Taking Center Stage
The Innovation Awards are designed to recognize the most innovative products among the thousands on display at the AHR Expo. The Innovation Awards are jointly sponsored by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI); and International Exposition Company (IEC), producers and organizers of the AHR Expo.
A panel of judges, made up of ASHRAE members selected for their exceptional knowledge of the industry and its products, reviews and evaluates all submissions. The most innovative products are selected in eight specific categories: heating, cooling, refrigeration, ventilation, indoor air quality, energy management, tools and instruments, and software.
HeatingRheem Manufacturing Co. - Air Conditioning Division
Fort Smith, Ark.
Rheem's 90-Plus Modulating Upflow Gas Furnace with Contour Comfort Control was named the winner in the innovative heating category. The furnace was first introduced in 1997 and then enhanced with Contour Comfort Control in 2003. This option allows the furnace to be installed with either a single-stage or two-stage thermostat.
This furnace is different from others on the market, said Adam Schuster, heating products manager, Rheem & Ruud Air Conditioning Division, because it is the only gas furnace with the capability to fully modulate its capacity.
"There are other models that will operate at two different heating stages, typically either 65 percent or 70 percent and 100 percent capacity, but none can provide a full range of capacity between 40 percent and 100 percent. This furnace varies its output to match the heat loss in the conditioned space, which provides the ultimate in comfort for the end user," said Schuster.
The furnace provides a low, or first-stage, capacity of 40 percent, which is a great option during mild days when full furnace operation is not required to heat the conditioned space, Schuster said. Application with a single-stage thermostat provides three-stage furnace operation, while a two-stage thermostat provides what Rheem has termed "quasi-modulation."
"This means the furnace operates at 40 percent capacity most of the time, only shifting to a higher capacity during extremely cold conditions or after night setback," said Schuster. "No other furnace can claim any of these features, no matter what thermostat is used."
This furnace, which is designed to work well in both retrofit and new construction applications, installs just like any other Rheem or Ruud 90-Plus gas furnace. It features a seven segment LED with nonvolatile memory on the furnace control board, which displays numbers or letters to indicate mode of operation or provide fault history to enhance service. This is designed to expedite the troubleshooting process should the need arise in a service situation.
Other benefits include the furnace's ability to minimize hot and cold spots in the conditioned space and maintain the temperature within 0.5 degrees F of the setpoint at the thermostat, said Schuster.
Another big benefit is energy savings, which will be found in heating and cooling modes, due to the furnace's high AFUE and the use of the variable-speed motor.
"Reduced sound levels are also something customers will recognize," said Schuster. "Due to the low firing rates and the performance of the variable-speed motor, customers will often never realize the furnace is operating during the heating mode."
For more information, visit Rheem at booth 7318 or visit the company online at www.rheemac.com.
York Unitary Products Group won the Innovation Award for its Sunline MagnaDry rooftop unit, which was introduced in 2003. This new product is a complete redesign of the Sunline Series rooftop unit. Andy Fracica, York brand manager, noted that unlike most units, the Sunline MagnaDry can offer optimum dehumidification without overcooling a space.
"Because the MagnaDry doesn't overcool the space to achieve high levels of dehumidification, it keeps rooms more comfortable, without the temperature swings," said Fracica. "A comfortable environment translates into high employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Comfortable consumers stay longer - and longer stays typically translate into more sales."
Supermarkets and museums are just two of the many applications that could benefit from the MagnaDry, according to Fracica.
The units are equipped with full-perimeter base rails, and they also have easy power and control wiring, Fracica said. All units are factory wired, piped, charged, and tested prior to shipment, which reduces installation costs. Gas and electric utility knockouts are provided for easy connections, and bottom and side airflow can be set up by removing two panels. All model sizes share a common compact design cabinet in a single footprint for on-site flexibility.
For more information, visit York at booth 4810 or visit the company online at www.yorkupg.com.
The new Danfoss Type TN hermetic compressor for R-744 (carbon dioxide, CO2) took home the award for most innovative refrigeration product. The brand-new compressor will be introduced at the 2004 AHR Expo.
John Galyen, vice president, OEM sales and marketing, Danfoss, said the TN compressor has solved the problems of handling high pressures (up to 2,000 psi) of the transcritical CO2 cycle in a compact compressor. "The compressor is designed for light commercial refrigeration and hot water heat pump applications of less than 0.4 TR [tons of refrigeration] capacity," he said. "In heat pump applications, the compressor enables a simple system to deliver 200ÃžF hot water."
