As can be expected, there were numerous 13-plus SEER product introductions at the 2006 AHR Expo. Show attendees crowded into booths to see the latest high-efficiency air conditioners, heat pumps, and geothermal products offered by many of the big names in the industry.
Contractors going to the AHR Expo should also think about attending a few of the sessions presented at the ASHRAE meeting, which takes place Jan. 21-25 at the Palmer House Hilton. The theme of several of the sessions is integrated or sustainable design.
The fourth annual International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) Innovation Awards will be presented at the expo on Jan 24. This year, a ninth award category has been added, recognizing green building products and technology in the HVACR industry.
While many contractors are relatively upbeat about the 13 SEER mandate, they still have some serious concerns as the industry moves closer to the 13 SEER transition. These concerns range from product availability to quality issues, and mismatched systems to larger component sizes.
Just when HVAC distributors thought they had their inventories set, their ordering priorities figured out, and their customers educated, along comes the new 13 SEER mandate that changes all that. For distributors, the choices they made this fall could possibly make or break their businesses.
Very soon manufacturers will have to abide by the 13 SEER standard. Even though the standard has required manufacturers to redesign their lines, develop new products, and reconfigure their factories, most state they are excited about the changes.
With energy prices soaring and a savvier public, some builders are realizing that consumers want higher-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, as well as other HVAC options. A home builder in Colorado recently offered high-end equipment in a spec, although custom, home.
The higher fuel costs expected this winter are definitely not good news for the consumer, who will be in for a nasty surprise when the first utility bills of the winter arrive. This is a good time, though, for contractors to talk with customers about the benefits of high-efficiency furnaces.
While there is no way to control the high cost of gasoline, contractors are looking for ways to compensate for high fuel prices. Installing global positioning systems (GPS) on service trucks has become one tool that many contractors are using to decrease fuel consumption.