ORLANDO, Fla. - Nine companies have been named as the winners of the eighth annual AHR Expo Innovation Awards. All nine companies will be recognized at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. in the New Product Technology Theater A on the show floor of the Orange County Convention Center. In addition, one of the nine category winners will be selected as the overall winner of the 2010 AHR Expo Product of the Year Award.

A panel of judges, made up of American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) members, reviewed and evaluated all submissions. Product entries were judged for innovation, application, value to user, and market impact. The entry fees from the 2010 award competition will be used to benefit a charitable organization in the Orlando area. During the seven years of the Innovation Awards program, thousands of dollars have been given back to the communities where the AHR Expo has been held.

“We are extremely pleased with the wide range and high quality of product submissions we received for the eighth year of the award program,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co. (IEC), producers and managers of the AHR Expo. “It is a pleasure to recognize and honor manufacturers that have excelled in turning technology into useful and efficient products.”

Building Automation Award


The WBT900 is a device that enables a BACnet controls network to become wireless. It enables wireless communications between buildings, sites, or equipment when local infrastructure won’t allow it or can’t be accessed.

The WBT900 has many practical applications and can be used to link multiple buildings together into one existing network, which reduces the need for multiple front-ends and networks.

“An example that illustrates how the WBT900 can be used is to bring the HVAC equipment of a remote parking deck or a kW meter from an out building back into the existing building automation system. It’s an economical, alternative solution to running conduit and cable,” said Joe Dylinski, president/CEO. “It’s been approved for and used by numerous different military installations and municipalities alike.”

The WBT900 comes preprogrammed from the factory and is ready to install. The company states it is simple to set up, and if changes are required, no special software is needed as it is already embedded into the product. It only takes minutes to install, and instructions are included with the product. Little or no service is typically required, and the company provides a standard two-year warranty on the product.

Dylinski added that the WBT900 provides instant and seamless wireless access of existing or new BACnet communication buses for add-on operation of equipment or entire buildings that were previously inaccessible. “There is now an economical, reliable, low-maintenance solution to gain the most use from any building automation and control system.”

The WBT900 is widely available.

Cooling Award


The Micro Channel Evaporator is specially designed to perform both cooling and heating functions for residential and commercial applications. These applications can include residential air conditioning/heating (indoor units); commercial cooling/heating applications (rooftop units); refrigeration applications, including retail food storage and bottle cooling; and heating units.

“The Micro Channel Evaporator cuts 40 percent of the mass of a competitive product while still allowing OEMs to meet high SEER requirements,” said Charlie Clevenger, product line director. “Because of its innovative design, the Micro Channel Evaporator can operate efficiently in both condensing (heating) and evaporating (cooling) modes. It is both highly efficient and environmentally friendly compared to traditional products.”

Because of its reduced mass, it uses less refrigerant, resulting in reduced costs for the OEM. Additionally, the evaporator is constructed from aluminum and is 100 percent recyclable. This reduces the amount of copper used and solves the copper formicary corrosion that currently plagues indoor coils. Clevenger stated that the highly efficient evaporator provides optimal air conditioning comfort but with less energy and less refrigerant. “It is a greener product without sacrificing any comfort. End users will be helping the environment without really even knowing it.”

The evaporator is production ready and will be available to manufacturers for the 2011 product cycle.

Green Building Award

Danfoss Inc.

The Performer VSD integrates a variable-speed scroll compressor, drive and control electronics for electronic expansion valve (EEV), a condenser fan, and a reversing valve. The cost-efficient, green home HVAC solution is engineered for the highest efficiency with ducted systems. The Performer VSD provides optimal comfort and can be used in new and retrofit residential air conditioning systems.

Mogens Rasmussen, integration system manager, stated that the Performer VSD is the first commercially available integrated variable-speed solution designed for ducted system in the U.S. market. “The Performer VSD is high in comfort with new dehumidification functions, precise temperature control, and very quiet operation. Further, it is extremely energy efficient and a solution that delivers diagnostics for increased reliability. It is easy and simple to install via fewer wires because of the serial Modbus communication. Auto calibration occurs during the setup.”

The Performer VSD is being tested in the market and will be available in the second quarter of 2010.

Heating Award

Daikin AC (Americas) Inc.

The VRV®III-C heat pump system is designed to allow for individual control of rooms or zones, giving the control back to the user or building manager. It is designed for applications in which high energy efficiency, compact units, and low sound levels are desired, such as office buildings, hotels, schools, retail, hospitals, and multi-tenant residential buildings.

