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ORLANDO-Green construction concepts for multifamily and residential development are among the highlights at the 63rd annual International Builders Show which opened today at the Orange County Convention Center.

The show runs through Saturday and has attracted 100,000 housing industry professionals, according to David L. Pressly Jr., a Statesville, NC builder who is also president of the National Association of Home Builders. Washington, DC-based NAHB is hosting the event which Pressly says is the largest to date. A record 1,800 exhibitors representing 300 housing categories are displaying and explaining the newest technologies in housing construction.

Among the newest trends in home building is the green construction program, a concept that NAHB officials and builder members will present during the show. Matt Belcher, president, Belcher Homes, Wildwood, MO, Don Ferrier of Ferrier Custom Homes in Fort Worth, and Don Neff and Dan Reeve are among panel moderators who will participate with other builders in explaining the cost-effectiveness of green-building initiatives. Neff is president of La Jolla Pacific Ltd., Irvine, CA. Reeve is vice president of the firm.

Belcher calls green building “one of the most significant trends in homebuilding” because “it is changing the way builders, manufacturers and homebuyers view homes and their effect on the environment.” He says the movement “has gained momentum over the past decade, thanks to advances in technology, growing public awareness of environmental and safety issues and new national, state and local building codes.”

According to Belcher, there are about 32,000 homes nationwide officially designated as being green. “Many more incorporate various green building techniques,” he says. “The average new house today is 100% more energy-efficient than one built 30 years ago.”

Neff of La Jolla Pacific Ltd., a company specializing in construction risk and quality assurance, will moderate a panel discussing “green building on any budget.” He says “these are changing times in the housing market, with condominium projects proliferating and more builders looking at going green.” These trends “mean builders are searching for smart solutions to minimizing risks in vertical or high-rise construction and achieving cost-effect green-building plans.”

A newly renamed technology component of the show is called nextBUILD, a pavilion expected to be among the most visited exhibits, according to Harvey Edwards, NAHB Convention Committee chair and president of Tuscaloosa Building & Land Co. in Tuscaloosa, AL. “Cutting-edge builders realize that technology is critical, not only to their business management, but to their customers, as consumers are demanding state-of-the-art technology in their homes,” he says. About 200 exhibitors have rented space at nextBUILD.

After being staged for 25 consecutive years in Atlanta, NAHB, in 2005, decided to cancel a two-year contract with the City of Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. NAHB’s decision was a result of a lack of exhibit and area hotel space in Atlanta. NAHB paid about $2.6 million in total penalties for breaking the contracts, Atlanta hospitality sources at the time told Globest.com. The estimated economic loss to metro Atlanta was $120 million per year.

NAHB had considered Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas for the 2007 and 2008 builders’ shows. Orange County Convention Center spokespersons estimate visitors at the show this week are expected to spend $147 million locally during the four-day event.

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