Kolbe featured its folding windows to complement its folding doors.

There always seems to be one key word or phrase that comes out of any event; you know, the word you hear the most when talking to exhibitors and attendees. At AIA it was thermal efficiency.

When describing the company’s new swing door, Miguel Chavez, Fleetwood Windows and Doors, said it introduced a new swing door as customers in the Eastern United States needed such a product to offer thermal efficiency.

When describing Deceuninck’s new Genius Window, Phillip Morton, who was integral in its design, said, “We all need to be aware of products that are more thermally responsible.”

In the past, companies may have had to choose between thermal efficiency and impact resistance, but Morton says this is no longer the case. “Usually it’s impact or thermal but now you can get both,” he said.

Most Innovative Product. That is a good segway into my award for the most innovative product unveiled at the event. That distinction goes to Deceuninck North America for its Genius Window to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2012. (If you missed our video showcasing the launch of the product at an AIA news conference, you can find it here.)

Deceuninck president and CEO Filip Geeraert described it as, “The most significant development in windows since IG.”

Passive houses. Next in the running for most uttered phrase was “passive house.” It was a term talked about at companies like Zola European windows.

“When you are designing for passive houses, R-5 isn’t enough. You need to go to R-8,” said Florian Speier, owner. This was the company’s first time at AIA and Speier said the company received great input particularly from those serving the luxury market.

Varied applications. When talking to companies I always clarified if their products are better suited for residential or commercial and most answered with a version of the following: “Anything here can go residential or commercial.” That statement was made by Marvin’s Eric Strous.

Going hand-in-hand with this trend is flexibility. “Architects are looking for flexible solutions,” said Lance Premeau, product manager, Kolbe and Kolbe Millwork.

Natural extensions. A much-talked about product category that you have seen on any trade show floor for the past several years is folding doors. What you don’t see everywhere, however, are the complementary folding windows. But Kolbe featured these in its booth and Premeau described them as a natural extension of their folding doors.

Wood alternative. At Carter Millwork, the company featured its polyurethane trim for radius applications which tends to be “70-85 percent less expensive than wood,” said David Welborn. “This is a nice alternative to wood.”

The above is a term I also heard several times on the show floor. Many companies continue to showcase wood alternatives and report that attendees have great difficulty telling the difference.

Updates from IBS. Many products I saw on the show floor were extensions of those shown at the International Builders’ Show earlier this year. Mark Shay, Royal Building Products, gave me an update on the line designed by Marianne Cusato, in which the company helps their customers design a home.

“People like the simplicity of it,” said Shay. “You only need six of the profiles and you can build 18 different surrounds and we show you exactly how to do it. It helps us sell more mouldings.”

For more news from the AIA show, read my news article.

1 Comment

  1. Tara
    Thermal Efficiency is really catching on in the eyes of architects! Over the years, I have given many seminars to architects covering ways to improve the thermal efficiency of commercial windows and doors and the impact it can have upon energy usage in commercial buildings. Architects have always been keenly interested in this topic and have indicated that it was knowledge they could really put to good use. The commercial window industry is now beginning the thermal renaissance that we saw take effect in the residential industry over the past twenty years!

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