VRVIII-C performs efficiently at outdoor temperatures as low as -13°F, allowing customers designing commercial applications to maintain higher heating output and efficiency levels at low temperatures with heat pump inverter variable-speed compressor technology. The two-stage inverter compression system provides both heating capacity and energy efficiency. An additional outdoor unit, called a booster unit, utilizes a small inverter compressor to increase the refrigerant pressure when outside temperature falls under 32°F to provide high-efficiency comfortable heat at lower ambient conditions. This reduces the need for a back-up heating system, saving on both first-hand installation and operating costs.

“With heating operation down to -13°F, there is no need for an auxiliary heating system to complement the VRVIII-C heat pump, even on the coldest days,” said Marc Bellanger, marketing manager. “Cold weather energy savings of up to 20 percent compared to conventional VRF models is possible and 88 percent of the nominal system capacity is maintained at -4°F.”

In addition to the exceptional heating capacity, the VRVIII-C offers end users the advantages of Daikin’s intelligent products such as advanced zoning capabilities; energy efficiency; improved comfort at lower outside temperatures; and a space-saving design. The VRVIII-C connects to the entire suite of Daikin proprietary controls including a new Navigation controller with functional enhancements for scheduling, setback, and drastic aesthetic improvements. It also connects to BACnet® and LonWorks if desired through Daikin’s gateways.

The VRVIII-C heat pump will be available in June 2010.

IAQ Award

Samsung Electronics

The Virus Doctor with Super Plasma Ion (SPi) technology is designed to effectively eliminate 99.99 percent of the airborne influenza A virus subtype H1N1 - also known as Swine Flu - within 20 minutes of use. In addition to other health benefits, the company said its test results show that the Virus Doctor with SPi technology could help prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus from person to person by removing the airborne virus.

According to Emory JH Yoo, senior director, the Virus Doctor neutralizes reactive oxygen species (OH radicals) faster and more safely than similar technologies used by other manufacturers. “The state-of-the-art microplasma ion technology in the Virus Doctor with SPi technology can neutralize active oxygen (OH radicals) in the air with the reaction of atomic hydrogen. It can also effectively destroy the surface protein of viruses, germs and allergens in the air throughout the oxidization process with atomic hydrogen and oxygen ions. Tests verify the safety of Virus Doctor to further confirm it will not cause eye or skin irritation or other medical concerns.”

The Virus Doctor with SPi technology is currently used in selected Samsung air conditioners sold globally, as well as its personal air purifiers, air purifiers, humidifiers, and other products for automobile or medical applications. The company plans to apply this technology to home appliances, as well as universal areas in which the air quality matters such as elevators, buildings, buses, and trains. Yoo stated that Virus Doctor can be a huge factor on preventing bio-contaminants from spreading.

The Virus Doctor with SPi technology was introduced in 2006 and is widely available in markets including China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Europe.

Refrigeration Award

Muller Industries North America

The 3C Condenser is a recyclable purpose-built condenser that utilizes both air-cooled and water-cooled technologies. This facilitates lower system design condensing temperatures in order to increase the overall energy efficiency of the refrigeration system, reducing the refrigeration system’s carbon footprint by lowering indirect emissions associated with generating electricity. The 3C Condenser is primarily used in supermarkets and cold storage warehouses.

There are many benefits to using the 3C Condenser, noted Derrick Echols, vice president of sales, including reduced refrigerant charge and water consumption. “The microchannel coil reduces condenser refrigerant charge up to 70 percent as compared to air-cooled and evaporative cooling towers. In addition, there is up to a 75 percent reduction in annual water consumption as compared to evaporative cooling towers.”

Another benefit of the 3C Condenser, said Echols, is that it eliminates Legionella risks and chemical bio-waste by operating in an aerosol-free environment and at temperatures where Legionella bacteria is non-pathogenic. As a result, it does not require the standard daily dosing with biocides and inhibitors, which become waste products after application.

The 3C Condenser is a green product, consisting of an aluminum frame, housing, condenser coil, and cellulose pre-cooling pads, which are all 100 percent recyclable materials. In addition, the product is energy efficient, as it has been designed to enable plants to operate at superior COPs even under the most severe climatic conditions. The new SH09 Series greatly reduces fan input power for every ton of heat that is rejected. Reductions in airside pressure drop and the combination of Owlett fan technology from Ziehl-Abegg have enabled the SH09 Series to reduce both noise and energy consumption to new levels.

The 3C Condenser was first launched in Australia in 2002 but is now widely available.

