Las Vegas recently hosted the International Builders Show, which attracted more than 100,000 folks in the homebuilding biz who rubbed shoulders with 1,600 manufacturers and retailers such as Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Lowe's (NYSE:LOW).

With technology as a theme, innovations showcased included insulation made from soybeans, staircases of glass, and homes mostly of concrete. Kitchen specialist Salton (NYSE:SFP) introduced its iCEBOX kitchen entertainment center, which lets you surf the Internet, play CDs, and monitor surveillance cameras, among other things. It costs more than $2,000, though, so perhaps you won't be snapping one up tomorrow.

Privately held Pardee Homes showed off its "Ultimate Family Home" in a local subdivision. The house's chief selling point is that it produces all the energy it needs from solar panels, and is even able to produce extra energy, which can then be sold to generate extra income. Pardee estimates that the "zero energy home" may save buyers up to $5,000 a year in utility costs.

The folks at Jacuzzi Brands (NYSE:JJZ) (yes, it's a public company and was once called U.S. Industries) are capitalizing on many a homeowner's theory that building a super-spiffy bathroom boosts the home's value. To that end, they now offer a "Summer Rain" double shower, featuring optional hot air jets that will dry off the bather (and a friend!) without the use of towels.

Sears (NYSE:S) launched its new fitness equipment for the home, along with many other products including the new Kenmore Elite freestanding counter-depth refrigerators.

If you're thinking of renovating your home to increase its value, think twice. You're not necessarily likely to recoup the complete cost of the renovation. Still, some upgrades, such as to kitchens and bathrooms, do recoup a lot of it, plus you get to enjoy the upgrade until you sell.

If you're thinking of changing residences, drop by our Home Center, which offers lots of guidance on the homebuying process, refinancing, and competitive interest rates for Fools. Finally, consider popping into our Buying or Selling a Home discussion board to get answers to your questions or just eavesdrop and learn from what others are saying.