LAS VEGAS — The winners of International Exposition Co.’s 2017 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) Innovation Awards have been announced, and one of the winning products listed below will be named 2017 AHR Expo Product of the Year at the awards ceremony Tuesday, Jan. 31 at the AHR Expo.

The annual awards competition honors the most inventive and original products, systems, and technologies showcased at each year’s AHR Expo in 10 categories. Winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE members, which evaluated all award entries based on innovative design, creativity, application, value, and market impact.

“This year’s AHR Expo Innovation Award winners have shown, once again, that the parameters for HVACR advancement are truly ever expanding,” said Clay Stevens, president, International Exposition Co. “We congratulate those who have been recognized as 2017’s pioneers from across all areas of the industry by proving there is always more to be achieved, and farther to be propelled, when it comes to HVACR innovation. This is the spirit that makes each year’s competition so fresh and exciting and is what we are proud to see, year after year, as a cornerstone of inspiration for the HVACR industry’s ongoing creativity and advancement.”

Building Automation: Danfoss

Danfoss Enterprise Services is a cloud-based service delivery platform that collects all types of data in a supermarket or other food-retail location through connected devices to provide powerful insight into the store’s performance. With this service, store owners and managers get specific, real-time, actionable information, which enables them to make fast decisions to save time and money.

“Danfoss Enterprise Services goes beyond common monitoring and reporting services to provide a comprehensive and unique offering that touches almost every aspect of HVACR operations, energy management and usage, benchmarking, and safety,” said Richard Ruth, product manager – services. “Modules may be subscribed à la carte or in structured bundles to meet specific end-user needs. Additionally, each module may be customized to ideally suit the organization’s needs and challenges. By investing in the latest cloud-computing and analysis tools, Danfoss Enterprise Services improves user connectivity and envelops the customer’s operation to ensure optimal performance.”

This service can be used to base line and benchmark equipment performance, energy data, and temperature quality reports so stores always have documentation that the goods in equipped cases and cold rooms are stored under ideal temperature conditions, added Ruth. “Danfoss Enterprise Services is a one-stop shop with verifiable and actionable data for everyone in the HVACR industry. With the ongoing need to improve operations by doing more with less, the service provides a mechanism for outsourcing recordkeeping, the assurance of food safety, and best-in-class reporting at an unprecedented value.”

Cooling: Daikin Applied

The Pathfinder air-cooled chiller features full configurability, which allows users to mix and match components and options to get all the attributes they want in their chiller equipment and nothing they don’t. Instead of choosing model A, B, or C, customers are able to decide precisely what they want to include and design equipment that best fits their needs. The Pathfinder is also highly efficient as its unique variable volume ratio (VVR) compression technology adjusts the chiller’s refrigerant compression ratio in real time to reach optimal efficiency levels for any condition.

“With Pathfinder, contractors will see the most value in its retrofit benefits. The ability to increase tonnage in the same footprint and achieve faster installation times through full configurability is very important for professionals working on these applications,” said Rob Landes, product manager of positive displacement chiller products. “With Pathfinder’s superior flexibility for size and efficiency targets, engineers will have more tools at their disposal to maximize value for their customers.”

The Pathfinder chiller’s full configurability provides the flexibility needed to deliver significant benefits in new construction and retrofit applications, said Landes. “No matter a building’s use, maximizing part-load efficiency is often very important, since even buildings that traditionally have constant high loads can benefit from high-IPLV machines as ambient temperatures drop. In this case, Pathfinder’s one-of-a-kind VVR technology combined with other variable technologies provides exceptional air-cooled screw chiller part-load efficiency.”

Green Building: Carrier Corp.

The Dual Stage Relief Economizer (DSRE) is designed to provide all the functions of the typical air economizer while adding the means to relieve building air pressure when required through the rooftop unit. All of this is achieved without adding another power exhaust system or special central exhaust fan system and their related electric power sources. The DSRE is designed for commercial new construction rooftop applications with vertical airflow ductwork.

The DSRE represents a new way to relieve building pressure, said Chris Opie, director of marketing, Carrier Commercial Systems N.A. “The first stage of natural relief is through a new dedicated air chamber, which provides relief when the building pressure warrants, regardless of the economizer damper positions or the indoor fan status. A separate relief duct must be installed in the return opening in the curb, but the natural air relief is achieved without any additional exhaust system. The second stage, which is the conventional natural relief of the past, provides additional pressurization relief when the outside air damper is mostly open and space pressure warrants.”