Software Award

AEC Design Group

ArtrA O&M allows contractors and owner/operators to use 3-D models as the graphic interface to access all types of documentation and data to more effectively manage operations and maintenance. “There is no other product in the market that offers the capability of CAD neutral management of 3-D model data and documentation,” said Jeff Winans, sales manager. “ArtrA offers leading edge leveraging of BIM/VDC technology to effectively manage design, fabrication, installation, and operations of HVAC and other systems.”

Winans noted that contractors will benefit the most from ArtrA but engineers and owner/operators will also find it very useful. “It is easy to install, attach the documentation to the 3-D model, and then search the model for any of that information.” End users will also benefit, as they will be able to quickly and easily access all information from design, fabrication, installation, and operations to reduce cost and increase efficiencies to get a better ROI on their projects.

Intended for the commercial market, a user can use the program to search for an item - a specific air handler unit for example - then ArtrA O&M will zoom in to locate the object in the 3-D model and show a list of any information related to it (manufacturer specs, installation records, parts list, maintenance procedures, past maintenance reports, live data from airflow sensors, etc.). A user can also search for all valves of a specific type in a 3-D model then, by placing a document (e.g., manufacturer specs) on the search results, it will be linked to all of those valves.

ArtrA O&M was introduced in July 2009 and is available internationally. Other ArtrA products include ArtrA FM (Facilities Management), ArtrA EM (Energy Management), ArtrA CM (Corrosion Monitoring) and ArtrA PC (Project Coordination).

Tools And Instruments Award

LA-CO Industries, Inc.

Cool Gel® barrier spray is a clear, non-toxic, non-staining gel that protects rubber, plastic, and painted and finished surfaces during soldering, brazing or welding by acting as a barrier between the surfaces being working upon and the heat from a torch. Cool Gel can be used in a variety of HVAC applications, including commercial rooftop repair, residential furnace repair, commercial refrigeration repair and installation, and commercial refrigeration valves and wiring.

“With the extensive amount of soldering, brazing, and welding projects that plumbing, HVAC, and mechanical contractors tackle on a daily basis, fire prevention is always a top concern in both residential and commercial settings. Cool Gel offers contractors peace of mind while ensuring the maximum safety, efficiency, and profitability,” said Benjamin Kleiman, plumbing marketing and sales manager. “From a safety standpoint, Cool Gel is one of the most important tools a contractor can carry. Once Cool Gel is sprayed on, it absorbs heat before it reaches flammable or heat-sensitive surfaces, reducing the potential for hazardous and expensive damage.”

Cool Gel features a trigger spray formula, which minimizes the potential for fire and heat damage through a quick spray that sticks to surfaces without dripping or running. It is easy to maneuver with both streaming and spraying options, and because of the unique formula, it evaporates completely, leaving behind no residue and eliminating clean-up. In addition to reducing the danger of fire, Cool-Gel also saves time by eliminating the costly disassembly of valves and other components before soldering, brazing and welding.

Cool Gel is widely available, and a video demonstrating how to utilize it can be viewed at www.coolgelmovie.com.

Ventilation Award

DuraSystems Barriers, Inc.

DuraDuct HP is a fire and blast resistant duct system that is UL and ULC listed, holding a two-hour fire resistance rating. It has also been independently tested to achieve a blast resistance rating of 29 psi. The system is utilized in life safety systems for commercial as well as high-risk buildings where added protection of the air-handling systems may be required.

The DuraDuct HP system (as well as all of the DuraDuct models) is designed for use in commercial, institutional, and industrial markets and is ideal for retrofit projects due to its slim profile and space saving ability, said Gerry Saieva, mechanical sales manager. “It reduces the overall footprint by eliminating the need for additional bulky external wrap or enclosures. As a single source solution it is also ideal for new construction projects, as the system is factory fabricated, which eliminates the variables and potential for incorrectly installed assemblies with field built products. It is easily inspected and is moisture and impact resistant for quality assurance to the builder/owner.”

All of the DuraDuct patented metal double wall models provide unmatched space-savings, impact resistance, and a maintenance free design that does not require multiple trade installation, said Saieva. “Engineers can look to the factory-built DuraDuct system to eliminate the need for inspection of installation methods when using field applied assemblies. In addition, it provides much needed space savings and impact resistance, which is very important for projects where overcoming space issues caused by obstructions or other services becomes a design challenge. The DuraDuct HP is easy to install, and the methods of installation are similar to the sheet metal trade.”

DuraDuct is widely available.

Publication date:01/11/2010