Lennox Intl. Inc.’s ComfortSense CS8500® Commercial Programmable Thermostat earned the gold award in the 2017 Dealer Design Awards’ commercial controls category.

Research began in 2014 on the product, and after more than a year’s worth of development, the product launched in late 2016.

Lennox Commercial engaged with its customers, contractors, and dealers through surveys and focus groups in order to understand and meet their specific product needs.

Through these methods; specific feedback gathered at tradeshows and other Lennox-hosted events; and intelligence gained through daily interaction with customers through sales, service, and support teams, Lennox’s product and engineering teams were able to focus on a design that offers easy and efficient installation and solves some of the key challenges faced by contractors and engineers.

“We talked with contractors and listened to the challenges they go through, like applying a product in specific applications, and realized they wanted a single platform, not five or six options. They wanted a single solution,” said Farhad Abrishamkar, director of product management, controls, Lennox Commercial. “So, we knew we had to make it easy to install and went from there. With the launch of this product, it is easier to install and get the maximum amount out of the control system.”

This product was designed with contractors in mind. The CS8500 has a simple and efficient installation process. Its unique four-wire installation with integrated relative humidity and CO2 sensors reduces the number of devices to install and wire to the rooftop unit (RTU). These features reduce installation time; minimize wiring mistakes; and ensure a reliable, efficient installation every time.

“We are using the ComfortSense CS8500 right now on a large school project that’s in the construction phase,” said Mike Stone, controls manager, Rabroker Mechanical, Waco, Texas. “We’ve installed nearly 60 of these units and, as of this date, we have had no failures.

“This version communicates directly with the Lennox Prodigy control board and will communicate its data back to a front-end control system, which allows more to be communicated without expansion devices by a controls contractor,” added Stone. “Also, the onboard RH and optional CO2 functions make for a clean install.”

The thermostat has maintenance support for contractors. The RTU fault-detection and diagnostic capabilities streamline the troubleshooting process for technicians and help them avoid extra trips to the roof. A technician does not have to guess if a problem originates in the equipment or the installation.

Compatibility with BACnet networks through Prodigy 2.0 provides an easy, powerful integrated solution. This allows a simple implementation of adjustable setpoints when connected to a BACnet-based building automation system. With internal humidity and CO2 sensors, the CS8500 reduces the number of devices to integrate with BACnet.

“[What sets this product apart from others] is the simplicity of it,” said Abrishamkar. “With so many features, it is really powerful, intuitive, and simple. We haven’t given up on features. We provide lots of power by combining intelligence and smart technology with ease of installation.”

The intuitive touchscreen interface makes this an attractive and simple platform, which makes it easier to sell to customers.

“The styling differentiates you from the competition,” said David Rampey, vice president, Air Assurance Commercial, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. “It looks like an iPad on the wall. It definitely is different from the rest of the market from the standpoint of its features, benefits, looks, and the ease of operation. We sell them 25-50 percent of the time on the new installations.”

Lennox does foresee some advancements for the ComfortSense CS8500 in the future.

“Lennox plans to expand the platform to address additional needs of commercial business and solve problems for contractors who specialize in the business,” said Steve Vendt, senior manager, hardware engineering, Lennox Intl. Inc. “For example, remote access capability, which allows a more user-friendly experience, is planned for future releases.”

“We’re definitely looking at connectivity items, Wi-Fi, and even more installation features for contractors to make the CS8500 contractors’ go-to solution for commercial jobs,” said Abrishamkar. “We still have other types of thermostats, but our goal is to make ComfortSense the go-to for any Lennox contractor working on commercial jobs. It gives them so much and makes their lives easier. With the proper training and right amount of marketing, they can get the word out, and people will join the bandwagon.”


Winning silver for the commercial controls category is the NEUTON Multi-Zone from Semco LLC.

NEUTON is a smart, plug-and-play-controlled chilled beam pump module (CCBPM) designed to reduce chilled beam system installation and operational costs. NEUTON is a factory-built and pre-tested package complete with its own powered integrated direct digital controller, chilled and hot water connections, valves, variable-speed electronically commutated motor (ECM) pumps, smart sensors, and other unique features. The device provides active condensation control, which effectively addresses one of the key design concerns regarding active chilled beams.

NEUTON is available in two configurations: NEUTON2 has a single actuator for summer/winter switchover, and NEUTON4 uses dual actuators allowing for simultaneous heating and cooling. Two configurations are available in two different pump capacities. NEUTON CCBPM-8-12 delivers 8 gallons per minute (gpm) of water flow and an external head pressure of 12 feet produced by the pump while NEUTON CCBPM-11-12 has the capacity of 11 gpm at 12 feet of head. Both use the same pump, but the Cv of the valves are different, allowing a user to select the best NEUTON for the application.

The standard application and usage of the NEUTON is condensation control for chilled beam systems. It blends the water temperatures to make sure you manage the space temperature without condensation on the coils.


Taking bronze is the Site Supervisor from Emerson.

The Site Supervisor is a flexible facility control platform that simplifies refrigeration and lighting to heating and cooling systems while giving retailers, including convenience stores, pharmacies, mixed retail locales, and commercial buildings, better control over their key store systems.

It also collects data on important performance indicators, including refrigerated case temperatures, energy usage, and HVAC discharge and space temperatures, to assist store managers in quickly responding to issues that may impact the customer experience and food safety.

It extends food life and quality while saving energy with optimum temperature control and enhances the shopping environment by balancing all indoor and outdoor lighting types in concert with natural light.

The Site Supervisor also delivers maximum HVAC performance, uptime, savings, and system flexibility. Alarms quickly identify out-of-range operating conditions and provide contractors with fast alarm access and resolution.

Publication date: 7/24/2016

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