LAS VEGAS — ASHRAE Journal’s annual survey of nearly 700 AHR Expo attendees found a majority of responders expect business to pick up in 2017.

According to the survey, 41 percent predict an increase of 5-10 percent, 27 percent expect more than 10 percent growth, and 15 percent expect less than 5 percent.

When asked to choose between three areas for prospective new business — new construction, retrofit/renovation, or maintenance/replacement — maintenance/replacement scored the highest percentage, 36.5 percent, as it did last year, 40 percent.

As far as prospects among market segments, the majority of respondents believed the light commercial segment presented the strongest prospect for growth  at 79 percent; followed by heavy commercial, 66.1 percent; and residential, 65.8 percent.

When asked what matters most to customers, reliability took top honors at 74.2 percent; along with first costs, 70.4 percent; comfort, 61.6 percent; and energy efficiency, 60.5 percent.

Cooling products sparked the most initial interest during the AHR Expo itself  at 80 percent, followed by heating products  at 62.3 percent.