“Obviously, energy conservation and energy efficiency are two huge trends in the market.”

Lennox addressed that in two ways with its products on display at the AHR Expo: saving energy with the unit itself, and saving time for contractors who want to do their work as efficiently as possible.

“Variable speed, variable capacity is all about providing the right comfort, the right action, fast,” said David Mackey, brand/product manager, commercial heating and cooling at Lennox, quoted above. The Energence® Ultra-High Efficiency packaged rooftop unit product line, now up to 23.5 SEER, is Lennox’s response.

“We can do that through our inverter-driven compressor as well as our variable speed,” he said, “and our indoor blower and our variable speed outdoor fans allow you to get the right comfort.”

The unit has several features to aid in serviceability.

“That’s really what we pride ourselves on at Lennox,” Mackey said. “No. 1, on any Energence unit, you’re going to get these hinged access panels” that provide quick access while preventing damage to roofs or the panels themselves.

“No. 2, the project control board,” he continued, referencing the Prodigy 2.0 control system, which can generate more than 100 diagnostic codes.

“If you get an alarm code, this is going to tell you exactly what’s wrong and give you pointers on how to fix it,” Mackey explained. Color-coded, labeled wiring helps technicians with troubleshooting as well.

Lennox’s larger equipment, like the Energence RTU, includes slide-out assembly for its DirectPlus blower system.

“The blower is actually on rails; you slide it all the way out and do all your service, and slide it back in,” Mackey said. “We really pride ourselves on having ease of access to all the components on the heating side so you don’t need to worry about cramming your hands into a very narrow space.”

Also on display at the Lennox booth was the VPB Heat Pump Outdoor Unit, the manufacturer’s next-generation VRF equipment — which was designed specifically for the U.S. market.

Lennox VRF heat pump units offer a heating and cooling solution capable of conditioning up to 64 zones from a single system. Individual set point control, in combination with an inverter driven compressor, optimizes the system capacity by adjusting the compressor speed based on the required capacity at each indoor unit.

Ronald Roos, manager, VRF sales at Lennox, said the unit was designed with a variety of features that makes service and maintenance of a heat pump easier for contractors.

“It gives us the ability to speak to our customers by giving them equipment that they can service,” he said. For example, the unit has hinged access panels on all outdoor units for easy access to internal components.

“It’s easy to open it up,” he said, “and you have full access to the unit.”

Additionally, a built-in LCD service console allows technicians to commission, startup, and service Lennox VRF systems from the outdoor unit with no additional software, external devices, or gauges.

“You can also do some neat things like simulating snow blow,” Roos said. “We have snow blow on our units, which means ... it’ll still keep running every 30 minutes for a minute; it will spin the condenser fans, making sure there’s no snow buildup on top of it. It makes them last longer in colder climates, and it also speaks to just making it last longer overall.”

Along with the next-generation VRF equipment, Lennox has launched the VRF Programmable Controller, which has built-in occupancy and humidity sensors and allows for setback load control. One controller can manage up to 16 VRF indoor units, with full schedule and holiday programming features for maximum efficiency.

“We’ve increased our ability to operate on the back end, from the serviceability perspective,” said Roos.

The device has a USB port on the bottom. “You can load up all of the parameters — temperature parameters, upper and lower limits, schedules, everything on one — put a USB in and copy settings,” Roos explained. “With the next one, you can just say ‘paste’ and it automatically transfers everything over. You can repeat that throughout your entire building.”