Stars Come Out in Chicago

February 13, 2006
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More than 57,000 individuals registered to attend the AHR Expo.
CHICAGO - After a three year hiatus, the 2006 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) came back to Chicago with a flurry. As is common to the Windy City venue, the 1985 Chicago Bears, NFL Super Bowl champions, were called up for duty at various receptions. Hall of Fame quarterback and Super Bowl I and II MVP Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers entertained and enlightened a group on Sunday. In addition, a few new twists were in store for night owls. Six Playboy Playmates signed autographs at the Hard Rock Hotel. The renowned House of Blues featured dinner and a band, and every large facility that could be pressed into service for the AHR Expo was - the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and even Soldier Field.

According to show management, the 2006 AHR Expo set a new record for number of exhibiting companies with 1,991 exhibitors taking up 411,175 square feet of exhibit space.

The show was also one of the biggest in the history of the event with more than 57,000 total registered attendees (36,891 visitors and 20,782 exhibitor personnel).

Discussion of refrigerant changeover strategies were frequent in the ICOR booth.
The editors of The NEWS found the expo abounding with new products. The much-awaited launch of the new 13 SEER energy standard coinciding with the opening of the trade show doors on Jan. 23, may have had something to do with the plethora of new products. One might even surmise that the Department of Energy had some master plan in mind nearly three years ago.

On the pages of this issue, we bring you a number of these new products. Obviously, we couldn't fit everything on a limited number of pages, so you'll want to visit our Website for even more information on the expo. Just visit www.achrnews.com and click on "AHR Show Coverage" for an overview of products displayed at the show and summaries of expo-related events.

Daikin held a hospitality party after the first day of the AHR Expo. The party featured a live rock and roll band, food, adult beverages and Playboy Playmates.

AN INTERNATIONAL SHOW

Though the 2006 AHR Expo was the largest on record, noticeably absent were some of the most recognizable names - Carrier, McQuay, etc. Not that this absence is new or unexpected; several major manufacturers departed the show a few years ago.

However, the growth of the expo this year may have been due partially to the strong residential showing at what was once considered a primarily commercial venue. Many manufacturers showcased their latest offerings designed to meet the new mandate that residential unitary product manufacturers may only produce 13 SEER or higher unitary air conditioning and heat pump products, as of Jan. 23.

A walk through the aisles revealed not only huge numbers of U.S. manufacturers with new 13 SEER products, but a growing number of foreign HVAC manufacturers interested in the same market opportunity.

A total of 314 international companies from 39 countries showcased their products. More than 5,000 international visitors from 110 countries registered to attend the show. The expo generally attracts some 20 percent of its attendance from more than 100 countries outside the United States. Many HVACR professionals travel thousands of miles to see the best the industry's manufacturers have to offer.

Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., the show producer and organizer, attributes much of the show's success to its continuing effort to meet the changing needs of the industries it serves. "We are delighted with this year's record-breaking event as it reflects the growth of various industry segments within the AHR Expo and our ongoing efforts to add several show enhancements."

Winners of the fourth annual AHR Expo Innovation Awards were honored during a special presentation at the expo on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

FOURTH ANNUAL INNOVATION AWARDS

The winning companies of the fourth annual AHR Expo Innovation Awards were honored at a special ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 24, during the show. This year's awards were given in nine specific categories and were judged for innovation, application, value to user, and market impact. The awards are intended to promote and encourage product innovation by recognizing exceptional achievements.

New this year was the Greenovation Award, which recognizes excellence in green building products and technology in the HVAC industry.

2006 EXPO HIGHLIGHTS

For those who came to the show looking for educational opportunities, many of the AHR Expo's endorsing associations conducted free sessions that presented practical information ranging from principles of business management to a variety of current technical developments, including building automation.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) produced a large variety of sessions in conjunction with its annual Winter Meeting, which is held concurrently with the show. These included numerous short courses with a nominal tuition charge and free public sessions.

ASHRAE and the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) co-sponsor the event. The Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) is an honorary sponsor.

The 2007 AHR Expo will be held Jan. 29-31 in Dallas at the Dallas Convention Center.

The AHR Expo is produced and managed by International Exposition Co., 203-221-9232; 203-221-9260 (fax); info@ahrexpo.com; www.ahrexpo.com.

Publication date: 02/13/2006

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