With the weight of the heating and cooling needs of a building and its occupants on its proverbial shoulders, commercial HVAC equipment has an enormous responsibility. HVAC contractors and technicians, shoulder the task of, among other things, properly installing and servicing these giants of the HVAC equipment world.

Besides offering features and benefits to meet an edifice’s HVAC needs, the honorees ofThe NEWS’HVAC Commercial Equipment category in the sixth annual Dealer Design Awards ease contractors and technicians’ burden by being easier to install and service. Lochinvar Corporation’s Shield™ commercial water heater gained gold in this class, AERCO International, Inc.’s Benchmark 2.0 Low NOx Boiler brought home the silver, and the AAON LC Series chiller garnered bronze.

Gold Winner: Lochinvar Corporation’s SHIELD Commercial Water Heater is equipped with an advanced water heater control for easy system setup, service, and operation.


The Shield commercial water heater from Lochinvar® is a high-efficiency water heater with a design that protects from energy-robbing lime scale buildup. The water heater has 96 percent thermal efficiency and storage up to 125 gallons. Available in five models with inputs ranging from 150,000 to 500,000 Btuh, Shield is designed for a wide range of commercial water-heating applications and can serve high-demand commercial applications through manifolded installation of multiple units.

Utilizing a fully modulating burner with 5:1 turndown, the water heater can fire as low as 20 percent of maximum input when demand is lowest, and increase to 100 percent for peak-demand periods, said the manufacturer.

“The NEG/REG sealed combustion system allows the unit to operate with inlet gas pressure as low as 4 inches of water column and delivers a quiet, environmentally friendly supply of heat,” stated the manufacturer.

For more flexibility in installation, the unit offers rooftop or sidewall venting options, including conventional, direct vent, and concentric direct vent, all using PVC or CPVC pipe with vent runs up to 100 feet. The water heater is equipped with an advanced water heater control for easy system setup, service, and operation. The Smart Control™ features a two-line, 16-character backlit LCD display that provides readouts of setup, system status, and diagnostic information in words, not codes and includes night setback, time clock, alarm contacts, runtime contacts, and manual-reset high limit.

A judge of this category liked the anti-scale buildup design of the unit, commenting, “This is a good forward direction for commercial water heaters. In some areas, the scaling is impossible to keep up with, especially when trying to maintain a green perspective.”

Silver Winner: The Benchmark 2.0 Low NOx Boiler, by AERCO International, Inc., has a air/fuel valve design that simplifies calibration work at startup and during annual maintenance.


The Benchmark 2.0 Low NOx Boiler by AERCO International, Inc. measures 79 (high) by 28 (wide) by 36 inches (deep). Each unit is delivered in a single, fully assembled package that fits through a standard doorway and has a 7-square-foot footprint with zero side clearance. The versatile venting options (individual or breach through ceiling or sidewall), and shorter runs of 8-inch venting materials minimize material and labor expenses. Each unit’s enclosure features removable, lightweight, screwless side panels to minimize the length of service calls. The design also features easy rear access to all piping.

According to the manufacturer, the “annual maintenance for the unit consists only of calibration check along with replacement of spark igniter and spark plug.” The patented air/fuel valve design, which combines the air/fuel delivery system, simplifies calibration work at startup and during annual maintenance.

Two of the judges were taken with the small size of the unit. One said, “I love the footprint.”

Another commented on the footprint too, as well as other benefits of the unit, remarking, “Certainly the advantage [of the unit] is the small footprint and what appears to be a very easy installation. The unit is service and maintenance friendly.”

Bronze Winner: The AAON LC Series Chiller by AAON has all its components labeled in the chiller.


AAON’s LC Series chiller features an all-in-one package factory-installed design with an integrated pumping package. Moving the pumping package to the outdoor equipment increases available square footage inside. The chillers have modulating scroll compressors that can vary the capacity from 5-100 percent. The variable capacity greatly reduces required system loop volume and can eliminate the cost of a storage tank. The compressor consumes less electricity at part load and provides the unit with increased efficiency at part-load conditions. The unit is also offered with flooded condenser low ambient control, allowing the unit to be used where year-round cooling is required such as medical buildings, data centers, and industrial process cooling.

All the components are labeled in the chiller. The doors come with lockable hinges, and have “hold-back bars” that hold the doors in place even on windy days.

The color-coded wiring diagrams match the color of the wires in the unit. The pumps are factory-installed and -tested; the unit only requires ‘water-in’ and ‘water-out’ connections in the field.

A judge commented that the units “are very serviceable and built for efficiency. The corrosion tests make it an ideal product for coastal and environmentally challenged areas.”

2009 Honorees: HVAC Commercial Equipment

Lochinvar Corp.
SHIELD Commercial Water Heater

AERCO International Inc.
Benchmark 2.0 Low NOx Boiler

AAON LC Series Chiller

AAON SA Series Modular Self Contained Product

Daikin AC
VRVIII Heat Recovery 208-230V, Single Module 12 Ton

Mitsubishi Electric HVAC
CITY MULTI® Y and R2-Series Modular Units

Publication date:07/13/2009