ACHRNEWS

Industry Brings HVAC to the Builder

February 27, 2006
This year's International Builders' Show (IBS), in Orlando, Fla., placed marketing to the builder on an entirely new level for the HVAC industry. Over 70 HVAC manufacturers displayed products and worked to educate builders on the different nuances of 13 SEER, IAQ, and other new technologies designed for residential application.

TO SHOW, OR NOT TO SHOW

Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich., brought many of its HVAC products and other brands to the IBS. "Whirlpool Corp. participated in order to continue development of trade partner relationships; become the launch pad of innovative products; build new trade and public relations; and to promote the corporation's portfolio of different brands," said Tracy Frye, contract marketing manager for Whirlpool Corp.

Whirpool introduced its residential 14 SEER series Whirlpool Goldâ„¢ air conditioners at IBS. Standard features include a high-efficiency Copeland Scrollâ„¢ compressor, a compressor sound blanket for quiet operation, and painted galvanized steel cabinet construction for weather protection and appearance. Units are available in 1.5- to 5-tons and are equipped with an internal Comfort Alertâ„¢ control that monitors system performance.

"Whirlpool accelerates its selling process by using selected trade shows and special events to further develop existing business relationships, increase brand loyalty, develop new business opportunities with targeted attendees, and launch new products through the builder channel," said Frye.

EZ Trap Inc., Edison, N.J., also felt it was important to be at the IBS this year. "We wanted to try to reach the building industry to get them to specify our products in their building plans," said company president Gerry Spanger.

Multiple HVAC manufacturers displayed products and worked to educate builders on the different nuances of 13 SEER, IAQ, and other new technologies designed for residential application in The New American Home® 2006 as it celebrated its 23rd anniversary. (Feature photography by James E. Wilson.)

BUILT IN MARKETING

Another interesting marketing approach at the IBS was The New American Home® (TNAH). Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, TNAH served as the official showcase house of the IBS.

TNAH is described by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as a real world laboratory demonstrating concepts, materials, designs, and construction techniques that can be replicated, in whole or in part, in housing that is built any place and in any price range. The design, construction, and amenities are market-driven, displaying the latest in innovative products for the future of homebuilding.

"It's sort of like all the other show homes combined - on steroids," said Alex Hannigan, president of Hannigan Homes and builder of TNAH. The home also includes green-building features, "because that is a direction people are going," said Hannigan. "The trend is here to stay and it's going to grow by leaps and bounds"

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), one of TNAH's primary project goals was to introduce production builders to advanced HVAC strategies and advanced insulation and air tightness detail. Variable-speed air-handling units and high-efficiency heat pumps, with an average 16+ SEER for cooling were provided by Lennox International Inc. It is a zone-controlled system with seven separate zones. Each unit and its associated ductwork are within conditioned spaces. The HVAC system is dedicated, with fully ducted return air ductwork integrated into each air distribution system.

The house was designed for cross ventilation when air conditioning is turned off, and includes whole-house electronic air cleaners for enhanced IAQ provided by Honeywell. The attic is unvented and indirectly conditioned. It was sealed using an R-30 thermal and air barrier at the underside of the roof sheathing. TNAH also includes tankless water heaters provided by Rinnai Corp. These systems supply hot water quickly with no standby losses, according to the company.

DOE reported that the home uses 61 percent less energy for heating and cooling, and 50 percent less energy for water heating as compared to a house of comparable size in a hot and humid climate zone. Overall, TNAH averages approximately 38 percent total whole-house energy savings.

Many individuals were involved in the construction and design of the 10,023-square-foot New American Home® 2006. From left to right, Lee Smith, Engineering Services Group, structural engineer; Donnie Saxon, Saxon-Clark, interior decorator; Alex Hannigan, Hannigan Homes Inc. Builder; Jan Hannigan, Hannigan Homes Inc.; Scott Redmon, Redmon Design Co., landscape architect; Tom Davis, Hannigan Homes Inc., production manager.

INSTALLATION FEATURES

Del Air, Longwood, Fla., is the HVAC and electrical contractor that installed many of the HVAC products in TNAH. The overall system also included the following products.

Icynene, Mississauga, Ontario, is the manufacturer of Icynene®, water-blown foam insulation. According to the company, Icynene minimizes air leakage, producing increased energy efficiency, creating a healthier indoor environment, reducing airborne sounds, and offering greater design freedom.

It maintains its performance with no loss of R-value over time. It does not shrink, sag, or settle said the company. Icynene adheres to most construction materials and is the perfect insulation for walls, attics, ceilings and floors.

Warmboard Inc., Aptos, Calif., provided radiant subflooring for TNAH. The product combines a structural subfloor and a radiant panel in one component. Warmboard begins with a stiff, strong, 1-1/8-inch thick, 4 feet by 8 feet sheet of tongue and groove, weather-resistant plywood.

A modular pattern of channels is cut into the top surface. A thick sheet of aluminum is stamped to match the channel pattern and is permanently bonded to each panel. Warmboard can be sawn with a Skilsaw and nailed or screwed directly to floor joists just like any conventional subfloor, said the company. A roll of half-inch PEX tubing is then installed into the channel to complete the hydronic circuit.

The Hunter Fan Co., Memphis, Tenn., contributed its newly introduced Orleans CFLâ„¢ 82006 bath fan. The fan is designed with Concealed Vent Technologyâ„¢ allowing concealment of bathroom fan vent openings without restricting airflow, according to the company. The unit covers 65 square feet and operates at 70 cfm. It is rated at 2.5 sones and comes in an imperial bronze finish.

Lennox International Inc., Dallas, supplied TNAH with the Dave Lennox SignatureStatâ„¢ Home Comfort Controls. These thermidistats control both temperature and humidity.

The unit works with advanced heating and cooling systems to regulate moisture levels and temperature inside the home; has one-point humidity and temperature control adjustment; and can be programmed for different settings at different times, up to four time periods per day, every day of the week, according to the company. Signature Stat also has automatic changeover, a large backlit screen, and contributes to higher energy efficiency.

Lennox also provided multiple Dave Lennox Signatureâ„¢ Collection CBX32MVs. These variable-speed, multiposition air handlers use chlorine-free R-410A refrigerant. High static capability adjusts airflow to meet the comfort requirements of the home, according to Lennox.

The Dave Lennox Signatureâ„¢ Collection HPX19 heat pump series was installed in TNAH. The units varied from 15 to 18.6 SEER. The units contain two-stage scroll compressors, and according to Lennox, runs at low speed 80 percent of the time, reducing energy bills.

Honeywell contributed several F300 whole-house electronic air cleaners. According to the company, the three-stage filtration unit collects up to 98 percent of airborne particles, capturing microscopic particles, smoke, and mold spores.

The Y8150 fresh air ventilation system is designed to help meet local ventilation codes and standards, according to Honeywell. The system includes a microcontroller and damper.

Offering a test mode with immediate feedback, the fresh air ventilation system is considered to be an economical supply-only ventilation unit that can also be used with other systems, such as energy recovery ventilators (ERVs).

Publication date: 02/27/2006