The 2008 International Builders' Show took over Orlando's Orange County Convention Center Feb. 13-16 -- and editors and writers from Hanley Wood's magazines and Web sites were there from start to finish, bringing you daily reports with news on industry trends, new products, innovative show homes, and the latest reports on the business of home building from the industry's biggest event.

The Complete Package from Orlando:
IBS Product Picks, Day 3
Hanley Wood product editors combed the Builders' Show exhibit floor in search of innovative and interesting introductions for you and your clients. Here are hot finds from Day 3, including new Armstrong hardwood flooring, a Bosch random orbit sander, a Miele dishwasher, Shakretown shingle panels, and more.

Green by Design, Not Gadgets
Renewable-energy appliances such as photovoltaic panels, solar hot water heaters, and geothermal pumps are often viewed as fundamentals of green building when in fact they really are just "the icing on the cake," architect and building scientist Peter Pfeiffer told a packed room of home builders at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla.

Smaller Builders Share Survival Strategies
Getting more from less was a common theme expressed by small builders and remodelers who participated in a seminar at the International Builders' Show in Orlando on Thursday that focused on how to weather the housing downturn. In most cases, the panelists had seen sharp declines in their businesses over the past year or two. However, all of the speakers expressed confidence that they would get through this period, and would be prepared to grow again, even as they are adjusting their business models to new market realities.

Smaller Builders Share Survival Strategies
Getting more from less was a common theme expressed by small builders and remodelers who participated in a seminar at the International Builders' Show in Orlando on Thursday that focused on how to weather the housing downturn. In most cases, the panelists had seen sharp declines in their businesses over the past year or two. However, all of the speakers expressed confidence that they would get through this period, and would be prepared to grow again, even as they are adjusting their business models to new market realities.

Housing Slump is Tamping Down Remodeling Expenditures
Remodeling expenditures are projected to expand by nearly 62 percent, between 2006 and 2016, to $369.3 billion. But a slowdown in remodeling spending, which began manifesting itself in the second quarter of 2006, is expected to continue for several years, especially at the higher-end of the market, before bouncing back by the middle of the next decade. Demand for outdoor living improvements could help propel that growth, according to a seminar on the outlook for remodeling during the International Builders' Show.

NAHB Names Leadership Team
West Virginia-based builder Sandy Dunn, named association's president, calls for Congressional action to resolve credit crunch.

Big Dealers Speak Up at IBS About Sales and Strategies
The heads of ProBuild, Stock Building Supply and HD Supply revealed more details about their sales and strategies during interviews Wednesday and Thursday with ProSales, in particular regarding ProBuild's recent acquisitions in the Atlanta area and Florida.

55+ Market Now 21 Percent of New Home Buyers
New research by the NAHB's Paul Emrath found that 55+ households make up 20.9 percent of all new home buyers and 24.3 percent of new custom home buyers. "There is a market for this segment, but you really have to know what you are doing," said Emrath, NAHB's assistant staff vice president of housing policy research, who released highlights of the study during a press conference Thursday at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla.

IBS Product Picks: Day 2
Hanley Wood product editors combed the Builders' Show exhibit floor in search of innovative and interesting introductions for you and your clients. Here are hot finds from Day 2, including new windows from Weather Shield and YKK, appliances from Gaggenau, siding from Microposite; and more.

 
John Butterfield
One corner of the vast main exhibit floor at Orlando's Orange County Convention Center on Wednesday, minutes before the doors opened to attendees for the 2008 International Builders' Show.

Builders Tell Success Stories
Last year wasn't just a good year, it was a great year for Hubble Homes, West Des Moines, Iowa. Sales volume increased 100 percent, to $32 million from $16 million in 2006. For a 150-year old company that initially focused on land development, it took a lot of recent re-thinking of their home building business to get such impressive results during a down year for most builders and most markets.

Defy Gravity
BUILDER Magazine honors Jeffrey Rutt and Thomas Gipson at the 2008 Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Awards.

Surveys Reveal Home Buyer Wishes for Energy Efficiency and Beyond
During the first-ever Green Day at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, it's no surprise that two surveys showed that home buyers and owners are clamoring for green options. Research conducted by the NAHB and Better Homes and Gardens magtazine revealed noteworthy consumer demands, including energy-efficient features, outdoor living, kitchen islands, and specialty spaces.