CO2 is of interest to the HVACR industry because it is a completely natural refrigerant. It is not flammable, has no ozone depletion potential, and has a negligible global warming potential. This means there are no EPA accounting requirements and no potential fines for handling it. The required system charge is small, and CO2 is inexpensive and readily available, said Galyen.
The TN compressor will initially be available in new systems and is suitable for both residential and light commercial applications, according to Galyen. "Mechanically speaking, installation is the same as for any hermetic compressor, with the contractor respecting the higher pressures of CO2 systems," he said.
For more information, visit Danfoss at booth 4729 or visit www.danfoss.com.
EC-Giants motors, which came on the market in 2003, from ebm-papst, won the ventilation award. This product is an extension of ebm-papst's EC motor range and the respective air mover sizes. EC-Giants motors are available as motorized axial fans from 25.6 inches (650mm) to 39 inches (990mm) and as backward-curved motorized impellers (BCMI) from 19.7 inches (500mm) to 24.8 inches (630mm).
Armin Hauer, product manager at ebm-papst, said this is the largest external rotor motor on the market with EC technology and completely integrated drive and control electronics. "The motor system is perfectly matched to directly mounted fans and blowers," he said. "EC motors provide precise control and diagnostics, and the combined motor and drive efficiency is close to 85 percent even at reduced speed. The motor has been designed to generate extremely low structure-borne noise to prevent resonances and associated acoustical noise."
An external rotor motor is particularly well suited for driving a fan or blower because the impeller mounts directly to a rotor flange without a motor shaft, hub, or setscrew, said Hauer. Benefits include precise balancing, small size, and little obstruction of airflow by the motor, as well as lower heat load and less noise.
"Contractors will benefit from a factory warranty on a complete system and avoid the risk associated with selection, installation, and maintenance of a variety of components," said Hauer.
He added that there is no wear or tear of components such as the belts or carbon brushes associated with traditional DC motors. "In addition, the electromagnetic and radio frequency interference filters together with a power factor controller to prevent flicker, distortion of the AC power, and radiated noise. These are areas of concern in IEEE519."
EC-Giants operate with three-phase voltage that is connected to an integral terminal block, and the motor is controlled with 0-10 V or an RS-485 interface. A DC-voltage source is onboard, and line- and load-side filters are integrated, as is overload protection. Hauer said there is no risk of brownouts and noted that bearings are permanently lubricated and exposed to minimal temperature rise from the motor.
The performance range of the EC-Giants is aimed toward commercial applications. The retrofit of axial fans is facilitated with optional square fan housings. Backward-curved impellers can be supplied as part of a blower module that includes the inlet ring.
For more information, visit ebm-papst at booth 4646 or go to the company's Web site, www.ebmpapst.us.
Indoor Air QualityLindab Inc.
Lindab Inc. took home the Innovation Award for its SpiroÂ®+AgIONâ„¢ duct system, which was introduced in October 2002. Cecile M. Locurto, manager of marketing communications, said that the product is different because it is the only antimicrobial duct system manufactured from precoated steel, as opposed to post-manufactured spraying.
"This ensures all exposed surfaces are protected," he said. "Additionally, its antimicrobial properties are proven to be safe and effective."
Microbes and mold and mildew bring about millions of dollars in damage to buildings and property each year, noted Locurto. "Spiro+AgION suppresses the growth of mold, bacteria, fungi, mildew, and other destructive microbes, resulting in improved IAQ," he said. "This leads to inhabitants benefiting from a cleaner building environment. And building owners are assured a cleaner, more easily maintained duct system that would not require replacement should mold or other destructive microbes become a problem in their building."
Victor Coppola, project manager, noted that contractors will be able to use the product as an effective way to set themselves apart from the competition.
"Offering Spiro+AgION will attract more potential customers, leading to greater revenue. Additionally, this is one of the first antimicrobial products introduced to the HVAC market that helps solve a growing problem. And integrating technologies from unrelated industries opens up possibilities for de-signing more products that address IAQ."
Coppola stated that all SPIRO duct system products are easy to install and typically save up to 25 percent on labor costs.
"Spiro+AgION goes together exactly the same as untreated spiral ductwork, but, if the duct is painted, labor costs could, in fact, go lower. This is because it comes precoated on the outer surface, which acts as a primer, making the duct ready to paint without any further surface preparations needed."
