Bigger isn’t always better — especially when it comes to HVAC equipment that needs to fit into tight spaces. That could have been the motto at the WaterFurnace booth, where the manufacturer displayed several new units designed with space savings in mind.

Paul Selking is director, commercial product marketing at WaterFurnace Commercial Solutions. Highlighted at the booth was the Versatec® XL, a large commercial water-source heat pump in sizes ranging from 6 to 30 tons. The redesigned product has direct-drive variable-speed fan blowers, which can be adjusted to meet the demand of the unit.

The redesign deliberately removed extra hardware from the system.

“We got rid of all the belts and pulleys and shifts that we had in our previous product,” Selking said. Additionally, the unit size has been reduced by 50 percent.

“It’s half the footprint, which is obviously very nice for contractors and MEP firms that are trying to spec this into an existing retrofit application where space is very limited; they can fit the product in.”

The Versatec XL comes with WaterFurnace’s Aurora controls built in, allowing a contractor the ability to set it up in the field and configure it as needed, as well as to access the product remotely.

At the Expo, WaterFurnace also displayed its new IoT system, the Symphony CloudLink. A web-enabled building comfort and management platform, it captures data every 10 seconds, allowing access to historical data on any connected unit.

“Whether it’s a contractor doing service or a building maintenance manager, he or she has the ability, remotely — whether they’re in their building or on their mobile device — to see the operation of all these units,” Selking explained. “In a lot of cases, some of our commercial customers are trying to improve efficiency. With this setup, they can actually grab the data real-time. If something starts to change and lose efficiency, they can identify it right away and address the issue. They can actually use this tool to go in and do the troubleshooting, without even having to go to the physical unit.”

Also on display at the WaterFurnace booth was a demonstration of “twinning” applications using Versatec Variable Speed technology. When a building is first constructed, a large floor-by-floor self-contained unit — either water-cooled DX or chilled water VAV air handler — can be installed before the walls are completely framed. But building a structure around the HVAC system creates challenges years later, when the equipment needs to be serviced or replaced.

“One of the things that you see on the commercial side is the original building was built around the HVAC system, and they literally cut it out with a welding torch to get rid of it — and then how do you get the new system in?” Selking questioned.

WaterFurnace Versatec Variable Speed technology addresses that issue by allowing the building owner to replace the previous system with multiple “twinned” modular units that operate as one unit, providing more capacity in a smaller footprint.

“You can put two, three, or even four together — and with our controls, these can be controlled together, as if it’s one large system, even though it’s separate modules,” Selking said. “For a contractor, it offers redundancy; if one happens to go out, you still have another one to operate.” Plus, the units will all fit through a 36-inch doorway and can be transported via passenger elevator.

The ability to twin and control the units is a function of Aurora controls.

“That’s kind of the heartbeat of all these units,” Selking said, “and that’s also what then enables the CloudLink, because they all have that same kind of backbone control system running through them.”