The International Exposition Co. announced the winners of the 2019 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) Innovation Awards competition. Each year, products in 10 categories are recognized for being some of the HVACR industry’s most innovative products, systems, and technologies.

Award winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluated each product entry based on its innovative design, creativity, application, value, and market impact.

The winners will be featured at the AHR Expo in Atlanta, and the Product of the Year Award will be announced at a ceremony there on Jan. 15, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

“Every year, we look forward to award submissions that set the bar for innovation and professional practices in HVACR,” said Clay Stevens, manager of the AHR Expo. “Year after year, we continue to receive entries that exceed our expectations. We congratulate these winners as leaders from across all facets of the industry and look forward to seeing these inventive solutions at the 2019 AHR Expo and in real-world practice.”



The OptiFlex™ virtual integrator monitors large volumes of data across various building systems, subsystems, and devices, regardless of the manufacturer. The data is then shared with the WebCTRL® BAS, where operators can monitor all of their systems through a single, web-based user interface. The WebCTRL system provides operators with online tools such as graphics, dashboards, reports, and trends — giving them real-time visibility into their building operations and helping them gain insights for improvements.

With support for up to 50,000 IP-based data points, the virtual integrator platform runs on a single computer, saving installation space over typical hardware gateways. It connects directly to the building LAN and supports BACnet IP and Modbus TCP/IP simultaneously and also includes a flexible and expandable licensing model, allowing customers to add additional protocol drivers and data points at any time based on their project needs.

“Large-scale integration customers — especially data centers — will enjoy the space-saving benefits of the OptiFlex virtual integrator,” said Mead Rusert, president, Automated Logic. “Technicians will also benefit from new commissioning tools. A new web-accessible, table-based user interface makes it easy to connect, configure, and commission third-party devices, as well as sort, categorize, and scale data points. Alarms and trends can also be enabled and configured for diagnostics and troubleshooting.”

With the IoT, the need for large-scale building integration solutions continues to increase, which is why building operators are looking for solid gateway solutions that are virtual and scalable for buildings involving large amounts of data, such as data centers, university campuses, and hospitals, said Rusert.

“With the OptiFlex virtual integrator, building operators can now collect, capture, and better leverage building data, which can then be turned into actionable insights to help operators improve overall building performance.”


The York® YZ magnetic bearing centrifugal chiller uses advanced controls, an innovative variable-speed drive, and advanced magnetic bearing technology for the widest operating map possible to take advantage of 99 percent of building operating hours at off-design conditions. The chiller utilizes the next-generation refrigerant R-1233zd(E), which is readily available; has an ultra-low GWP of 1; and offers efficiency, safety, low environmental impact, and nonflammability.

“With the York YZ, users can expect to receive up to 35 percent annual energy savings and minimized greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jill Woltkamp, marketing manager, global chiller products, Johnson Controls Inc. “It also delivers superior reliability and reduced maintenance cost, thanks to magnetic bearing technology, which has fewer moving parts, and the elimination of a lubrication system, which has pumps, valves, and filters that wear and require maintenance.”

The lubrication-free, non-contact design of the YZ provides system simplicity, and the bearing components are designed to last the life of the chiller and do not require scheduled maintenance after a set number of hours. The chiller can also operate when the entering condenser water temperature is below the leaving chilled water temperature. This capability — known as inverted operation — can eliminate the need for a water-side economizer, thereby simplifying the system and saving money on components, piping, controls, and maintenance.

“Other chillers are only optimized for the hottest days of the year, but the YZ controls its speed to match reduced load capacities and lift requirements,” said Woltkamp.


HVAC Load Reduction (HLR) 1000E-M technology cleans a building’s indoor air at a nanoscopic molecular level, enabling the building to use far less outside air ventilation while improving IAQ. Buildings can then invest in smaller, less expensive HVAC systems, and these savings can pay for the HLR modules, so building capital costs do not increase.

“Legacy commercial HVAC designs rely on massive volumes of outside airflow to maintain indoor air quality, resulting in oversized equipment and a 30 to 50 percent waste in HVAC energy consumption,” said Udi Meirav, CEO of enVerid Systems. “HLR technology is designed to eliminate this waste.”

Contractors and engineers who offer HLR technology will be able to provide their clients with a far more energy-efficient HVAC system at the same or lower overall cost, noted Meirav. In addition, they will give their clients a way to differentiate their building from others, because the enVerid Cloud provides 24/7 monitoring of IAQ.

Specifying enVerid HLR modules is simple because there are only a few configuration options and only two models — a rooftop and indoor model. Units can be put in parallel as clusters to support very large areas or deployed on each floor as necessary.

