After some rocky years through Covid, it appears the International Builders’ Show (IBS) can finally exhale without a mask. As new home starts have broken the ceiling of a million-home-pace, the event rightfully opened on a jubilant note. Ring-tossers, stilt walkers and celebrity impersonators greeted attendees at the show’s opening ceremonies, where National Association of Home Builders chairperson Alicia Huey said the event drew its largest number of exhibitors in more than 15 years.

The International Builders’ Show (IBS) drew its largest number of exhibitors in more than 15 years, the NAHB reports.

Meanwhile, with the return of normal conditions, it’s more important than ever that door and window companies impress builders and remodelers with new and innovative features, said Curtis Weavers, engineering manager for Quaker Windows and Doors.

“Every product in this booth is less than three years old,” Weavers said, including one that represents a recent trend for single-family products: dynamic glass.

With the introduction of a drop-in solution from a leading insulating glass provider, several other manufacturers showed up to IBS this year with windows outfitted with dynamic glass, including Fleetwood Windows and Doors, Sierra Pacific and Weather Shield.

Though numerous iterations of electrically charged, dynamic glass have been around for as much as decades, until recently the product has failed to make inroads into the residential market. But one of the latest versions—dubbed CLiC, by Cardinal IG—has finally reached the tipping point for viability, several door and window manufacturers suggested, even if it remains prohibitively expensive.

“For people who can afford it, that isn’t an issue,” Weavers and others told [DWM].

Dynamic Glass at IBS

With the advent of dynamic insulating glass units (IGUs), the product is easier to install than past versions, some exhibitors said. Even with the added need for electrical connections, incorporating CLiC into a home shouldn’t be a major undertaking, “So long as you have an electrician who knows what they’re doing,” said Andrew Yazzie, an electrician with Rainier Construction LLC in Farmington, New Mexico.

Cardinal’s CLiC technology incorporates laminated glass and liquid crystal display (LCD) technologies into otherwise standard IGUs, replete with low-E coatings and warm-edge spacers. Panels are wired individually for control and power, and electrical wires can be incorporated through crank hardware.

In this way, Cardinal’s dynamic glass is “like the ‘Intel Inside’ for doors and windows,” said Jeff Kibler, architectural and commercial manager for Weather Shield.

In most cases, the technology has proven to be an eye catcher at the show, especially when incorporated into other key features. For instance, Sierra Pacific paired CLiC with its latest timber curtainwall system for residential projects and an oversized pivot door.

Back to Innovation

Now that the supply chain and market for door and window products have calmed to a more normal, seasonal rate, trade shows take on even greater importance, as companies look to differentiate themselves, many exhibitors suggested.

“The fish aren’t jumping into the boat anymore,” said Joe Altieri, president of FlexScreen. Business doesn’t come in the same way it did amid the pandemic and the years that followed, when the companies who had stock were flooded with orders, Altieri said.

Now, “You want people to know that you’re developing product all the time,” said Dave Murphy, eastern region manager for ODL. Case in point: After entering the market for doors via the acquisition of Tru Tech, ODL developed 24 new door products “just since late last year,” Murphy said. At the show, the company is looking to hook builders on products such as large-format blinds-between-glass.

But it isn’t always about new products. Instead, “We asked, what if a window manufacturer focused on the experience of installing a window?” said Keith Mann, chief marketing officer for Pella.

Pella conducted a multi-year study looking into how installers work in the field, officials told the crowd at a pre-show gathering.

Over the past four years, Pella conducted a study, looking into how installers work in the field, officials told the crowd at a pre-show gathering. “We spent hundreds of hours studying how installations were being done,” Mann said. Then the company set out to create a system for installing windows from inside the home. The installation hardware and method, known as Pella Steady Set, eliminates 70% of the work that installers traditionally perform from a ladder, presenters said, while removing the need for an outside set of hands. Installation clips are affixed to the company’s windows and fold out to hold the window in place from inside the opening. A spring-loaded system at the top of the window frame and pre-attached sill shims keep it firmly in place, so one installer can handle the entire process.

To bolster interest, Pella held a special event at Speed Vegas, where it provided demonstrations for its new system, including time trials. The company had an installer using Steady Set compete against a pair of installers placing a window by traditional methods. The installer using Steady Set finished the interior parts of the install in just 2-1/2 minutes, while the competing installers were just getting started. After taping the exterior, the full install using Steady Set was done in just 3 minutes and 53 seconds—just a fraction of the time it typically takes to install the same window. The company hopes its stopwatch readings will resonate with home builders.

IBS takes place through Thursday, February 29. Watch for additional coverage in tomorrow’s newsletter.

1 Comment

  1. I would just point out that the product shown in the article is really ‘switchable glass’ or ‘privacy glass’, not necessarily ‘dynamic glazing’ at least per the energy code. Unless there is something new I’m not aware of, most LCD glass changes the transparency, but doesn’t actually change SHGC to any significant degree. Switchable / privacy glass is great for interior applications, office doors, etc, but that’s a different application from dynamic glazing like electrochromic, thermochromic, or automated shading products for exterior windows that reversibly change SHGC.

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