Getting the Word out on Commercial Controls

Communication is a key component in HVAC controls products these days. This is especially the case for commercial controls.

Whether it's communicating with other parts of the HVAC and/or building automation system (BAS) or with the contractor and/or end user, getting the right message to the right person/or portion of the HVAC system/BAS right away is very important. Communication is one characteristic that all of the winners in the Commercial Controls Including Building Automation category of The NEWS' third annual Dealer Design Awards have in common.

GOLD: Aprilaire's light commercial thermostat Model 8570 is menu-driven like a cell phone or an ATM.


Aprilaire's light commercial thermostat won the approval of the judges and earned gold in this category.

"Model 8570 light commercial thermostat is an ‘all-in-one' light commercial thermostat suitable for virtually every application," stated Todd Mueller, marketing communications, Aprilaire.

It is designed for various types of light commercial applications such as single-stage or multistage heat/cool and single-stage or multistage heat pump, and controls all types of systems including split systems, fan coils, radiant, boilers, and rooftop units.

Model 8570 is menu-driven like a cell phone or an ATM. "There are no setup ‘codes' for your installers to know and no manual is required. It uses plain language and no icons to further simplify operation," said Mueller.

This thermostat can be labeled electronically to identify the area it controls when remote sensors are installed. When installed in conjunction with an Aprilaire evaporator or steam humidifier, it monitors humidity and outdoor temperature.

The thermostat does not require the use of subbases. It can be mounted on a wall or on a standard J box. The thermostat has an oversized wire access hole so that it can be positioned over the previous thermostat's footprint.

The equipment monitoring function provides automatic notification of required service, including air filter replacement and UV lamp replacement and humidifier service. Another feature allows the contractor's name and telephone number to be programmed into the thermostat.

One judge complimented the Aprilaire light commercial thermostat as being "a good all-around unit to carry as a universal replacement." Another judge commented that the unit is "flexible and is a good value."

SILVER: The RoamIO2 Service tool, from TAC, is a compact hardware adapter with software applications designed to run as a BACnet service tool.


The RoamIO2 Service tool, from TAC, is a compact hardware adapter with software applications designed to run as a BACnet service tool on a Windows Pocket PC or laptop. The tool discovers and edits BACnet devices from third parties as well as the manufacturer's Andover Continuum BACnet and Infinet lines of controllers.

It provides multiple displays of the entire BACnet system, including objects within the device and detailed views of the BACnet properties of selected objects. Technicians can edit and change values, set descriptions, etc. The compact RoamIO2 Service Tool is designed to clip onto a belt and gives technicians the freedom of mobility through a local connection to a field bus or Ethernet network. Technicians can connect the service tool wirelessly to a pocket PC or laptop using a standard onboard Bluetooth wireless adapter.

"The wireless connection gives technicians the mobility they need to work efficiently and safely - no longer are they tethered to the controller while balancing on the top of a ladder. A wired serial connection is also available for computers without Bluetooth," stated Ranier Wischinski, vice president of product marketing, TAC.

Overall the judges had positive things to say about the RoamIO2 Service Tool. One judge commented that its "wireless capabilities make this product awesome," while another said it would be "a good addition to any controls technician's toolbox."

BRONZE: The Superzone-CZS (commercial zoning system) by TCS Basys Controls provides interface that allows the service contractor to easily view information from the individual zones, the whole building, or an entire enterprise.


The Superzone-CZS (commercial zoning system) by TCS Basys Controls garnered a bronze. The product is a Web-enabled solution for commercial forced-air zoning applications. It provides interface that allows the service contractor to easily view information from the individual zones, the whole building, or an entire enterprise.

The system provides control of zone dampers along with individual zone reheat where required for comfort and utilizes demand proportioning to ensure that full equipment capacity is reached only when required. These efficiencies, combined with providing individual zone comfort, ensures satisfied occupants and building owners while minimizing energy usage.

This winner received an assortment of tributes from its flexibility to the ease of installation and control. One of the judges, remarking on yet another attribute that helped the Superzone-CZS earn its spot on the podium, said the "Internet capability makes it really useful for both the user and contractor."

HONOREES: Commercial Controls Including Building Automation

Aprilaire - - Light Commercial Thermostat

TAC - - RoamIO2 Service Tool

TCS Basys Controls - - Superzone-CZS (Commercial Zoning System)

Publication date: 07/17/2006

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