The enVerid HLR module is easy to deploy because it is small (fits through a door and into elevators), it simply connects to the return air and to the building exhaust, and it has very simple controls integration, said Meirav. There are no large expensive fans, belts, or motors, so maintenance is far less complex. Annual maintenance simply involves changing the enVerid molecular sorbent cartridges, which is similar to replacing normal particle filters.


The Genteq® Ensite® motor is a new electronically commutated motor (ECM) that is specially designed for furnace applications. It enables OEMs to comply with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fan Energy Rating (FER) regulatory requirements that will take effect in July 2019. The Ensite motor is IoT ready and available in standard and high-efficiency versions.

“It offers a lower cost with premium features such as advanced Blak Box™ technology and near field communication (NFC) capabilities [IOT and preventive maintenance],” he said. “NFC is a way for a phone or similar device to interact with something in close proximity. It provides a wireless connection between devices to allow two-way communications and can be used without access to Wi-Fi, 3G, or LTE services.”

The Ensite motor is compatible with the Electrand™ wand, a rechargeable, wireless NFC device that communicates with motors for programming and/or extracting motor data for verification and/or diagnostic purposes. The Electrand wand exchanges information with enabled smartphones and tablets for downloading programs and/or uploading data. It then applies programming, regardless of whether or not there is power to the motor/control. After restoring power to the motor/control, the new setting takes effect immediately with an audible and visual confirmation. The Electrand wand also features new EnR G Riter™ software for the ECM Toolbox motor writing program.

“With the new regulations, many lower-cost options or entry-level product tiers are displaced, which impacts profitability and bottom line,” said Dey. “With the Ensite motor, this tier is renewed and OEMs gain valuable, premium features.”


The IAQ PRO SmartAir™ is a smart tool that helps HVAC professionals identify IAQ issues, determine potential causes, and recommend effective solutions.

This professional-grade instrument utilizes high-quality individual sensors that can accurately measure particulate matter (PM) 2.5 to 10, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), temperature, humidity, and pressure. It even has a dedicated nondispersive infrared (NDIR) sensor to accurately measure CO2, compared to other meters that estimate CO2 based on anthropogenic VOC levels.

“The IAQ PRO SmartAir is the first instrument that levels the playing field in IAQ diagnosis; it is the only instrument that walks HVAC professionals through all of the necessary steps involved in accurately identifying and resolving IAQ issues,” said Scott Madden, vice president of smart tools development, CPS Products Inc. “This smart tool will improve the IAQ diagnostic credibility of the industry as a whole. Homeowners will benefit from safer and cleaner air in their homes for their families, and HVAC professionals will benefit from increased revenue and professional services they can provide to their customers.”

The IAQ PRO SmartAir includes IAQ training components that guide the HVAC professional through the diagnostic process and improve the understanding of the results to homeowners. There is also a proposal module that generates a PDF document of recommended solutions to implement based on the IAQ diagnosis. It connects to the internet via Wi-Fi for remote monitoring and evaluation. It also brings online Bluetooth signals from other onsite CPS wireless products such as the TempSmart™ wireless temperature and humidity psychrometer data loggers.


AnvilPress™ Copper press fittings are designed with patented Visual Indicator technology and a Burr-Stop membrane, which solve both of the top industry issues that cause leaks in press system applications. The AnvilPress Copper system provides installers with a positive visual indication that the fitting has been installed correctly, while the Burr-Stop membrane eliminates the opportunity for the O-ring to be damaged and provides 200 percent more sealing surface.

“Prior to AnvilPress Copper fittings entering the market, all other manufacturers’ press fittings could only give a negative indicator of improper installation,” said Jeff Shaffer, Gruvlok product manager, Anvil Intl. “The installer would only know that the fitting was not pressed correctly when it began to leak. The AnvilPress Copper system provides the installers with a positive visual indication that the fitting has been installed correctly before allowing water to leak from the piping system.”


The Copeland Scroll™ fractional-horsepower, low-temperature compressor utilizes liquid-injection technology and cooling discharge temperatures to help reduce compressor stress and meet federal regulatory requirements.

The ¾- to 1½-hp offerings extend the existing Copeland Scroll ZF*KA and ZB*KA compressor lines by allowing manufacturers to combine compliance efforts into a single design cycle for smaller low- and medium-temperature applications and deliver high efficiencies with reliable performance.

The ZF*KA models are intended for low-temperature refrigeration duty types and are suited for applications such as walk-in freezers and reach-ins.