The DSRE is an economizer and building pressure relief package that is easy to install and operate. When compared to adding separate pressure relief systems, such as power exhaust, DSRE can reduce both installation costs and building energy consumption, said Opie. “In addition to the relief capability, DSRE allows customers to minimize electrical feeds and breakers for installation. This saves on the initial first cost by allowing a smaller electrical feed and breaker since a power exhaust motor is no longer required.

Heating: Noritz America Corp.

The CB Combi boiler delivers hot water to both residential plumbing and hydronic heating applications and manages to switch between those uses without a perceivable difference in performance on either side. Offering an efficiency rating of 95 percent AFUE, the CB Combi can be used for either new construction or retrofit applications and can often save space as only one system is required instead of two (separate boiler and tank water heater).

“Delivering up to 9.2 gallons per minute [gpm] of domestic hot water, the CB Combi provides nearly twice as much flow as other models,” said Randy Oshiro, assistant engineering manager. “A flow control valve allows the unit to deliver the maximum possible domestic hot water flow rate at a stable temperature regardless of incoming water temperature. The Combi also includes terminals for driving an external or booster pump (up to 2 amps) without the need for a relay as well as an outdoor temperature sensor that is included standard with the unit.”

The CB Combi weighs only 90 pounds, and its compact size allows it to take up as much as 80 percent less space than a traditional floor-standing boiler and water heater. “The Combi comes with an integrated primary pump, which takes the guesswork out of sizing or wiring,” said Oshiro. “The unit also has fully customizable heating modes along with preprogrammed modes based upon the heating system type used in the home. This can save the contractor significant time in optimizing and setting up the heating system, which allows it to work as efficiently as possible.”

IAQ: Condair

The Condair GS Series is a gas-fired isothermal humidifier that produces hygienic and atmospheric steam to fulfill a large range of humidification applications. Direct building management integration allows the GS to provide necessary steam quantities either inside duct systems or directly in the space to bring indoor humidity conditions back up to required set points. This gas-fired technology is powered with either natural gas or propane, allowing for flexible and economical operation, and the new condensing technology of the CS model allows for high-efficiency operation.

“Humidification is a critical element to ensuring the ideal air quality for any indoor environment,” said Marlee Spiegelberg, application/product manager of gas humidification, water, and software. “Due to its comprehensive capacity range (50-600 pounds per hour systems), the GS Series can satisfy both commercial and residential requirements for large-scale, economic humidification. Common applications include schools, offices, libraries, museums, art galleries, and manufacturing.”

Offering an efficiency exceeding 93 percent, the GS CS is a truly condensing, high-efficiency, gas-fired humidifier that allows for easy installation and maintenance. Low exhaust temperatures, due to the condensing technology, allow for venting flexibility with both BH and chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) venting as options. Software parameters allow for customizable blowdown occurrences, which drain the unit and reduce mineral concentration in tank water thus minimizing scale buildup. However, when maintenance is required, the tank is easy to open, and the large cleanout port allows for easy scale removal, said Spiegelberg. All system heat exchangers are heat treated 316 SS and tanks contain sacrificial anodes that aid in preventing corrosion.

Plumbing: Taco Comfort Solutions

SmartPlug upgrades a hot water recirculation system by making it smart. With many domestic hot water recirculation systems, continuously running circulators or improperly programmed timers can waste energy by operating the circulator and hot water heater at times when hot water isn’t needed. SmartPlug technology makes any corded circulator up to 94 percent more energy efficient by learning hot water usage patterns and delivering hot water only when needed. This increases hot water comfort, reduces energy use, and helps extend the life of the hot water heater.

“We took the microchip logic from SmartPlus — our latest hot water recirc system — and placed it into SmartPlug so that other, not-so-smart recirc systems can improve their IQ,” said Doug Bird, product manager, water circulation. “Similar to Nest technology, SmartPlug learns and adapts to homeowners’ use. It continuously records usage patterns, and if use of hot water in the home changes, the device changes. In plug-and-play fashion, the control learns when hot water is typically used and optimizes the availability of warm water within those times.”

SmartPlug permits a fast, easy upgrade of any manufacturer’s existing hot water recirculation pump with a power cord to smart operation. The SmartPlug is simply plugged into a 110-V power outlet, and then the circulator power cord is plugged into the SmartPlug. Using a sensor that mounts to the hot water supply pipe, the SmartPlug will record the daily hot water usage patterns in a home or business. It then adjusts the circulator run time automatically. Hot water will always be available, when needed, and no programming is required.