A Spiro+AgION duct system can be used anywhere ductwork is being installed, including residential and commercial buildings, both new construction and retrofit, according to the company. However, Lindab does not recommend partial installation, since one section will not protect the full system and, therefore, defeat its purpose.
As for potential markets in the construction industry, the AgION antimicrobial is an especially useful tool where microbial growth is a priority. This could include schools, hospitals, pharmaceutical facilities, supermarkets, daycare centers, and food processing facilities.
For more information, visit Lindab at booth 5010 or visit the company's Web site at www.lindab.com.
Energy ManagementIce Energy LLC
Fort Collins, Colo.
The Ice Bear 50 from Ice Energy LLC won the energy management award. The new product is being installed at numerous field demonstration sites, and a limited release of the Ice Bear 50 to select markets is being planned for the second quarter of 2004.
What makes this product unique is that the Ice Bear 50 is the industry's first distributed energy storage module for the refrigerant-based unitary air conditioning market. According to the company, it is a new demand-side management product that eliminates the on-peak electrical demand of mainstream air conditioning.
Randy Zwetzig, vice president, Ice Energy, said the product's twist on ice energy storage - "refrigerant-based, internal melt, ice-on-coil, thermal energy storage" - is both unique and transformational. "Our products are low cost, off-the-shelf commodities, sized to service the millions of mainstream commercial and residential customers whose needs are unmet by relatively expensive, custom-engineered, chilled water-based, thermal energy storage systems."
He noted that utilities are being impacted by the convergence of two acute problems: the high cost of servicing a growing demand for peak electrical power and increasingly congested electrical transmission lines.
"The root cause of the on-peak electrical problem is the increasing demand for air conditioned comfort," he said. "Our distributed energy storage module is an attractive, rapidly deployable alternative to new power lines, substations, and distributed generation."
Switching air conditioning demand from on-peak to off-peak with Ice Energy's distributed energy storage module solves the problems of increasing on-peak demand and increasing congestion on the grid, said Zwetzig. He stated that Ice Energy customers achieve an attractive return on investment by slashing peak demand charges, cutting energy consumption costs, and insulating electrical bills from future peak rate increases.
The Ice Bear 50, which is basically a new business opportunity, is designed to be installed and serviced by any licensed HVAC contractor. Installation involves brazing four copper lines, filling the tank with tap water, and setting the timer for the controller. The Ice Bear 50 works with standard evaporator coils and air handlers, and Zwetzig said it is maintenance free and designed to be as reliable as a standard packaged air conditioning unit.
Refrigerant-based air conditioners with the Ice Bear 50 are targeted for use in suburban strip malls, restaurant chains, small commercial buildings, box retailers, data and communication centers, elementary schools, military bases, churches, surgical centers, and most residences. In addition, the Ice Bear 50 can be applied to applications such as industrial processing, data and communication centers and emergency backup cooling applications.
The Ice Bear 50 is designed for 2- through 50-ton cooling applications for both new and retrofit commercial and residential structures ranging from 1,500 to 150,000 square feet.
For more information, visit Ice Energy LLC at booth 1952 or go to the company's Web site, www.ice-energy.com.
Tools And InstrumentsVulcain Alarm Inc.
Vulcain Alarm Inc. won the tools and instruments award for its new VA-301RF refrigerant gas transmitter. Guy Gervais, president of Vulcain Alarm, said that in addition to offering unsurpassed stability and accuracy, this product incorporates all the necessary characteristics needed to meet the diverse range of customer requirements.
The system has a full range of options, such as 4-20mA, alarm relays, full display capabilities, a keypad, and Modbus communication, he said.
The transmitter's sensor can also be installed 100 feet from the unit. It can meet the most rigorous standards with a full range of possible configurations, according to Gervais. "By preventing refrigerant leaks, personal safety is assured and refrigerant replacement costs can be avoided," he said.
He added that the product is very easy to install, and the unit can communicate via RS-485, thereby minimizing the number of wires needed for installation. Its dual-sensing technology is designed to ensure minimal maintenance and prevent false alarms. Ownership costs are also lower when compared to other products currently available in the market, he said.
"The unit uses the smart-sensing technology employed by other Vulcain products, allowing for full diagnostics of operation status and digital adjustments. In addition, the system has no moving parts," noted Gervais.
