Highlights from the first day of K/BIS 2008 in Chicago, byPlumbing & Mechanical's Managing Editor Kelly Faloon.

K/BIS 2008, at Chicago's McCormick Place, April 11-13.

It’s big. It’s noisy. It’s sometimes confusing. It’s information overload. It’s full of the latest designs and technology innovations in the kitchen and bath industry. It’s K/BIS 2008.  

With 40,000+ attendees, 900+ exhibitors and three buildings at Chicago’s McCormick Place, K/BIS 2008 is a big trade show. Not as big as ISH Frankfurt, but pretty darn big for us North Americans. Big enough for our feet to hurt and our shoulders to ache.  

Here are some highlights of my first day of KBIS 2008:

Everpure demonstrates how many plastic water bottles end up in landfills at its booth.

  • Everpure - Not only does Everpure have point-of-use water filtration systems for the kitchen and bar area, it is now introducing a hands-free filtration faucet for the bathroom. Consumers concerned with possible contaminants in their water or leaching from pipes can make sure they have clean, filtered water when taking medications or brushing their teeth.  

    The company has also partnered with Dacor to provide a water filtration system for an upscale coffee machine. This filtration technology is similar to what Everpure provides to McDonald’s and Starbuck’s.  

    Everpure has made a commitment to be eco-friendly - it has a large container in the booth containing empty plastic water bottles to illustrate how much of these bottles end up in landfills, not recycling plants. Providing homeowners with home filtration systems - and using reusable water bottles - can reduce the amount of plastic bottles thrown into the garbage.  

  • Moen - The company has made a commitment that, by January 2009, all of its faucets and showerheads with be equipped with its WaterSense-certified aerator, a 1.5gpm aerator. For those who would like the water savings of the aerator now, the Moen aerator can be used in existing faucets - just pop out the old, and replace with a new water-saving one.

    Moen updated its roman tub filler to accommodate PEX connections.

    Moen has updated its roman tub valve design to accommodate PEX connections, in addition to copper-to-copper connections. The adjustable shank requires no cutting, and can accommodate a deck thickness of  4 1/2 inches.  

    The sill faucet line has been updated to a single-handle, hot and cold faucet for outdoors: fill the kids’ swimming pool, give the dog a bath, wash your car, etc.  

    And the Showroom brand has its first WaterSense-certified lav faucets: the Fina collection, equipped with the Moen low-flow aerator.  

  • Uponor - Simplification of heating controls is one of the things Uponor is highlighting at the show. Its new multifunction climate control allows all heating and cooling zones to be accessed in one place for the installer, which also allows for simplification of Uponor’s proPanel units. There is also a Web-based control for homeowners to change temps in different zones while within the home, or from a remote location.  

    And the company has now eliminated all metal fittings and valves for its potable water PEX lines. Its new stop and in-line valves made of engineered plastic have ceramic disc technology that allow for PEX stub-outs instead of copper, for commercial and residential applications. A plastic escutcheon completes the look.

    Uponor introduced its new multifunction climate control,  new stop and in-line valves made of engineered plastic have ceramic disc technology that allow for PEX stub-outs instead of copper.

  • Basco - Tech-savvy homeowners and showroom personnel can select, style, size and trim color of Basco shower doors with its new Door Wizard on the Web site. Demos of the site were given on the show floor. Once selections are made, the user is directed to take a few simple measurements and then search for the closest dealer.  

    The site also has a virtual showroom, where users can see what door and trim style might look like in their bathrooms by changing the wall color.  

  • Alsons - The company has updated its ADA-compliant line to include more finishes, as well as a stylish shower seat.  

  • “Living trends impacting home improvement trends” seminar - This mini seminar sponsored by NKBA dealt with several home improvement issues, but what struck me the most was his observances of the ‘green’ phenomenon in America. While various industries and manufacturers talk about “green” products and processes, they don’t back up their claims. Education of the consumer by explaining what makes a certain product green and why it may benefit him or her will increase the acceptance of green building practices and products.  

    No matter how much I spend on shoes, they never seem to have enough support to get me through a day at a trade show. Which is why us media types LOVE the Moen Spa & Press event - good food and drink, combined with wonderful spa treatments (back and neck massages, foot massages, and paraffin wax hand treatments) make for relaxed and content journalists. Until about noon the next day, when their feet are hurting again and they need more foot massages…  

    Thanks, Moen, for providing that experience for us.  

    Tune in tomorrow for more of K/BIS in Chicago.