Exhibitors showcased numerous innovations in energy efficiency and green building, but the show's 900 vendors in 360,000 square feet of space was down slightly from last year and well below the one million sq ft occupied in 2007. Those having reps but not displays on the floor included builders KB Home, Lennar and Del Webb. Toolmakers such as Hilti, Black & Decker, Stanley and Milwaukee also were no-shows.

There was no cut in show fees despite the downturn, some exhibitors noted. "In past shows, our top-two competitors were always here. Now, we're the only one," said Scot Floyd, a manager for GPS vendor Topcon. One longtime exhibitor said show demographics have simply changed, with more spec designers, architects and distributors going online for information.