Refrigeration: Danfoss

The CTM Ejector is an electrically controlled multi-ejector designed specifically for the warm climate operation of transcritical CO2 systems in commercial refrigeration applications. As both public and policy concerns for the environment and climate change continue to grow, end users of refrigeration systems are looking for alternatives to high-GWP refrigerants. Transcritical CO2 systems provide a safe and cost-effective alternative, and, therefore, are a common solution. However, the limitation of current transcritical CO2 systems to efficiently operate in warm climates has stalled the deployment of the systems in many locations.

“The CTM Multi Ejector technology removes this limitation,” said James Knudsen, food retail segment leader – North America. “By increasing the energy efficiency of these systems by as much as 20 percent in the warmest ambient conditions, CTM Multi Ejectors pave the way for broad acceptance of transcritical CO2 technology. CO2 technology has been evolving for the past 15 years from secondary systems to cascade DX systems on to booster and parallel transcritical systems. The CTM Multi Ejector is the next step in this evolution and completely eliminates the climate constraints of previous systems while making them both more energy efficient and cost-effective.”

The CTM Multi Ejector allows engineers to design simple, reliable, and cost-effective transcritical CO2 systems for any application and climate, noted Knudsen. “Contractors will appreciate its straightforward and simple design that fits naturally into current parallel compressor transcritical CO2 systems. Engineers will appreciate the simple design concept and the elimination of costly and complex cascade systems for warm climates.”

Software: Nidec Motor Corp.

The Rescue Select Programming App was developed to streamline the programming of the Rescue Select Truck Stock motor – an electronically commutated (EC), constant-torque, aftermarket motor developed for use in residential and light commercial blower motor replacement applications.

“Powered by a robust, cloud-based web service, the Rescue Select Programming App can be accessed via any smartphone or compatible Wi-Fi-enabled device,” said Ryan Wade, vice president and general manager, aftermarket. “The Rescue Select Truck Stock motor and Programming App work in tandem to help service contractors identify an original blower motor’s particular horsepower ratings and operating parameters [for example, torque load, fan speed, and rotation direction] and program an in-stock replacement motor to mimic that original performance profile.”

The Rescue Select Programming App allows a service contractor to stock a smaller range of aftermarket motors and use them to replace nearly any original blower motor or other electrically powered device or system. Additionally, programming and installation are streamlined directly at the point of replacement versus off-site or in the shop. The app is driven by a continuously updated database populated with thousands of motor profiles. In addition, the App provides service contractors with options to customize or develop new performance profiles that match special or unique application requirements. The app is available for both Android and Apple products.

Tools and Instruments: Pexology Inc.

The new PEXGUN is an automatic, lightweight, and compact hand-held tool that attaches PEX pipe to rebar or wire mesh in less than 1 second. Ideal for use in radiant heating and cooling and snow and ice melt applications, the PEXGUN facilitates attaching PEX connections that are three times faster than plastic staples and five times faster than zip ties.

“With typical radiant system installations requiring thousands of ties, PEXGUN can notably reduce overall installation time while minimizing repetitive strain on the installer,” said David Cooke, vice president of sales and marketing. “An optional extension arm provides further installer relief, enabling affixations without bending or kneeling.”

Ventilation: Titus

The Helios digital variable air volume (VAV) diffuser provides ventilation for indoor spaces to elevate occupant comfort and improve IAQ. The diffuser can be used with thermostats and is completely wireless, which enables maximum comfort, greater efficiency, and simplified installation. Multiple diffusers in a common zone can be individually tailored with heating and cooling set points to satisfy occupants in various areas of the same zone.

Along with being completely wireless, Helios is different because it is a VAV diffuser that is powered by both ambient light and direct sunlight, said Mark Costello, product manager. “It also features a wireless solar cell that is easily installed, which provides notable energy savings. Helios helps to make contractors’ jobs easier because it is completely wireless, which simplifies installation.”

In typical VAV diffusers, the equipment must be connected to an outside power source, such as a building’s power supply, which leads to decreased energy efficiency. Additionally, these connections can create hassle and delay for contractors because they require cables and cords that complicate and hinder system installations, noted Costello. “Helios eliminates both of those issues because it’s wireless and is equipped with a solar cell that can be charged by ambient light and direct sunlight. It’s ideal for virtually any office, hospitality, or educational application.”

Publication date: 1/16/2017

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