2019 NAHB IBS view of the expo floor

Top 5 Trends To Watch For From The 2019 NAHB International Builders Show

Are you still battling FOMO from having missed this year’s International Builders Show? Fear not, the SEM team is here to help breakdown the most exciting home performance trends of the 2019 show.

Let’s start with some facts!   

2019 marked the 75th anniversary of the International Builders Show and was met with the best attendance in over 10 years. Over 100,000 attendees descended on the Las Vegas strip to take advantage of 130+ educational sessions and over 600,000 sqft. of exhibit space. The fact that so many of us were able to take time away from day-to-day business really speaks volumes to where we are as an industry right now. There’s no denying that the last few years have been a great time to be in the construction industry.

Much to our excitement, a common thread of home performance was noticeable throughout the show. It seemed every vendor was trying to speak to how their product or service helped improve performance. 2019 marked the sixth year for the High Performance Building Zone, a dedicated space for live workshops, product demos, and networking with like minded individuals. This space lead to some highly productive conversations with peers from across the country and words of wisdom from some of North America’s leading home performance experts including Gord Cooke and Joe Lstiburek.

After three long days of networking, we’re here to ante up with the top 5 trends you should be excited about following this year’s show.

1. Air Sealing Made Easy(ier)

Few things can make or break a home’s level of comfort and efficiency like air sealing details. A good portion of our time in the field is spent working with builders and trades focusing in on the minute details. Often times we only get one chance to get these right! There were several products in this category that we think will help make life a little easier and improve consistency:

AeroBarrier is an innovative aerosol acrylic product; sprayed into the building envelope, it seals any air leaks from the inside out.  It’s just gone to market within the last two years but we believe this product has the potential to really streamline the air sealing process.  No more managing of multiple trades and countless individual details… This controlled application is monitored in real time and can be dialed in to guarantee a certain level of performance.   You define your targets and let AeroBarrier do the work from there.

Dupont’s Flex Wrap EZ  provides an elegant solution to the age old problem:  “I’ve worked so hard to build a tight envelope and then my trades punched a bunch of holes in it”.  This flexible, butyl-backed flashing system creates an air and watertight flashing around any penetrations in the envelope.

2. Exterior Sheathing - Going Beyond Structural Requirements

This years show hosted numerous sheathing products designed to go beyond just their structural properties.  Similar to the perennial favorite ZIP wall, LP’s WeatherLogic sheathing has an integrated moisture barrier and tape system for an air and watertight envelope.  Going one layer beyond moisture management, Huber’s ZIP R-Sheathing and ThermalStar One add an integrated layer of exterior insulation helping to remove the thermal breaks from the home’s envelope.  Ask yourself: “Can I improve how I deal with moisture, air and heat flow in my envelope all while streamlining my processes?”  Spoiler alert: Yes, you can!

3. Heating and Cooling - The Next Frontier

Are ductless mini split HVAC units the future?  I wouldn’t bet against it! With extreme efficiency, nearly silent mechanicals, and the ability to remove duct work and corresponding chases, mini splits offer a compelling reason to rethink the status quo.  This year Mitsubishi won a “Best of IBS” award with their flush mount ceiling cassette that mounts between two 16”OC floor joists.  Maybe it’s time to say goodbye to your duct work…

4. Ventilation - The Year of the ERV

It’s the year of the Pig — and the Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)!  If you haven’t taken a look at your whole house ventilation strategy in awhile, now is the time.  Don’t know what a whole house ventilation strategy is? Call us, we need to talk!  ERV’s are balanced ventilation systems that use outgoing exhaust air to pre-condition and dehumidify incoming fresh air.   Historically these have been one of the more costly ventilation strategies. Broan, Fantech and others flooded this year’s show with affordable options fast approaching cost parity with the other strategies.  

5. Energy Independence with Solar

To the disappointment of many, Tesla didn’t show up with their solar single — but the good news is that several other manufactures did!  RSG Powerhouse solar shingles won a “Best of IBS” award for Energy Efficient Product,  LG NeON panels boasted an impressive 370W/panel, and several manufactures displayed battery storage options.  Power density is on the rise, costs are falling, and various aesthetic options are popping up. Check out SEM’s Zero Energy Blueprint program to learn more about how you can offer energy independence as an upgrade option for your buyers!  

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Remember, there’s no need to gamble with home performance! Take the guesswork out by working with a reputable HERS rater and trusted manufacturers.

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