Approximately 100,000 attended the 2006 International Builders’ Show® in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 11-14.
ORLANDO - The Orange County Convention Center was the site of the International Builders' Show (IBS) 62nd Annual Convention & Exposition. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) brought the convention to Orlando for the second consecutive year. The event regularly boasts of attendance figures that make it one of the largest expositions in the United States.

In that count were a surprisingly high number of HVAC-related businesses. Why so many HVAC companies? As the famous bank robber Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks, "That's where the money is."

With similar succinctness, Richard Foster Jr., president of Trolex Corp., an Elmwood, N.J. damper and zoning system manufacturer, responded, "This is a place where we can get the builders' attention."

Though the home building industry recently announced the third consecutive month of housing start declines, 2005 was a banner year for many builders and the HVAC industry certainly took advantage of the upswing in new home construction.

"Builders are interested in HVAC. Our industry doesn't talk to the builders often enough about the importance of what we do. This is the place to have an impact upon the builder market," said Foster.

Talk around the show floor was overwhelmingly positive, generally boding well for 2006, despite the slowing winter starts.

An unofficial count of attendees reveals that about 75 HVAC industry companies were in attendance at this year's show.

According to Rheem Air Conditioning Division marketing operations manager, Frank Fodge, "Rheem began exhibiting at the International Builders' Show in 2003 when the company introduced new products and services designed to increase builders' and contractors' profitability.

"This push into the builder market is led by the company's Builder Group, a team of residential new construction specialists who consult exclusively with homebuilders, contractors, and distributors on customized comfort systems."

According to Fodge, besides asking general questions about the HVAC industry and seeking specific information about Rheem and Ruud products during the 2006 show, builders were most interested in managing the transition to the new 13 SEER minimum efficiency standard equipment and how it affects their overall business. Many still had misconceptions that they could not purchase 10 through 12 SEER product after January 2006. Rheem explained that such equipment would remain available until supplies were exhausted.

The company also provided free copies of its "Understanding 13 SEER" pamphlet series.

For more information, visit

NuTone representatives acknowledged that in past years most builders looked to the company’s products primarily for odor exhaust. Recent increased concerns for moisture and mold has caused many to step up their purchases of higher-quality products.


Zone-A-Trol introduced a simple zoning system with a unique wiring system. The new zone control panels have color-coded wiring terminals. Each thermostat connection has a yellow-green-white-red-blue push-in terminal for simple, fast thermostat wiring. Technicians no longer have to search for the proper Y-G-W-R-C terminal connections while separating each of the thermostat wires. Simply match the wire color to the color-coded terminals.

In addition, the company's zone dampers now feature low voltage DC motors with modular connections that use 25 feet of telephone cord, included with each damper, to wire the damper to the control panel. No more wire nuts or terminal screws are required - just plug in the cord to the damper motor and the other end to the panel.

These new damper motors have a built-in two-color LED to indicate the damper position, either open or closed. Up to 10 dampers can be controlled on each zone without any additional power requirements. The new Retro-Roundâ„¢ insertable damper makes use of the same damper features, making zoning retrofit duct systems a good profit opportunity for installing contractors.

For more information, go to

The Rheem ProTech™ indoor air quality (IAQ) approach to the new home construction market is to provide additional business opportunities for builder and contractor. The company displayed ultraviolet filters, electronic air cleaners, humidification systems, and energy recovery ventilators. IAQ products are some of the most requested ancillary products by today’s homeowners as they look to improve the overall health of their living environment.


Product improvements have enabled the NuTone company to develop the QT Ultra Silentâ„¢ Series, an even quieter product than previous offerings. The sone level of the QTXEN 80 CFM fan has been reduced to 0.3, while the QTXEN 110 cfm fan now emits just 0.9 sones, according to Lynn Mantha, product manager.

According to Mantha, when used in conjunction with a 6-inch duct, which is being increasingly recommended by experts and important standards such as ASHRAE 62.2, the Ultra Silent fans create substantially less noise than products connected to a 4-inch duct.

The company displayed several exhaust and lighting options as well as combination products for various building requirements. Exhaust fans in master bedrooms often require the quietest models whereas bathrooms that are only used rarely may not have such requirements.

