ManufacturerLennox Industries Inc
ProductComfortSense 7500 Commercial
It’s kind of a no-brainer: Customers appreciate things that are easy to use.
“Like our color touchscreen,” said Tate Byers, product manager for controls at Lennox Industries, speaking of the ComfortSense 7500 Commercial thermostat. “For me, it’s getting it right the first time. So when contractors are able to setup correctly, they don’t have to come back and mess with it again, there’s less callbacks in the field. I think that’s probably the No. 1 feature of the product.”
That type of usability helped the CS7500 win a Gold award in The NEWS’ 2019 Dealer Design Awards in the realm of Commercial Controls. Research began at the end of 2017, prompted by feedback from customers via the field sales team, as well as updated regulatory requirements.
“We do a lot of sales feedback, along with … the code for Title 24’s FDD, along with the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), to make sure that we could offer a 24-V thermostat that was code compliant,” said Byers.
The CS7500 helps send alarm notifications to the electromechanical units to reveal an issue that might previously have gone unnoticed. The FDD feature is designed to immediately advise users of an issue with their system and that the unit requires service. The CS7500 has a dedicated input for economizer fault detection, which helps technicians identify that the economizer is not operating correctly and allows them to take action quickly. It also has dedicated outputs for occupancy and humidity “that really set us apart, because the installation is simpler without having to program all those,” Byers said.
The thermostat has a touchscreen LCD display with adjustable brightness, and customizable reminders that can be set to display on the home screen for tasks such as changing filters and other serviceable parts. Technicians can enter their contact information into the thermostat, so the user can access it when a maintenance issue or service reminder pops up.
ProductKE2 Evap-RE2 Contactor Panel
The KE2 Evap-RE2 Contactor Panel by KE2 Therm Solutions replaces the thermostat, defrost time clock, defrost termination device, fan/heater contactors for the evaporator, and fan delay mechanism on walk-in coolers and freezers, and also serves as an electronic expansion valve controller, electronic evaporator pressure regulator controller, fan/heater amperage monitor, data logger, and communications platform — all in one package. And that’s why it took home the Silver award this year.
Defrosts are run based on a built-in evaporator efficiency algorithm; the controller initiates a defrost when it calculates that the evaporator’s efficiency has dropped to 90 percent. This typically reduces the number of defrosts from four to six per day to once a day or less, which helps reduce icing and keeps the box at a tighter temperature. All high-voltage wiring to the controller is done at the factory, taking the burden off of the technician in the field.
“This also means every KE2 Evap-RE2 Contactor Panel will be wired the same in the field with color-coded wires, even ones installed by a different contractor, making maintenance much easier,” said Ryan Kliethermes, marketing manager, KE2.
The panel also has built-in Wi-Fi, allowing technicians to access set points, drive the system, and view graphs, logs, and other refrigeration data in real time from their tablet or smartphone by connecting directly to the controller’s Wi-Fi — no additional app or hardware required.
ManufacturerEmerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
Whether they work for Walmart, Target, Dollar General, or somewhere else, facility managers have some real challenges on their hands when it comes to energy management, said Ron Chapek, director of product marketing at Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions. Enter the ProAct™ Connect+ by Emerson, the Bronze-winning product in the Commercial Controls category.
“If they use the manual process [to make HVAC adjustments] and it takes seven steps of a half an hour to do, and you need to do that site by site … versus I could use Connect+ to do a global change with one button pressed to all thousand sites, I’d save somebody a week of work,” he said. “It all comes down to time and money. Enabling less experienced people to do that is really, really high value to our accounts.”
Connect+, designed for multi-site management, assists supermarket and convenience store operators with continuously monitoring and controlling HVACR systems to help them meet financial, regulatory, and brand management objectives. It’s an evolution of an Emerson platform called Site Manager, which has been around for more than 10 years. The upgrade included making the interface more user-friendly — “democratization of software,” so more people can use it, Chapek said — as well as making it work two and a half to three times faster, and adding the security and cloud-based capabilities of a modern offering.