The ASHRAE standard specifically calls for refrigerant monitors to be present in mechanical rooms, and the VA-301RF is designed for both new and retrofit commercial applications. This unit provides added flexibility, coming with a full array of options required for the most rigorous applications. "The customer will be particularly pleased with its ease of use and low cost of ownership, as this unit has no moving parts and incorporates stable and long-lasting dual-sensing technology," stated Gervais.
For more information, visit Vulcain Alarm Inc. at booth 2621 or visit www.vulcaininc.com.
Right-Suite Residential HVAC Design and Sales Software from Wrightsoft Corp. took home the most innovative software award. Right-Suite Residential was first released in 1986 as Right-J, which is the software version of the Manual J residential heating and cooling load calculation method published by Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Today, Right-J is just one of nine integrated HVAC design and sales modules found in Right-Suite Residential.
Chris Edgren, director of sales, Wrightsoft, said that Right-Suite Residential is a constantly evolving technology. "In the last 12 months, Right-Suite Residential has added the capability of producing sophisticated sales proposals as well as the capability of being able to produce calculating two-line duct and fitting system designs."
Right-Suite Residential automates the process of HVAC design and sales. According to Edgren, it is different from other products on the market because of the overall speed of HVAC system design and proposal development made possible by the product's unique and proprietary integration of HVAC design, calculation, and reports.
At its core, said Edgren, Right- Suite's HVAC design and sales modules are "hot-linked" to drawing and load calculation functions, which means that once a building is diagrammed using the program's Draw Screen, the underlying load calculations, duct designs, or radiant parts takeoffs are completed instantly for the user. Any changes to the building diagram, such as the addition of rooms or changes to door and window types, result in instant and automatic recalculation of loads, duct or radiant calculations, parts take-offs, and costs, he said.
"Once set up by the user, HVAC designs, projects, and proposals can be saved as templates. This enables HVAC professionals to saving hundreds of hours in a year," said Edgren.
He added that Right-Suite Residential saves HVAC contractors time and improves their productivity by streamlining the design and sales process. "Contractors using this software can design and sell more accurately and more often using Right-Suite since projects can be completed quickly and saved as templates. Right-Suite's new and innovative sales proposal module enables contractors to link costs, program calculations, and digital images into an easy-to-use format, which is controlled by a powerful word processor."
Right-Suite Residential is very easy to use, said Edgren. Once preferences are established, a contractor draws a building from which a completed load, duct design, and sales proposal can be printed in minutes. Wrightsoft also offers training and free telephone technical support.
For more information, visit Wrightsoft Corp. at Booth 6929 or visit www.wrightsoft.com.
Sidebar: Earning Honorable MentionThe following products earned honorable mention in the second annual Innovation Awards contest:
Riello Burners North America: R-Series Low NOx Gas Burners
Thermolec Limited: Thermo-V
S.T. Johnson Co.: Type RX Ultra Low NOx Burner
Texas Instruments: DiagnosTechâ„¢
Bristol Compressors: Benchmark Scroll Compressor
Outokumpu Heatcraft USA LLC: Desaturation Coil
Alfa Laval Inc.: AlfaNovaâ„¢
Baltimore Aircoil Co.: Aircoilâ„¢ Evaporators
Copeland Corp.: Vapor Injected Scroll Compressor
Heatcraft Refrigeration Products LLC: BeaconÂ® II Smart Defrost
J.P. Lamborn: AMBlue
Paramount Concepts Ltd.: Paramount Hâ„¢
Quickdraft: Venturi Exhauster/Demister
Research Products Corp.: Ventilation Control System
Tamarack Technologies: R.A.P. (Return Air Pathway)
Indoor Air Quality
Airxchange: Enthalpy Wheel Cassette
GE Industrial Systems: 84mm Heat And Energy Recovery Ventilator
Glasfloss Industries: Glasfloss Z-Line MR-11 Pleated Air Filter
Isolate Inc: ISOÂ®-UVC/HEPA
MSP Technology.com: MSPÂ® Unitary Dehumidifying Coil
Aircuity Inc.: Optima
Bard Manufacturing Co.: Bard CS2000 Energy Monitor
Klo-Shure: Klo-Shure Insulation Coupling
Tools And Instruments
CorrView International: CorrView Corrosion Monitor
MycoMeter/Indoor Air Solutions: MycoMeter
RAS Systems LLC: 12.35 Swaging Machine
Testo Inc.: Testo Kool
Automated Logic Corp. - CtrlSpecBuilderâ„¢
HVAC Solution Inc. - HVAC Solution
Publication date: 01/12/2004