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"Designed and manufactured with the servicing contractor in mind," said one judge.
The rooftop air conditioning unit, which uses Puron refrigerant, led the way in a category that included many great submissions.
Second place was captured by Bell & Gossett (Morton Grove, Ill.) with its Circuit Sentry Automatic Flow Limiting Valves unit. Coming in third place was Ruskin (Kansas City, Mo.) with its Power Exhaust - Model EEC03068P.
Gold WinnerThe Centurion (www.carrier.com) is a single-packaged cooling and heating rooftop unit from 2 to 25 tons, specifically designed with Puron (R-410).
"Applications range from schools to convenience stores to office and retail," said Carrier communications manager Alexis Bevington. "Fresh air and precise humidity control are inherently designed to further provide total comfort in an energy-efficient manner."
However, the judges were most impressed with how the product is designed and manufactured to assist the contractor in the installation, maintenance, and service of the product.
"Hinged doors, access panels, latches, etc., all make the job easier," said one of the judges.
"Installation options are a plus. Standardization is nice. Self-diagnosis is a step ahead."
Installation options include 13 commonly designed sizes from 2 to 25 tons, all using only four roof curbs.
Benefits in maintenance include single-side access with full-hinged doors, handles, and quarter-turn latches. Once doors are open, all internal components are fully accessible.
"But contractors indicated that better access beyond that was required," Bevington said. "That is why the units have slide-out condensate pans, tilt-out economizers, slide-out filter tracks with standard-size filters, slide blower assembly, single pass/slab coils, and slide-out gas manifold section - all to ensure time savings and facilitate easier cleaning and maintenance."
In regards to service, the onboard ComfortLink controls provide unit or remote system pressure and temperature readings by utilizing a large visual scrolling marquee display.
Carrier partnered with contractors throughout the design cycle in the hopes of ensuring true value in design layout, installation, maintenance, and service.
"This unit sets the bar higher than most of its competitors and offers another option," according to one of the judges.
"With efficiencies up to 14.3 SEER and EERs up to 12.7, Centurion units exceed Energy StarÂ® and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1 standards, providing the lowest operating costs of any rooftop unit in the industry using Puron refrigerant," said Bruce Burdon, director of Product Management and Marketing for Carrier's North America Commercial Division.
Silver WinnerThe Circuit Sentry (www.bellgossett.com) is a calibrated automatic flow-limiting valve with a precision-machined ball-type shutoff valve and commissioning measurement ports.
The judges were extremely impressed with the product. "This product addresses every aspect a hydronic balance valve should have," said one of the contractor judges. "This product is a home run."
The product is designed for flow limiting-style balancing of both HVAC cooling and heating circuits in commercial applications. It is a concept that resonated with the judges.
"I like the concept. It could save time not only at installation but more so afterwards while servicing and maintaining the system," said one of the judges.
The Circuit Sentry is designed to make contractors' jobs a lot easier with large, open flow paths providing clog-free operation, which results in fewer callbacks. In addition, a variety of end connections allow easy installation and easy system balance.
"Sounds good. With constant fluid flow it should be able to maintain peak operating performance," said one of the judges.
According to the company, the union connection allows for maximum piping flexibility and elimination of unnecessary pipe fittings, and the valve automatically ensures system balance regardless of changing pressure conditions. There is no requirement on pipe lengths before and after the valve for easier piping.
Bronze WinnerThe Power Exhaust units from Ruskin (www.ruskin.com) are designed to slide into existing economizer rain hoods. The Model EEC03068P is designed for Carrier 3- to 6-ton units.
"The Power Exhaust kit comes with everything needed to install and power the accessory," said Ruskin product manager Tim Vogel.
The economizer unit comes with an electrical connector that the Power Exhaust accessory plugs into. When installed, the Economizer sends a control signal to the Power Exhaust unit when there is a call for free cooling. A 45-second delay is built into the control sequence.
"Although simple in design, the unit has some definite advantages in installation and service. The manufacturer has done their homework on design and application," said one judge.
When designing this product, Ruskin focused on ease of installation. The goal, which the company attained, was to produce a unit that could utilize the existing rain hood, controls, and power. The installation requires the removal of three RTU panels, two screws in the rain hood, punching a 7/8-inch diameter hole, sliding the fan assembly in the rails, and making three simple wire connections.
"Our unit actually installs in under 10 minutes after the RTU panels are removed," Vogel said. "The whole process can be accomplished in well under 30 minutes. Even a person that has never installed one can do it without special training or skills. The service benefits are found in the ease of access. Removing two screws allows the fan assembly to swing down for service of all serviceable parts."
To service the fan, simply remove two screws and slide the assembly out.
Honorable MentionReceiving honorable mention from the judges were the City Multi Y-Series from Mitsubishi Electric (www.mitsubishielectric.com) and Aprilaire Steam Humidifiers from Aprilaire Research Products Corp. (www.aprilaire.com).
Publication date: 07/18/2005