Eighteen months of research and design went into Enertech Global LLC’s Element Series ZS/ZT Compact Horizontal Packaged Geothermal Heat Pump. It features a small footprint and enhanced serviceability, making it an ideal solution for both retrofit applications and new construction — and the judges first choice in the 2016 Dealer Design Awards’ HVAC Residential Equipment category.

“The compact size is highly needed for the geothermal sector,” said one of the contractor judges. “This unit meets those criteria and allows installations in areas not previously possible.”

ZS/ZT models are field-configurable for side or end discharge and feature an all-aluminum microchannel air coil and a foam-enclosed brazed-plate heat exchanger that allows for reduced refrigerant charge and increased efficiency. Its compact size makes it easy to install in conventional 24-inch on-center truss-framed buildings, and the double-mount compressor system featuring elastomeric compressor vibration absorption pads and rubber grommets provide exceptional sound and vibration insulation. The closed-cell foam insulation protects against mold and improves sound absorption while the enhanced shock-loop refrigerant piping design reduces vibration. Additionally, the high-density product is UL GreenGuard-certified.

“We developed this product to meet contractor demand,” said Gary Trudell, product manager, Enertech Global. “The product we had previously, while OK, didn’t really meet the modern standards contractors requested of us as far as size and performance. We used our Customer Advisory Committee consisting of geothermal veterans from various distribution companies and contractors to solicit feedback during the concept and design process.

“It’s the only product I’m aware of that has an all-aluminum microchannel heat exchanger, which provides exceptional reliability and performance and requires small amounts of Freon, which makes it environmentally friendly,” he continued. “It has a multi-position output or discharge unit. Contractors can modify it in the field if they made a mistake when ordering. The performance is very good, and we have updated and upgraded digital controls on the units. It also meets specifications for schools and other types of public meeting areas.”

Randy Guignard, president and CEO of Knoxville, Tennessee-based Four Seasons Inc., has incorporated the ZS/ZT geothermal heat pump into a stainless steel case with a Semco outdoor air energy-recovery wheel to create combination water-source heat pump/enthalpy wheel for a classroom-style unit ventilator in school retrofits.

“The heat pump has a really small footprint, and it uses two-stage compressors, so we get optimum energy efficiency out of it,” Guignard said. “It also uses a brazed-plate heat exchanger, which is very energy efficient. Enertech Global has been excellent to work with. They are modifying the unit for us by mounting the blower motor and control panel differently than their standard units. I had discussed the project with a few other manufacturers, but they didn’t want to make the little changes I needed to make, while Enertech Global embraced them right away. It’s a great product, and they’re absolutely excellent for schools.”

Trudell said the company plans to further innovate the product in the future. The ZS/ZT Compact Vertical Packaged line is expanding to include ½-, 1-, 5-, and 6-ton models later this year. Hot-gas reheat will also be a feature in the future, he noted.


The Smart Bypass Damper (SBD) from EWC Controls Inc. won silver in this category. The product, which is designed for residential zoning applications, automatically measures and captures the true differential pressure across the HVAC system in ‘non-zoned’ mode and recreates that same value by automatically balancing the bypass duct during zoned operations. The SBD achieves compliance with ACCA’s Manual Zr with the touch of a button and saves valuable time and money by eliminating the difficult task of setting up a mechanical bypass control and field-balancing the bypass duct with a manual hand damper.

“The SBD was created from innovative thinking on the part of EWC Controls in order to help simplify the contractor’s job when it comes to controlling bypass airflow,” said Mike Reilly, president of EWC Controls. “Our product development team took feedback from our dealer base in the field and set out to simplify a process that caused some confusion until now. The SBD eliminates any guesswork and any estimating of bypass design. With the simple push of a button, the product automatically learns the operating static pressure of any zone system. This feature sets it apart.”

Reilly said EWC Controls plans to add a mobile app for dealers that use the product in the field. The company also plans to add new features in the near future to help further simplify the dealer’s job.


Taking the Bronze Award is the Safe-T-Flush™ from Drain Shield Inc. The Safe-T-Flush prevents leaks and clogs by ensuring a natural flow of condensation out of the drain line. The system helps eliminate repetitive service calls, improve air quality within the unit, and prevent extensive and costly property damage.

When bacteria and algae start to grow, the product’s patented floating ball system seals the path to the air handler, the safety valve signals the Safe-T-Flush trigger system, and the CO2 cartridge deploys a powerful drain purge, unblocking the obstruction in the line. The system resets itself and the water has a clean line to flow through.

Additionally, the product is easy to install, granting the user peace of mind that water condensation will flow normally and constantly out of the drain line.

The product was developed based on trial and error, according to Austin Hubbard, CEO of Drain Shield, as multiple prototypes were field-tested and refined to the current product offering.

“The Safe-T-Flush device uses the air conditioner’s control voltage to power it, and it only has two moving parts,” said Hubbard. “Additionally, it uses compressed CO2 to positively flush the drain. The Safe-T-Flush remedies one of the No. 1 service calls in the HVAC industry.”

Enertech Global LLC
Element Series ZS/ZT Compact Horizontal Packaged Geothermal Heat Pump

EWC Controls Inc.
Smart Bypass Damper

Drain Shield

Publication date: 7/18/2016

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