ATLANTA — What a difference a year can make. At the 2018 AHR Expo, the geothermal industry was struggling without the tax credits that were being extended to the other renewable technologies — mainly solar and wind.
In February of 2018, the U.S. geothermal heat pump (GHP) industry scored a victory for its workforce and employers as federal legislation was passed to extend federal tax credits for residential and commercial installations of GHPs. The reinstated GHP tax credits were retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, and extended to Jan. 1, 2022. The language also changes an important consideration for commercial GHP projects, making them eligible if commenced by Jan. 1, 2022, rather than placed in service by that date.
Companies like WaterFurnace Intl. Inc. were in a much better mood at the 2019 AHR Expo after the tax credits allowed them to have a great 2018.
“On the residential side, the tax credits have helped quite a bit,” said Tim Litton, director of marketing communication for WaterFurnace. “We saw a substantial drop in 2017, but we are almost back to our previous levels. There is a lot of momentum.”
WaterFurnace showcased the 7 Series with variable capacity technology in Atlanta. The 700A11 scales compressor output and airflow to exactly the level needed for any heating or cooling situation.
The 7 Series can ramp down to 20 percent of normal operation for efficiency and comfort or scale up to 130 percent output using SuperBoost cooling. The SuperBoost mode is for those brief periods when extra air conditioning is needed. The unit surpassed both the 41-EER and 5.3-COP efficiency barriers.
The company’s Aurora communication controls work in unison with the variable-capacity compressor, variable-speed loop pump, and variable-speed blower motor to offer comfort.
Over the past couple of years, WaterFurnace has been pushing into the commercial space. This happened before the residential tax credits went away, and the company is now up 40 percent in that market.
“We saw other businesses that were having success on the commercial side, so we thought there was an opportunity there,” Litton said. “The commercial side is less affected by tax credits than the residential side.”
WaterFurnace brought plenty of commercial products to AHR, including the Versatec VS water source geothermal heat pump.
The 10- and 15-ton commercial variable-capacity units feature Aurora Advanced Controls with true energy, refrigeration, and optional performance monitoring as well as the optional Aurora UPC DDC Controls to integrate into building automation systems. With a capacity range of 25 to 100 percent, the WaterFurnace variable-capacity system will scale its output to what a building actually needs, maximizing occupant comfort levels. The 120 and 180 units are available in both horizontal and vertical cabinets as well as with bottom-flow configurations for installation in virtually any application. Copeland variable-speed scroll compressors and drives are featured and provide the utmost in efficiency and capacity modulation.
WaterFurnace also announced that it is launching a new commercial website. The new site includes responsive design for mobile browsers and enhanced graphics, transitions, and animations to showcase the company’s evolving product offerings.
The new interface has been simplified for easier navigation and to help users find information more quickly. Product pages include more space to communicate the benefits each brings to the market and to better educate visitors. The site also includes new tools to find commercial reps and build product nomenclatures, in addition to software for energy modeling and product configuration.
“We’re excited to bring this robust and informative website to our customers,” said Litton. “The site is now a more accurate reflection of our focus on the commercial and industrial markets, the investments we’ve made to upgrade our commercial rep network, and the industry-leading innovations we’ve engineered in a relatively short amount of time.”
Publication date: 2/18/2019