The Problem With Waste Reduction
Few would argue that the green movement's challenge to reduce, reuse, recycle is a step in the wrong direction. But one aspect of the mantra -- the reduction part -- falls short as a long-term solution for sustainability, according to acclaimed green architect and eco-evangelist William McDonough. keynote speaker at Thursday's Green Day ceremonies at the International Builders' Show in Orlando. Simply reducing waste and fossil fuel consumption may postpone the planet's demise, McDonough said -- but will not ultimately prevent it.

Builders Can Diversify Into New Businesses
Builders often look to diversify their business to insure that in tough times, they and their companies will survive. But if a builder does not have enough capital to finance a new venture, it could lead to their demise, said Mike Weiss, of WeissRCMI, a builder who has diversified his business across many lines, in a diversification seminar Thursday at the International Builders' Show in Orlando.

The Legal Risks of Green Building
The consumer perception of what "green" means frequently differs from what builders think it means. Unfortunately, builders can be careless in marketing their green-built homes, using vague, undefined terms and phrases. A seminar at the International Builders' Show in Orlando explored the potential legal issues and pitfalls of the emerging field of green home building.

'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' Enlists Help of Builders for New Orleans Project
One lucky family in the Big Easy will get a boost from a team of builders assembled by the popular ABC new home will have multiple green elements, and will be built by a growing coalition of builders from across the country in just seven days in March.

Condo Builder Stands Behind its Inventory
In a time of falling sales prices, multifamily builder The Morgan Group is trying something that just might serve as a model to its competitors. In the steady Indianapolis market, which typically sees appreciation of only about 1 percent per year, Morgan is testing a new plan to guarantee that its condos will not lose value after three years.

NAHB Research Center Names EnergyValue Housing Award Winners
Thirteen of the nation's greenest builders now have the hardware to prove it. On Feb. 13, the NAHB Research Center announced the 13th annual EnergyValue Housing Awards (EVHA) at an evening reception during the International Builders' Show. The big winners of the night were Aspen Homes of Colorado, which was named Builder of the Year, and Veridian Homes, which took home Gold and Silver awards.

Newland Communities Lends Support to HomeAid
Developer donates $340,000 to national provider of housing for the homeless.

Web Tools Support Green Project Planning
Navigating the thicket of green building resources and performance standards just got a little easier. The not-for-profit Green Building Initiative (GBI) has launched two handy online tools to help builders green up their pro formas and reduce their carbon footprints while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Construction Scheduling That Puts Family First
A seminar at the International Builders' Show detailed ways that builders and contractors can change the way they run their businesses to enable them to spend more time with the most important people in their lives: their families.

NAHB Lays Out Details for Green Building Program
Voluntary. Flexible. Market driven. National. That's how the National Association of Home Builders touted the launch of its trademarked National Green Building Program during the International Builders' Show in Orlando on Thursday. That launch includes a new Web site that builders can use to score the design of their houses to the specifications of green standards that the association is currently seeking approval of from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). It also includes a free training program for the army of verifiers this program is going to need to certify projects submitted by builders and developers.

Home Buyers Willing to Pay for Energy Efficiency
Home buyers are willing to pay for energy efficiency, prefer smaller homes with high-quality products and amenities, and for the first time, list outdoor features such as exterior lighting and fenced yards in their top 10 essential "must have" features. The findings of the new NAHB study, unveiled Wednesday at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, showed that 51 percent of consumers are willing to pay up to $11,000 more for a home if energy costs are reduced $1,000 annually.

Life in the Mainstream GreenHome
The owner of the country's first house to be built under the NAHB's model green building guidelines loves the energy savings -- and instant hot water for baths.

Builder Holds Pricing By Offering Lower Mortgage Interest Rates
While public builders try to move houses by dropping prices during the spring selling season, Epcon Communities is spurring sales with the addition of two new buyer incentives that target today's sticking points in the home buying process: a 4.75% mortgage for both the buyer and the buyer's buyer, and a lease-to-own option.

Wells Fargo Offers Gift to Fund Green Education for Consumers
Talking green is easy, but backing it up with a sizable check shows some real commitment. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage demonstrated it was serious about green building by donating $96,668 during a press conference Thursday at the International Builders' Show in Orlando to help the NAHB develop green consumer education programs.

IBS Product Picks: Day One
Hanley Wood product editors combed the Builders' Show exhibit floor in search of innovative and interesting introductions for you and your clients. Here are hot finds from Day One, including new refrigerators from Amana, GE, and Whirlpool; a lithium-ion cutter from Skil; a new collection of wood entry doors from Pella; and more.

