsible for about eight percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, more than double those from flying or shipping. If it were a country, its yearly pollution would only be topped by the U.S. and China.

When we walked into the booth, past the major signage “Cement is critical to a sustainable future”, and asked how cement was sustainable, the representative explained that buildings in London have lasted for hundreds of years, so in fact cement reduced the need to rebuild every x-amount of years, thus reducing its overall carbon footprint. When we pointed out that Portland stone wasn’t cement and that the wooden Horyu-ji temple in Ikaruga, Japan, was constructed 607 AD and is one of 48 ancient wooden buildings protected by UNESCO in the area, we were met with a blank stare, and the inevitable “that’s another way to look at sustainability.”

It was only on closer examination that the representative admitted that the booth was paid for by a consortium of cement vendors. Now, in all fairness, the concrete industry is making strides in reducing its footprint, but they have a long way to go, especially when there are alternative materials available today. So the greenwashing wasn’t really necessary, as the world must move away from pumping carbon into the atmosphere.

Another greenwasher of note was the American Gas Association who were touting the benefits of top-of-the-line gas stoves and other appliances that rely on gas. It was a slick, beautiful booth with gorgeous appliances, meant to titillate the inner chef and inspire one to dream about having that Forno Galiano gas range in your kitchen. Stealthy greenwashing from a leading trade association that has great sway in the halls of congress is nothing new. And, obviously, within the building community gas is still a major player.

Those obvious blemishes aside, there were plenty of induction technology introductions and incredible building cladding materials on display that solidifies the move towards performance home strategies that most manufacturers and builders are embracing. Think of it as passive design gone mainstream. And, of course, one of the joys of going to trade shows is to visit the various vendors who are coming up with wonderful products that homeowners will benefit from and love you for including them in their new digs. Here are just a few that caught our eye and that we will be reporting on throughout the year.


JBL Conceal C86

The SPAN Panel is a smart electrical panel designed to modernize your home energy system by completely replacing your existing electrical panel, whether new-build or retrofit. 

With SPAN you can control and monitor every circuit in your home from your phone, understand how your home is sourcing, storing and using energy in real time, and modernize your home without worrying about your existing electrical system.

The SPAN Drive is a Level 2 EV home charging station that pairs with your SPAN Panel. Through the SPAN Home App, Drive allows you to charge faster, cleaner and smarter than any other EV charger on the market.

SPAN Drive is designed for real-time coordination with all home loads, solar and home batteries, for  max charging speeds and optimized energy usage without costly home electrical upgrades.

Zip Water

Zip Water
It has been a few years since we first reported on Zip – they make the HydroTap system that instantly dispenses filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling water all from a single tap.

Two new features for us were the filtration system, which is pretty mandatory for performance home strategies, and also the new HydroTap Touch-Free Wave which provides a 100 percent touch-free solution at the wave of a hand.

And keep in mind that being able to instantly access hot water without having to heat up water on your stovetop will conserve energy. So there is a sustainability message in addition to a convenience story for this unique and contemporary product. Check it out here.




Talk about sexy and you’re talking Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens. They are recognized as a leader in expertly engineered stainless steel outdoor kitchens. As design-build professionals all know, outdoor kitchens expand a home’s living space and help to bring family and friends together for cooking and entertaining.

Danver was showing the new Cosmopolitan Table Collection, the brand’s latest collaboration with celebrated architect, designer and creative director Daniel Germani. The portfolio includes three new product offerings: the Cosmopolitan Prep Table, Cosmopolitan Dining Table and Cosmopolitan Cooking Table. In keeping with the brand’s commitment to design innovation, this new collection provides versatile solutions for outdoor spaces of any footprint and was created to blend seamlessly with any of Danver’s product offerings so that homeowners can build their space over time. The Cosmopolitan Collection is available for purchase in the full range of durable, low maintenance powder coat solid finishes available within Danver’s current color palette.

Of note – the Cooking Table offers innovative Invisacook induction technology! This versatile solution introduces cooking capabilities for spaces that may not have room for a grill or can act as a serving table with built-in warming capacity for a larger footprint kitchen. Key features include the option for two or four burners, two soft-close storage drawers and an under-table, pass-through storage shelf. Very cool!

Danver Cosmopolitan Cooking Table

Beko is the leading brand in the European white goods market and has been making inroads into the U.S. market for a few years now.

Building off their EverFresh+® fridge freezers which keep fruit and vegetables fresh for up to 30 days, they are now incorporating HarvestFresh™ , which is a proprietary 3-color light technology that simulates the 24-hour cycle of the sun inside the crisper drawer. By mimicking a full day of sunshine, the produce has been proven to retain its vitamins and minerals longer than ordinary refrigerators.

Kohler introduced the Statement VES Showering Collection — an eco-friendly showerhead offering that demonstrates the brand’s commitment towards sustainability and water conservation.

The Statement VES showering collection introduces water-usage engineering to deliver a luxurious showering experience and carries the EPA WaterSense certification. Statement VES honors minimalistic design inspiration with elegant simplicity, developed with a precise balance of size, number and distribution of nozzles to deliver a superior spray experience. Its low-flow spray is optimized to provide strong rinsing coverage while maintaining warmth – addressing two key experiences. The collection leverages Kohler’s Katalyst Air-Induction Technology which delivers larger drops that not only retain heat longer (up to ½ degree warmer), but also cloak the body in water for a luxurious soak. In addition, the unique Racetrack waterway technology delivers powerful, consistent spray coverage.