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BuildChat: Home products expert Nigel F. Maynard

To help sort through some of the new innovations and technology at the 2011 NAHB International Builders’ Show, we caught up with Nigel F. Maynard, a senior editor at Residential Architect and BUILDER Magazine who focuses on home products, for an interview about what he say at IBS and the outlook for the year ahead.

You’ve had a few days now to digest IBS. How was this year different from years past?
The show is clearly smaller. Theoretically, people attending are surviving and want information. They seem to have a thirst for new products and new ways to build better. More manufacturers are also embracing sustainability, but there is some suspicious messaging.

Were you able to speak with any builders or architects? How would you gauge industry morale?
I did some quick video interviews on the show floor and people were cautiously optimistic. They realize the boom will not be back, but they want to see continued health in the market.

What was the coolest home tech product you saw at IBS?
The coolest tech products would have to be the Q Motion remote control screen, and the two electric vehicle charging stations by Eaton and Leviton. No brainers! The Q Motion product is more like a window shade rather than a screen though.

On the same note, which green product(s) were you most impressed by?
Quite frankly, nothing really blew me away. I only saw some mildly interesting green things — an R5 window, an LED dimmer.

Any new tools or products that every builder should have?
Every builder needs a thermal imaging gun. It allows them to see air infiltration issues instantly. Plus, the imaging guns are a lot cheaper than they used to be.

Which home products are making the biggest strides in energy efficiency?
I think lighting technology and window glazing are two that are moving pretty fast. Companies can make windows almost as energy efficient as a wall from the ’60s, which is pretty amazing. The trick for manufacturers is making those super-efficient windows more affordable.

It’s fun to focus on the new home products, but conversely, what’s dying out?
That’s a good question. To me, not enough is dying out. We need to dump appliances with too many electronics and faux products that look nothing like the real thing.

Note: We conducted this interview via Twitter during the Builders’ Show, using the tag #buildchat to label and track the discussion. Follow @integritywindow on Twitter for information about upcoming #buildchat interviews we conduct. We hope to make a habit of this!

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