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Gold WinnerLiebert Corp. (www.liebert.com) received the first place award for its Liebert iCOM control system. First introduced on the Liebert DS model cooling unit, but available as an option with several Liebert precision cooling models, the Liebert iCOM control system coordinates the operation of multiple units.
The iCOM contributes to efficiency improvements by enabling more precise control of temperature and humidity and allowing multiple units in a room to communicate and work together as a system. It monitors all functions and generates reports or alarms as needed.
Liebert's iCOM product manager, Theresa Krystofik, said, "The intelligent design of the iCOM control system assists contractors through its internal service log and notification capabilities, spare parts identification, and a system setup wizard. In addition to intelligent monitoring that reacts to and fixes problems before they affect operations, the iCOM control allows Liebert precision cooling units to be controlled through the use of remote monitoring software and hardware."
Judges liked the service features. "It allows a service technician, from a centralized location, to see the average operation of all the units working together. This can save a lot of time working in a precision cooling environment," noted one of the HVAC contractors serving as a contest judge.
Other features of the control system include a critical spare parts list that is saved in unit memory and may be displayed on the large graphic display face, thus speeding the identification of parts. The control system also features an online "assistant" for guidance during initial setup and for routine maintenance. The iCOM unit has a Unit Diary that shares unit maintenance history with any authorized users or logged-in service contacts, including records of what others have done.
Silver WinnerTour Andover Controls (www.tac.com) introduced a prepackaged, Web-based control solution for small buildings called Andover onSiTE. The product won second place in the eyes of the judges. The system is designed to control and monitor HVAC, lighting, and energy usage in multiple buildings smaller than 20,000 square feet. Andover onSiTE is a system of hardware and built-in software specifically designed to control small, multi-site facilities such as retail store chains or quick-service food stores. The product brings energy savings and the convenience of Web-based monitoring to owners of multiple and similar properties.
Mike Soper, onSiTE marketing manager said, "The system installs using simple wiring diagrams and operates with a Web browser. The onSiTE system is designed so that using their existing knowledge of programmable thermostats, contractors can sell customers on a full control system. It enables contractors to offer premium service contracts to their customers because it can generate weekly reports of energy consumption, remotely troubleshoot HVAC, generate alarms via e-mail, and help to verify contractor performance."
"This is a very nice product. I can install this whether I've got any building automation experience, or not," noted one judge. "We need something like this in order to compete with the larger specialty control contractors."
Perhaps the most popular feature listed by the judges was the ability to either allow the customer to monitor and control the system, or to allow the contractor to set up a multi-year service contract to perform that function for the owner.
The product family includes a controller, network of thermostats, and remote sensors. Up to 32 SiteStat Model thermostats can be networked to a single controller for gas, electric, or heat pump applications.
Bronze WinnerThe Zonex Systems (www.zonexsystems.com) ZonexCommander is a communicating Windows-based direct digital control (DDC) system designed to remotely control from one to 80 rooftop units, split systems, or zones. The system can control stand-alone HVAC equipment, zoned units with two-position or fully modulating dampers, and auxiliary equipment such as exhaust fans, lighting, and other generic loads.
Jeff Osheroff, president of Zonex Systems said, "The ZonexCommander automates your HVAC system, eliminating the need to continually set and reset multiple thermostats that are located throughout a building. A contractor can network one or multiple units for remote communications via the Internet in buildings too large for multiple programmable thermostats, but too small for a full-blown energy management system."
One judge had this to say: "This is a unique product, and one that seems very convenient to install." The system was designed to take advantage of everyone's familiarity with Microsoft Windows operating system. Just the click of a mouse accomplishes almost everything a contractor or building owner needs to know to operate the system.
According to Osheroff, the ZonexCommander uses skills that contractors have today. There is no need for extensive schooling on how to install and operate the system; virtually any contractor can succeed in the controls market.
Honorable MentionTwo products received honorable mention from the judges in this category: Reliable Controls Corp. (www.reliablecontrols.com) for its SMART-Sensor LCD; and Copeland Corp. (www.emersonclimate.com) for its Discus for Intelligent Store.
Publication date: 07/18/2005