At the 2015 AHR Expo, held this January in Chicago, dozens of manufacturers competed in 10 product categories for top honors in the 2015 AHR Expo Innovation Awards. The awards aim to recognize new products designed to help HVAC contractors provide healthier, more comfortable, more efficient, and safer environments for their customers. The annual competition is sponsored by ASHRAE; the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI); and the International Exposition Co. (IEC), which produces and organizes the AHR Expo.

This year’s winners in the Indoor Air Quality category push the envelope on efficiency, performance, and technology. From energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) to filters and compressor technology, these manufacturers are pulling out the stops to meet consumer demand for better IAQ at home, work, school, and everywhere in between.

Read more about this year’s innovative IAQ products below.

Winner: Koch Filter Corp.
Product: DuraMAX 4vS-16 Minipleat Filter

The DuraMAX 4vS-16 minipleat filter provides low pressure drop and highly efficient performance through the use of Koch’s unique minipleat design. The filter contains 200 square feet of synthetic filter media in a standard 24-by-24-by-12-inch frame to help ensure a low pressure drop, which in turn helps to reduce energy costs. The DuraMAX 4vS-16 is constructed with durable, dual-layer synthetic air filter media designed specifically for high-efficiency air-filtration applications. The rugged composition of the synthetic media makes the DuraMAX 4vS-16 an ideal choice for high-velocity or high-moisture systems, such as gas turbine air intakes. The high-capacity minipleat design of the DuraMAX 4vS-16 ensures high dust-holding capacity and extended filter life cycles. Fewer filter changes means reduced disposal costs and lower overall cost of ownership. The DuraMAX 4vS-16 is designed to meet the wide range of requirements found in today’s position of complex air-filtration systems. The 4vS-16 is constructed with a durable all-plastic frame that can be completely incinerated. Standard DuraMAX 4vS filters are UL Class 2. The DuraMAX 4vS can be reverse-installed in applications with space limitations.

“The neatest part about it is it’s a synthetic medium, so it’s very durable, and it’s easy to install; you don’t have to worry about breaking it or sticking fingers through the media,” said Matt Ball, product engineer, Koch Filter Corp. “It has a lot of media in it and holds a lot of dirt, but it has low resistance and a long lifespan. And it’s lightweight, so it’s easy to get to the rooftop and install.”

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Honorable Mention: Carrier Corp.
Product: WeatherExpert Energy Recovery Rooftop Unit

The EnergyX factory-integrated ERV option was recently added to the WeatherExpert 48/50N Series of large 75- to 150-ton rooftop units. Carrier’s EnergyX AHRI 1060-certified rotary energy wheel holds and transfers energy from the exhaust airstream to improve energy savings and increase ventilation, according to the company.

Using building exhaust air as a heat source, it has been designed to precondition the outside air prior to entering the rooftop unit. The system provides latent and sensible energy exchange between the outside ventilation air and the building exhaust air. Compliant to ASHRAE Standard 90.1, this preconditioning of air allows for higher operating efficiencies, increased comfort control, and potential downsizing of the base rooftop unit while also meeting ASHRAE Standard 62.1 ventilation requirements, the company said.

“The focus on better air quality is driving larger air volumes of fresh air into a building. When you start to get into higher volumes, operating costs go higher. We’re seeing that interest and desire to move forward, and this is one solution we believe is a very good fit for that,” said Greg Alcorn, vice president, commercial sales and marketing, Carrier. “We’re thrilled we were given the opportunity to expose IAQ as an industry issue, and we’re happy Carrier has options to help customers solve their IAQ challenges.”

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Honorable Mention: Desert Aire Corp.
Product: Aura Qpump Inverter + DOAS Heat Pump

The Aura Qpump Inverter +™ DOAS Heat Pump was released to the market in June 2014 and is designed to provide significant energy efficiency through improved energy recovery. It can be incorporated into almost any hydronic loop, including ground loops, surface loops, lagoon loops, and boiler/cooling tower loops. Unlike traditional heat pumps that use a two-element reverse cycle system, Desert Aire’s QPump Inverter + uses several unique components: electronic expansion valves to hold exact superheat-optimizing energy input, liquid-suction heat exchanger to increase the cooling capacity in the cooling/dehumidification mode, patent pending non-reverse-cycle valve arrangement that allows for low heat pump operation, and a variable-speed-driven compressor that provides exceptional capacity versus power function, which maximizes the moisture removal efficiency (MRE) or coefficient of performance (COP), the company said.

“One of the big features that we’re using in this product is the Danfoss inverter compressor, which gives us the ability to perform better from an energy standpoint during part-load days,” said Paul Stewart, director of sales, marketing, and service, Desert Aire Corp. “We’re not the biggest manufacturer, and we’re not the highest-volume manufacturer, so we want to be known as the most energy-efficient manufacturer. We think that’s a niche, and we think there are customers who strive for energy efficiency.”

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Honorable Mention: Venmar Ventilation Inc.
Product: S10 ERVplus Energy Recovery Ventilator

Contemporary construction standards and the requirements of modern urban living have raised the bar for cost and performance. S10 ERVplus meets these demands with up to 114 cfm airflow rate and unmatched energy efficiency in a compact design that installs easily in the ceiling of any living unit. At only 9-inches thick, this is a cost-effective solution, according to the company.

The new S10 ERVplus air exchanger is Home Ventilating Institute (HVI)- and Energy Star-certified in Canada. It provides in-suite ventilation in a highly effective manner year-round.

“It’s a new platform that focuses on the high-rise condo market. It’s a really thin unit with a 9-inch thickness,” said Robert Lagueux, product manager, IAQ — air exchanger, Venmar Ventilation Inc.

“When installing these units directly on the concrete slab with the help of its innovative vibration-dampening brackets, the ceiling is still high enough to be considered a living area. This removes the need for a dedicated mechanical room, which is a loss of saleable surface for the building developer. Moreover, Venmar’s proprietary blower design ensures the unit is able to sustain high pressure differentials while featuring a low power consumption and quiet operation. This is a big deal when considering multi-level condominiums and apartment applications.”

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Publication date: 3/2/2015

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