“The Copeland Scroll fractional-horsepower, low-temperature compressor line simultaneously helps address the need for compatibility with new refrigerants; tougher energy standards; and highly reliable, smaller-capacity systems,” said Allen Wicher, director of marketing, foodservice, Emerson. “In addition to being compliant with the low-temperature operational requirements established by the DOE and the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], ZF*KA fractional horsepower compressors are rated for use with new refrigerant alternatives R-448A/449A and existing lower-GWP HFCs like R-407A.”

Other benefits of the new compressor line include:

  • Smooth scroll movement, which leads to low sound and vibration;
  • Eased start and stop of a scroll, which equates to a longer compressor life;
  • Axial and radial scroll compliance, which provides improved liquid handling capability;
  • Hermetic design, which reduces leak potential; and
  • It’s proven to exceed annual walk-in energy factor (AWEF) efficiency targets for walk-in condensing units.

“Compared to its hermetic reciprocating counterparts, Copeland Scroll is simpler for the OEM to incorporate into new designs without additional engineering, development, and additional component costs,” said Wicher.


Taco Tags featuring eLink provide customers with important product information through their mobile devices via NFC technology.

Just one tap on the Taco Tag connects customers to eLink, Taco’s cloud-based service, which provides product-specific information, including product specifications, model numbers, replacement parts, instruction sheets, and more.

The small, flat, rectangular tags are attached to all Taco commercial pumps, heat exchangers, commercial air and dirt separators, and expansion/storage tanks. Taco Tags provide a wealth of product support in a compact digital format and are intended to help anyone who comes in direct contact with these products, including installing contractors, service technicians, and building owners and managers.

“Taco Tags offer a high level of product support and information using NFC technology, which is relatively new to the HVAC market,” said Nate Fischer, product manager, Taco Comfort Solutions. “With this technology, we create personalized webpages for each device. When using the Taco Tags, they pull up the information on a mobile phone for each specific product and allow the user to update the data as it changes throughout its life cycle. The Taco Tags are able to uniquely identify each product, even if they have identical model numbers.”

Taco Tags provide product support documentation, such as instruction sheets, submittal data sheets, sales or technical support companies, and phone numbers. The user can also access the full complement of replacement parts, design criteria, performance curves, or instructional videos. Engineers can access CAD or Revit files associated with the product in order to complete schematics or other documentation.


The Wireless Hydronic Balancing Kit’s (Series 490W) mobile technology allows for wireless measurement of differential pressure, single pressure, and airflow. By using wireless transducers and a versatile handheld, a single operator can monitor and balance a hydronic system in less time than traditional hydronic balancers. The ergonomic design allows for ease of maneuverability and quick installation. The handheld’s rugged weatherproof housing is able to withstand a 1.5-meter drop test, while data can be logged and shared directly from the handheld via Wi-Fi, GSM, or CDMA networks.

The wireless pressure transducers eliminate the use of hoses, which allows for multiple valves to be monitored at one time rather than removing the unit each time or using multiple hydronic manometers. The pre-loaded Dwyer Hydronic Application has valve flow coefficient (Cv) values built in, but it also allows for manual Cv value entry. Calculations are completed within the app, eliminating human error and reducing time on the job.

“The Wireless Hydronic Balancing Kit reduces the amount of time required for a technician to measure and balance a hydronic system because no time will be wasted by connecting and draining hoses,” said Tom Lorenz, senior product manager of test equipment, Dwyer Instruments Inc. “In addition, valve charts are built into the app, so a technician no longer needs to carry and read valve charts. The capability of measuring three valves simultaneously allows a technician to observe the impact of adjusting one valve onto two other valves.”

The Series 490W can be used with hydronic systems in commercial and residential applications, including refrigerant pressure testing, hydronic valve balancing, pumps, and chillers.


The Universal ERV, or U-ERV, offers the high efficiency of a plate-type energy recovery ventilator in an innovative modular platform. Weighing only 90 pounds per 600 cfm module, the U-ERV is easily installed, as modules can be hand-carried and assembled on-site, where they operate as a single unit, with single duct, power, and control connections.

“The U-ERV is a very unique offering,” said Will Becchina, director of business development, Energy Wall LLC. “Its compact modular design, coupled with the unit’s unmatched performance, makes it a standout in innovation. It is particularly useful for retrofit applications, where roof access is a challenge. No crane is required, and the U-ERV’s 12-inch height makes it a great fit for ceiling-mounted applications paired with VRF systems.”

Becchina added that the U-ERV provides more options for unit orientation and airflow direction, giving users more opportunities to realize the benefits of enhanced IAQ and associated energy recovery savings.


Publication date: 12/24/2018

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