McCormick Place features 2.6 million square feet of convention halls, assembly seating for 18,000 people, and 50,000 parking spaces, which should be more than enough to hold everyone attending the 61st AHR Expo. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.)

CHICAGO - The 61st Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) will return to the Windy City, historically the site of its largest shows, with new educational sessions and countless new products for the growing green market. The focus of this year’s expo will once again be on environmentally friendly products and technologies, including green building, sustainable design, and renewable energy.

Taking place Jan. 26-28 at McCormick Place, the AHR Expo will feature more than 1,900 exhibitors from around the world, showcasing hundreds of innovative new products to over 50,000 attendees and exhibitor personnel. HVACR professionals from more than 120 countries will have the opportunity to experience the latest products, technologies, solutions, and services from every segment of the industry.


The AHR Expo is one of the most prominent events in the HVACR industry, and manufacturers and contractors alike look forward to it each year. For manufacturers, the expo provides an opportunity to talk with new and existing customers about issues and equipment, while contractors enjoy being able to find out about new products that are coming online.

Aaron York, president, Aaron York’s Quality Air Conditioning and Heating Inc., Indianapolis, said that one of the best things about attending the AHR Expo is being able to talk to manufacturer engineers and product designers. “I enjoy talking with all of the people who are there and seeing the new products that are being offered. When you’re there, you’re seeing what the industry is thinking, what they’re planning, and what they’re building for the future. If we don’t stay up on what’s happening tomorrow, we have a big problem.”

Anyone who has attended the AHR Expo would probably agree that it can be a little overwhelming, but York thinks it’s an amazing experience that will energize contractors once they return home. “I take in everything I can possibly get. It’s tiring, but it’s not exhausting, because of all the excitement of the things that are coming. It’s so thrilling that it will absolutely leave you enthralled for the next three or four months.”

Manufacturers such as Cliplight Manufacturing Co. find that same thrill in talking with customers. The company will return to the expo for its sixth year for one simple reason, said Linda Appler, director of sales and marketing, Cliplight Manufacturing Co., HVACR Division.

“There is nothing that can replace the benefit of meeting with customers face-to-face. A perfect example is the last AHR Expo in New York. Sales in that area had been weaker than we would like, but the expo was amazing. We had tremendous traffic at our booth, and we met many contractors and wholesalers there for the first time. This past season we were able to see a marked increase in sales and interest in that area for our flagship product, Super Seal, which seals microleaks in ACR systems.”

The company hopes to see similar success with the two new products it is rolling out at this year’s AHR Expo: Dry R, which is a moisture-removing additive that eliminates water in ACR systems, and Super Seal Total, the next generation of leak sealants. Appler added that being at the show also affords them the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what field technicians require to remain viable and successful in the HVACR industry. “We, in turn, can use this information in our approach to new product development.”

Steve Rosol, president, Mars Air Systems, agreed that meeting with customers is one of the most important reasons to exhibit at the AHR Expo. This will be the company’s 34th consecutive year exhibiting. “The expo provides a dynamic setting for further solidifying existing relationships, as well as establishing new ones,” said Rosol. “Additionally, the expo helps to reinforce the Mars Air Systems brand as the industry leader.”

This year, Mars will display its new architectural series of air curtains, LoPro, which features variable-speed and energy-efficient motors. “The benefit is an aesthetically pleasing air curtain with adjustable output airflow that will meet the requirements of the application. This provides the customer the benefits of reducing the amount of their building’s heated and air conditioned air that would be lost when their doors remain open,” said Rosol.

In addition to mingling with manufacturers, contractors will have the opportunity to attend a wide range of expanded pavilions and educational sessions. (Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography.)


In addition to mingling with manufacturers, contractors have the opportunity to attend a wide range of expanded pavilions, as well as 70 sessions and workshops presented by the industry’s leading trade associations. Topics will range from achieving sustainability and energy reduction to the economics of energy, best practices, and the latest trends and techniques in HVACR.

The NEWSwill present a seminar on Tuesday, Jan. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., in Room S101b titled “HVACR Education & Training: Important Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” The panel discussion with Mark Lowry of RSES, Gerry Kennedy of PHCC, Glenn Hourahan of ACCA, Rex Boynton of NATE, and Warren Lupson of AHRI will focus on the importance of training, what each respective association is doing to push training, and what contractors should be doing with their employees.

Several green seminars and sessions will also be offered to attendees, including:

• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Program will host an information booth as well as conduct an educational session;

• The Partnership for Environmental Leadership, a collaboration of six green-minded industry associations, will drive its HVAC Mobile Green Classroom right onto the AHR Expo show floor. Attendees will have free access to valuable hands-on learning opportunities presented inside this informative classroom. The training trailer will demonstrate new and innovative technologies being used to enhance a building’s energy efficiency while maintaining occupant health, safety, and comfort;

• The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) will present a full-day LEED educational program;

• The Green Mechanical Council (GMC) will provide two free educational programs for interested attendees;

• The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will offer several seminars on a variety of important green topics; and

• AHR Expo will sponsor several green-focused sessions.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) will once again conduct certification examinations for technicians attending the AHR Expo. Technicians can also register to take their specialty re-certification test at the show. Technicians should pre-register at the NATE Website ( to ensure that NATE brings adequate copies of the test they wish to take.

For more information about the expo or to register online, go to For a full listing of educational opportunities at the AHR Expo, visit

Sidebar: Green Is Good

In keeping with the green theme, the AHR Expo will produce much of its promotional materials in digital format and make them available online, thus eliminating thousands of sheets of paper. Hosting the AHR Expo at Chicago’s McCormick Place also reflects the show’s green commitment.

McCormick Place utilizes many recycled and environmentally friendly products. These include 100 percent recycled paper products in restroom facilities, cold beverage cups made of PLA (Poly Lactic Acid-resin derived from natural corn starches that are 100 percent annually renewable and fully compostable), flatware in dining areas made of compostable potato starch, and all packaged food boxes are 100 percent compostable, including the lunch box, napkins, cookie bag, flatware, sandwich, and salad containers.

Publication date:01/12/2009