When powerful heating, light, and ventilation are called for, the QTXN Model might be the ideal solution. Bringing convenient warmth at the touch of a switch, the heater/fan/light features nearly-silent operation (0.9 sones, 110 cfm) and a quiet, high-output 1500-watt heater featuring the exclusive PowerHeatâ„¢ design.

Lennox Hearth Products, a division of major HVAC manufacturing company Lennox International, has exhibited at the builders’ show for a number of years, competing head-to-head with other hearth and fireplace manufacturers.
PowerHeat maximizes heat output per watt by placing the heating element very close to the forced air exit grille, preventing heat from escaping into the ceiling or attic space. With bright 120-watt incandescent lighting, the heater/fan/light also features a 7-watt nightlight.

In addition, the Ultra Silent Series fans are even more installation-friendly with the new hanger bar system included in the QTXEN, QTREN, and QTXRN series and made optional for the QTRN series. The 16-inch to 24-inch span hanger bar system includes captive fasteners to keep nails in place and integral bottom locator tabs for instantly setting the correct mounting height and leveling of the housing between joists.

The new design features full-length, reinforced installation tabs and engineered I-joist spacers, providing for a solid mount in all types of construction.

For more information, visit

Home and apartment builders, architects, product manufacturers, and those involved in every aspect of residential and light commercial construction turned out for the IBS at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 11-14. Attendees visited more than 1,600 exhibitors’ booths.


The Elite Series gas fireplace from Lennox Hearth Products will be available in a direct-vent, louverless "clean-face" design. The new unit delivers a realistic fire presentation with the look of a traditional fireplace and the convenience and efficiency of gas.

According to a company representative, "The new technology gives the fire a more natural look with an enhanced glow, a high campfire flame, and log set for superb realism."

The Lennox gas technology offers total control of the fireplace and precise flame and heat management. Heat radiates into the room while the room environment is shielded from fireplace exhaust gases. The unit delivers an appealing flame height and impressive log glow at energy-friendly low BTU settings and can even function in a power failure.

This fireplace's builder-friendly size for framing dimensions allows for easy installation and can easily fit into existing specification plans and construction drawings. According to the company, the compact and convenient Secure Ventâ„¢ venting system offers simple installation and proven reliability.

The Elite Series louverless gas fireplace will be available spring 2006.

For more information about the full line of Lennox Hearth Products, call 800-9-LENNOX, or visit

Sidebar: HVAC Exhibitors

The following companies displayed their products and services at the 62nd International Builders' Show (IBS) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The partial listing includes those companies included in the Air Conditioning, Heating & Ventilating Equipment, Radiant Heating categories as shown in the IBS Official Exhibit Guide, and those HVAC companies actively involved with the Next Gen Home on display outside of the convention center.

A.O. Smith
Air King
All American Wood Register
American Aldes Ventilation Corp.
Applegate Insulation Mfg.
Architectural Grille
Arzel Zoning Technology
Blake Products
Bradford-White Corp.
Builder's Best Inc.
Carrier Corp.
Solutions Dawn
Solar Systems Inc.
Delta-Therm Corp.
Dryair Inc.
The Dryerbox
Duct Diaper, MPB Solutions Inc.
Electro Plastics Inc. dba STEP Warmfloor
Environmentally Safe Products (ESP Inc.)
EWC Controls
Exhausto Inc.
Fantech Inc.
GE Consumer and Industrial
HeatLink USA LLC
Home Heating Products Inc.
Honeywell International
Imperial Manufacturing Group
International Comfort Products
Lennox Hearth Products/Lennox Industries
Lobb Co.
Magic Chef/Maytag/Jenn Air
Marley Engineered Products
Marshall International Inc.
Master Household Inc.
Maxitrol Co.
Misters Unlimited LLC
NextGen Home Experience
Northwest Mfg.
O'Hagin's Inc.
Panasonic Corp.
Peerless Boilers
Pro-Vent Inc.
Rayne Systems L.L.C.
Rheem Manufacturing Air Conditioning Division
Selkirk LLC
Sharp Electronics Corp.
State Water Heaters
Suburban Manufacturing
Suncourt Inc.
SunTouch by Watts
Tamarack Technologies Inc.
TDT Moving Systems Inc. - Shoulder Dolly
TracPipe by OmegaFlex
The Trane Co.
Triangle Tube
Unico Inc.
Uponor (formerly Uponor Wirsbo)
Watts Radiant/Sun Touch
Whirlpool Corp.

Publication date: 02/06/2006