ProSales Excellence Awards Presented During Builders' Show
Annual awards for excellence among dealers and distributors given out at breakfast attended by nearly 200 industry pros.

Editor's Note: Circling Above
BIG BUILDER Editorial Director John McManus says there are actually two types of shows going on in Orlando this week -- with fortunes at stake for both.

HD Supply to Restart Growth Engine
After a tumultuous year, when it was sold to investors and reduced its manpower and business portfolio, HD Supply is poised to expand, both organically and through acquisition. The Atlanta-based distributor, with $10 billion in annual revenue, is also leaving the door open to a public offering, although no timetable for such a move has been set, company officials told BUILDER at the Builders' Show in Orlando.

Livable Communities Award Winners Share Stories
The alliance between the AARP and the NAHB to build livable communities took center stage at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, as two of the five winning builders talked to the press about their award-winning communities. The builders's projects, winners of the AARP-NAHB Livable Communities Awards, were judged on design elements that accommodate the needs of all residents with all levels of physical ability -- from children through grandparents -- easy access to community services and local amenities, and improved energy efficiency.

Home of the Future Planned for Disneyland
In June 1957, the Monsanto House of the Future at Tomorrowland in Disneyland Park portrayed a modern home in 1985 and featured devices we think of today as commonplace, such as microwave ovens, large-screen TVs, and electric toothbrushes and razors. Now, builder Taylor Morrison is working closely with tech notables Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Exceptional Innovation to build a $15 million, 5,000-square-foot, 21st-century version of the House of the Future, due to open at Disneyland early this summer.

Multifamily Market a Mixed Bag
Unlike their single-family counterparts, market-rate multifamily builders seemed fairly optimistic during Wednesday's "Forecast and Trends in Multifamily" press conference at the International Builders' Show in Orlando. "The reports of our death are greatly exaggerated," said Steve Patterson, president of ZOM, an Orlando, Fla.-based apartment owner and manager.

Cities Might be to Blame for Affordability Crisis
Land experts blame local governments for housing affordability, question municipal metrics, during "Property Rights and Land Development" session at the International Builders' Show in Orlando.

Housing and Economic Forecasts Offer Just a Glimmer of Hope
Despite reports from numerous research and news agencies that the U.S. economy has fallen off the brink and entered recession, two of three economists presenting economic forecasts Wednesday project no recession at all. While laying out the most optimistic of the three housing and economic forecasts offered at the International Builders' Show in Orlando today, the National Association of Home Builders chief economist David Seiders acknowledged that while he projects no recession, one may still be likely.

Builders' Priorities Change as Market Conditions Slip
With no immediate end in sight for the housing downturn, home builders are focusing more of their attention on selling product and finding ways to squeeze profitability from smaller production volumes. To compete in this environment, manufacturers and other suppliers are going to have to adapt to builders' builders' operational, product, and service needs. Those are the main conclusions drawn from the answers of 304 builders who responded to an Internet survey that the NAHB's Research Center in January and discussed today at the International Builders' Show in Orlando.

Good as Gold
Whirlpool kicks off the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla., with a press breakfast that featured a refrigerator that makes it easy for homeowners to swap out digital features as they see fit. Audrey Reed-Granger, Whirlpool's director of marketing and public relations, said the idea is for homeowners to remove the clutter of photos, calendars, personal reminders, and shopping lists that fill most kitchens.

Tradewinds Special Report: Builder's Show Home Debuts in Orlando
The Tradewinds show home makes a splash in Orlando:

Tradewinds Home: Back to the Future
Taking cues from classical examples of passive thermodynamics, BUILDER's 2008 Tradewinds show home is a house of the ages, for the ages. Tradewinds meshes high-performance systems and sustainable design for a home that meets today's -- and future -- needs.

Tradewinds Talk
The Tradewinds Show Home, which was officially unveiled Tuesday night in Orlando, drew a crowd of party-goers who toured the home, examined its amenities, and weighed in on its merits.

Tradewinds: Honoring the Participants
Photos from the Tradewinds Opening Reception, saluting the major players in the home's design and construction.

More from the Show
The New American Home 2008
With the market reeling and potential buyers sitting on the fence, there's never been a better time for rethinking your homes. And that's exactly what this year's new American Home has to offer, serving up a refreshing take on the use of space and market-savvy aesthetics.

The Interview: NAHB's New President
The NAHB's new president brings a positive outlook to the industry's troubled waters.


Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.