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A builder scouting the exhibit floor at the 2020 International Builders’ Show might have noticed the product innovations tended to follow a few common themes.
Healthy living was a major focus, with manufacturers introducing products and collections designed to improve air quality or overall well-being. High-performance construction techniques have spurred a variety of products designed to make homes perform better as unified systems. Customization is an ongoing trend in the kitchen and bath world, with homeowners demanding products that fit their unique lifestyle or design vision. And, of course, smart-home technology is unavoidable, with apps and touchscreen controls underpinning products in virtually every room of the house.
Even if you made it to the show, it’s unlikely you were able to check out products from all 1,400 exhibitors. Here are seven standout products that highlight the trends builders will be thinking about in the year ahead.
Hestan. Although it’s still at the concept stage, the California kitchen manufacturer’s smart gas rangetop offers a glimpse at the future of cooking technology. The rangetop offers precise temperature control ranging from 100 to 525 degrees via a touch-screen knob with built-in display. Exclusive technology within the range then adjusts the smart burner’s flame input to maintain the target temperature. The digital display can be mirrored on a smartphone, and it includes nifty safety features such as a function that detects when the pan is gone and shuts down the flame. The center CircuFlame power burner is a direct crossover from the manufacturer’s commercial cooking line, offering up to 30,000 Btus of cooking power. home.hestan.com
Forza. Modena, Italy, is home to the legendary automobile brands Ferrari and Maserati. So when Modena-based Glem Gas launched its North American brand Forza, the manufacturer wanted its ranges to reflect that design heritage. So Forza’s pro-style gas range offers racecar-inspired sculpted lines and a 3D effect that create a feel of movement and speed. But like an Italian car, the design is also paired with power and performance. The manufacturer’s Infinito grate system uses edge-to-edge cast-iron grates to deliver what it says is the largest uninterrupted usable grate surface with an integrated bullnose on the market. And the MassimoBlu blue-flame double broiler ensures the oven cavity is heated evenly from edge to edge. forzacucina.com
Phyn. With smart technology available to control virtually every system in the home, there’s no reason today’s homeowner needs to be surprised by a damaging leak or a costly water bill. Phyn protects and monitors a home’s entire plumbing system, and the manufacturer’s new Phyn Plus Pro Edition gives homebuilders an option catered to their specific operational needs. The device monitors changes in water pressure to provide insight on a homeowner’s water consumption — a handy way to keep water-heating costs under control — and, in the case of a catastrophic leak, shut off the main water. The Pro Edition includes an Ethernet port for the device to be hardwired to a home’s network instead of relying on the homeowner’s Wi-Fi. phyn.com
RunTru by Trane. With builders’ margins being squeezed by skilled-labor shortages, unpredictable material costs, and ever-growing regulatory burdens, it’s the right time for products that skip the frills to offer reliable performance at an affordable cost. That’s the philosophy behind Trane’s new RunTru brand, which offers competitively priced ducted heating and cooling equipment manufactured by the trusted Trane team but without premium features. The gas furnace line includes options with 80 percent or 96 percent efficiency and with constant-torque or variable-speed motors. runtruhvac.com
Lennox. Air quality both inside and outside the home was a major theme from HVAC manufacturers at this year’s International Builders’ Show. Lennox’s expanded line of ultra-low-emissions gas furnaces, for example, now includes four furnaces that comply with California’s regional regulations requiring reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. NOx emissions are a key contributor to California’s air pollution. NOx increases respiratory problems by inflaming the lining of the lungs and can also have a negative effect on vegetation. Lennox’s ultra-low-emissions furnaces, fueled by propane or natural gas, reduce these emissions by 65 percent compared with traditional low-NOx furnaces. The expanded line gives pros single-stage or variable-speed options and efficiency options ranging from 80 percent to 97.5 percent. lennox.com
Kalamazoo Outdoor Living. Just as kitchen designers and homeowners are customizing their cooktops with both electric and gas cooking options, today’s luxury outdoor kitchen products allow homeowners to mix and match their fuel choice. Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet’s Hybrid Fire Grill offers the versatility to cook with propane or alternative fuel sources such as wood or charcoal, or even to combine fuel sources, making it a great option for a client who enjoys the convenience of gas and the flavor of another fuel source. Of course, it’s also packed with other luxury features, including a deep firebox to reduce flare-ups and create a more uniform heat, and — new at the International Builders’ Show — a grill grate lift system that makes restocking fuel sources even more convenient with less cleanup. kalamazoogourmet.com
GE Appliances. The manufacturer’s luxury Monogram line debuted a new look at the International Builders’ Show this year, with a new brand logo and two newly designed collections — Statement and Minimalist. Monogram’s 48-inch Pro Range was a standout product in the Statement collection, featuring knobs with brass accents, soft-close hinges that give the oven door a cabinetry-like feel, and a newly designed articulating 7-inch LCD display that rotates for optimal use. The versatile cooking surface includes four dual-flame stacked burners that can reach 18,000 Btus, a ceramic-infrared grill, and a griddle. monogram.com
Top photo: Forza’s MassimoBlu double broiler directs flames through dozens of small holes to provide superior broiling and distribute powerful, uniform heat, the manufacturer says.