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This Was Awesome! Total Sound Block + 8 other Cool Building Products from the Intl Builders Show

The International Builders Show never disappoints and the 2019 event was no exception. In this video, Matt Risinger, master builder and Jordan Smith walk the floor, calling out really cool building products. First, chocolaty looking wood at the dasso booth - Risinger admits to being a sucker for a good hardwood sidingchocolaty looking wood with a good rainscreen detail, an airgap that lends huge durability. While the wood looks like an IPE or hardwood siding, it is actually a bamboo product made in China. It's made by taking bamboo, toasting out all of the sugars and organics to discourage bugs and they infuse it with phenolic resin like a bowling ball. The boards are heavy. Available in 2 x 6 and 2 x 8, there are porch floors, decking, and more. It has a 30-year warranty and a Class A fire rating. Unlike IPE it is stable but does gray out. When that happens, oil brings it back to its natural color. Risinger advises builders to do their own homework on this—he is not endorsing it, but it looks promising. At the Brombal booth, Jordan Smith demonstrates a handmade operable door. Hand welded, it's very low tech, low key. It is rusting in places. It's a custom steel design that can be bought direct and shipped. It's not what builders are used to, all hand fabricated, not very cleaned up, but the door and the windows are cool.Risinger is a big HVAC and water heating nerd, by his own admission. At the Bosch booth, a new unit includes two sizes of compressors for outdoor units, a three ton and a five ton. Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology relies on the compressor to vary its capacity. This model features an 85-step stepping motor that can go from 25% all the way up to actually beyond a hundred percent. The 3-ton unit output 40,000 BTUs, an extra 10% capacity. If going above that capacity, the energy efficiency is reduced. The unit can work with other manufacturer's indoor units—and that's a game changer. Keep existing ductwork and the unit will work well on a remodel or just switch out the HVAC. They also have their gas and indoor units that are very efficient. An indoor unit has a 2-speed ECM motor for better humidity control because the fan speed can be changed.Bosch has also gone big in the geothermal world with a water-source heat pump. At a lake house, put a loop in the lake and it will exchange heat instead of to the air, to the water for greater efficiency. Bosch also has cool new water heater units including an ultra-efficient, top-of-the-line unit with a pump. It has Wi-Fi connectivity and it's actually pretty. It has a glass front and top connections which are usually only seen on retrofits, but this can be used in new construction as well. Risinger receives a lot of questions on electric tankless water heaters, and he show us small units for hand-washing stations or outdoor kitchens. New to show this year is the Hardy frame lateral load system, a frame that increases the lateral load around any type of large window, or large windows that stack up. This system comes in stacked pieces that bolt together, no need to mobilize welders. Used in multiple sections, as you stack up, you double the capacity and instead of using wood, it's a much more structurally sound system. I-Tech has a Z4 tie-down system that actually ratchets down and tightens the building - the more the building moves, the tighter it gets. They also have a full line of concrete fasteners and adhesives and wood fasteners. They have a sister company called OZCO that have tie downs that you can leave exposed and that are attractive. At the Caoba booth, a 12-foot tall mahogany curved a sliding door with a Honduran mahogany privacy screen. This Guatemalan company has good craftsmanship and a variety of custom-made windows and doors. They do the welding and sanding and grinding before it goes to the finish booth so that the detail shows. The 12-foot door has a lift and slide and a flush sill. The company has 400 employees in Guatemala they sponsor students to go to school because in Guatemala school usually stop in the fifth grade. Smith demos one of the coolest acoustic kinematic 100 dB displays. AcousticBlok is a viscoelastic polymer for when you want to air seal. It's turning sound waves into heat. The fiber is a mineral wool, but it isn't put in tight, not crammed together, just dropped in loose. It doesn't touch the channel or studs. Amazing sound proofing technology. Another technology is a microphone element that picks up voices, but it is directional. It knows where the sound is coming from. In a loud room with a loud air conditioner, this technology can block the air conditioner sound. It also can be used to find paths of heat through a wall that would infer an air leak. It's a diagnostic tool. Check out the video to see the displays as well as hear Risinger and Smith discuss some of their show favorites.