At the product showcase, Bill Cunningham, product manager, cooling splits for Lennox Industries, showed the Dave Lennox Signature XP17 air conditioning system, which he said is “the most efficient single-stage unit you can buy.” Its efficiency is its big driver - it can achieve up to a 17.5 SEER.
The system’s new “Silent Comfort” fan motor design with composite fan blades, he said, has done a lot to reduce sound levels, which are now as low as 62 dB, responding to a continuing movement to reduce sound levels. It can be installed with the Humiditrol system, and is designed to be integrated with the company’s gas furnaces, air handlers, PureAir system, and icomfort touch thermostat. Its SmartHinge cabinet facilitates service and maintenance.
It will be compatible with the company’s SunSource Home Energy System in September. It is currently available for tax credits, which may help nudge hesitant homeowners off the fence.
SOLAR-READY HVACThe SunSource system was redesigned after the company gathered feedback on the first generation of product. Dealers and customers wanted more benefits, including the capability to power the entire outdoor unit, to use more than one solar panel, and to use solar energy to satisfy other needs in the home.
In its first version (The NEWS, Oct. 20, 2008), solar energy was only used to power a DC fan motor in the outdoor unit, explained Victor Gonzalez-Maertens, director of cooling & IAQ products, Lennox Industries.
The new SunSource Home Energy System allows solar energy to power the outdoor unit, and when the unit is off, the solar energy can be used in the home. If surplus power is generated, it feeds back out into the grid, he explained. The AC power is created as a line-ready signal. “If you send it back to the grid, you can get credit for usage,” Gonzalez-Maertens said.
The timing for this product is ideal. “Consumers already have a mindset to get into solar, and research shows they are going to HVAC contractors for greater energy efficiency solutions,” he said.
The enhanced outdoor Signature units will now be “SunSource Solar Ready” from the factory. The optional solar package contains a solar subpanel and solar racking method to apply up to 15 solar modules per outdoor unit. Solar installed portions of the system qualify for federal solar tax credit, which are 30 percent uncapped through 2016, he said. State and local utilities might offer additional incentives.
HOT STUFFOn the heating side, Ken Ely, senior product manager, heating, Lennox Industries, showed dramatically lower-profile furnaces, a product for an industry already dealing with space constraints due to redesigns on the cooling side, to accommodate higher-efficiency, R-410A systems.
The new furnace line is available in good, better, best feature sets and efficiency tiers, up to 98.2 AFUE in the Dave Lennox Signature Collection. Tax credit models are available with 95-plus AFUE models available at every tier, including the Elite and Merit tiers.
The new line includes standard- and high-efficiency models with high-efficiency, constant-torque blower motors. “Constant torque is another way to get the consumer to the tax credit level,” Ely said. When matched with a heat pump or cooling system, it provides “a lower-cost system approach to achieve a SEER bump” than full variable speed, he continued.
Additional furnace features include the sealed blower compartment on all models, which is important for LEED and other efficiency verification testing. In addition, variable-speed models are now rated up 1 inch static pressure, providing increased airflow to help deal with installations with “marginal” ductwork. Their new flush-mount vent termination, for sidewall venting, is more flexible, covering 2-2.5 inches and 3 inches while being easier to install and more aesthetically pleasing for the consumer.
A new full line of accessories is available, including a return-air base for dealers who want to lift the furnace up or bring in more air. It’s much more professional looking than less-suitable stacking methods.