“We have a little bit of everything in our booth,” said Miguel Chavez, Fleetwood Windows and Doors. That also seemed to accurately sum up the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention, which opened yesterday in Washington, D.C. From trim products to lumber to glass and windows, the event offered a little bit of everything to architects who serve both the residential and commercial markets.

Boral introduced a new category of exterior trim. “We are pioneering the poly-ash category,” said Tom Zimmerman, director of sales and marketing. The product offers a high level of dimensional stability, is 70 percent recyclable and comes with a 20-year warranty.

“The lumberyard dealers who use it are pleasantly surprised,” he said.

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. He reported that most of its business is residential but it is looking to expand into the commercial market. “This is a nice alternative to wood.”

But there were plenty of wood products on display. At MQ Windows, the company makes solid wood windows using mahogany and oak and builds everything to size, according to Gilles Morin.

At Kolbe and Kolbe Millwork the company showcased its Ultra Series folding wood windows that Lance Premeau, product manager, said complements its folding doors.

“The doors came first and this is the next step,” he said. “It works particularly well in cafes and other restaurant applications and architects have been very interested.”

PPG Industries displayed its SunClean low-maintenance glass, among several other launches, which has been available to the residential market for some time but now has been released for the commercial arena as well. The company also featured its Suntuitive product, developed through a partnership with Pleotint, which adapts shading based on the temperature.

“Architects want better performance and aesthetics,” said PPG representative Joanne Funyak.

Guardian Industries featured several energy-efficient products, including its SunGuard photovoltaic glass units, developed in conjunction with Pythagoras Solar, and Soladigm dynamic glass.

“This is a really cool thing that everyone’s been waiting for,” said Jim Pape of Soladigm, who was on-hand in Guardian’s booth in light of the recently announced partnership.

At an event like AIA, it’s not always about new products—some companies attend shows like these simply to build awareness. Neil Gager, Exotic Lumber, said the company exhibited to gain awareness among homeowners, architects and designers.

“Some people within 20 miles [of our Maryland location] didn’t know about us but they saw us here,” he said.

For more news from AIA, read my blog.

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