Going where only some HVAC products have dreamed to go, the winners ofThe NEWS’eighth annual Dealer Design Awards’ HVAC High-Efficiency Residential Equipment category have staked out gold, silver, and bronze positions with their abilities to provide improved technology in new applications. ClimateMaster Inc. brought a water-to-air packaged geothermal heat pump to buildings with limited installation space; AAON brought geothermal to the rooftop; and LG Electronics USA Inc. brought higher efficiency to its elegant ductless selections. Together, the winners in this category have shown that with a little ingenuity, many HVAC features can be taken to new heights with efficiency and style.



ClimateMaster Inc.’s Tranquility22 Digital is a water-to-air packaged geothermal heat pump that integrates digital communicating controls, two-stage capacity, variable-speed fan, and variable-flow geothermal source functions. It can be applied in applications from 2 ton to 5 tons.

The product line was specifically designed and developed for price sensitive, and space limited, spec home and replacement/retrofit applications. It meets Energy Star® Tier 3 efficiency levels and is available in vertical and horizontal configurations in nominal capacities of 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, and 60 kBtuh. An exclusive integrated electronic controller provides advanced unit functionality and comprehensive diagnostic and setup capabilities through digital communication links with the variable-speed fan motor, variable-speed geothermal source pump, and matching electronic LCD thermostat.

The units are ready to install out of the box with no external pumps, expansion tanks, or valves for the ground loop. Full digital controls that communicate with the thermostat via four wires allows all unit configuration from the thermostat. The small size of the Tranquility22 units allows the contractor to install this unit in places they either couldn’t install before or were a very tight fit before, such as 2.0/3.0 door jams, small mechanical closets, attic doors, and crawl spaces.

There are no outdoor condensers to clean and no combustible heat exchangers to service. The communicating DXM2 control board diagnostic and communicating thermostat feature allows the homeowner to tell the installing contractor what is wrong with the unit without requiring a service callback. The two-section swing-out control box design provides wide-open service access. All five unit access panels allow technicians to access any side of the cabinet. Service friendly accessibility high/low pressure ports are located on a service bracket at the front of the unit.

“I like the attention to detail in making it easier to service and attempting to keep the initial costs down,” said one of the contractor judges. “The potential ROI could make this unit very desirable.”

Tranquility22 Digital Series comes with a five-year parts and two-year labor warranty. The major refrigerant circuit components, including the compressor, heat exchangers, expansion valve, and reversing valve have a 10-year warranty on parts and five years on labor. An optional ClimateMaster extended residential warranty is available.



“It is nice to see a rooftop design with geothermal and dehumidification ability. This product has very good and practical applications.”

That’s what one judge said about AAON’s RQ Series Geothermal Rooftop Unit. The unit is available in capacities from 2 to 6 tons and provides energy efficient heating and cooling by using the seasonally constant temperature of the earth below ground level. Its controls and compressor are contained within a single compartment that is isolated from the airstream for ease of service. The access doors have full length stainless steel piano hinges and quarter turn lockable handles to help make the unit easily serviceable.

Labeled electrical components and color-coded wiring match the unit specific color-coded wiring diagram, which is inside the control compartment for quick troubleshooting and service of the unit. Available factory installed options for ease of service include compressor isolation valves, service disconnect, and refrigerant sight glass. The geothermal pumping package can be factory installed; the unit base can be lifted by forklift; and direct driven fans eliminate regular unit belt maintenance.

AAON RQ Series Geothermal Units expand the geothermal market by introducing geothermal rooftop units. This saves indoor building space by placing the unit on the rooftop instead of an indoor mechanical room. A rooftop unit can be serviced without disturbing the indoor building environment such as classrooms, offices and leased spaces.

Variable-capacity compressors are able to modulate capacity from 10 to 100 percent, allowing for precise temperature control and energy savings at part load. The double wall rigid polyurethane foam insulated cabinet construction and direct drive backward curved plenum fans allow the RQ Series units to have quiet, energy-efficient airflow with high static pressure capabilities.

Available options include high efficiency variable-speed fans, variable-capacity compressors, energy recovery wheels, and economizers.



The 2011 LG Art Cool Inverter Mirror features a slim rectangular wall-mounted interior evaporator with a one-way airflow system. This interior heating and cooling system with a black curved-mirror finish can be added to a room without the semblance of an air conditioner on the wall.

Available in a variety of custom finishes, it is ideal for residential or light commercial installations. Models range in efficiency from 18.9 to 20 SEER.

“This is very good quality from LG,” noted a judging contractor. “The higher efficiency will be welcomed.”

Installation features provide contractors with an easy install and simplified service and maintenance. Each unit comes with installation support clips that allow for 25 degrees of separation from the wall without detaching the unit. The detachable bottom cover makes installation possible without having to disassemble or support the unit, which also allows for easier access to the unit’s electrical wiring. The new models include a 45 percent wider cavity for piping. These new indoor units also have factory installed electronic expansion valves that eliminate the need for field provided expansion devices.

Noise reduction features include variable-speed compressor and condenser fans, as well as factory installed internal insulation. It operates with sound levels as low as 19 dB IDU and 45 dB ODU for the ¾ and 1 ton models, and as low as 35 dB IDU and 53 dB ODU for the 1.5 and 2 ton models. According to the company, LG’s goal is to continue to improve sound levels with every new model launched.

2011 Honorees: HVAC High-Efficiency Residential Equipment

Gold Winner
ClimateMaster Inc.
Tranquility22 Digital

Silver Winner
Geothermal RQ Series

Bronze Winner
LG Electronics USA Inc.
LG Art Cool Inverter Mirror

Honorable Mention
Fire Tube Knight® Wall Mount Boiler

Publication date:07/11/2011