Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. is relying on its long history of room-by-room solutions to tackle the latest challenges in HVAC.

The Friedrich display at the recent AHR Expo in Las Vegas highlighted the ways in which the 139-year-old company is addressing current HVAC concerns such as IAQ, energy efficiency, and decarbonization.

"Our product roadmap has been leading us to this point," said T.J. Wheeler, senior vice president of sales and marketing at the San Antonio-based Friedrich, during a tour of the booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center. "And now the market conditions are really good, really demanding products like these."

Example: With an eye toward improved IAQ, the school system in New York City recently purchased 300,000 Friedrich window air conditioning units for its classrooms.

The company said it has the only window a/c units capable of accommodating MERV 13 air filters.

"We did a lot with our main filter manufacturers” for that to happen, said Wheeler. "We had to look at different culture media, different filter densities, because we still had to achieve that MERV 13 efficiency... But we needed to be able to flow enough air to make the unit still be a good, high-efficiency, effective, and high-capacity air conditioner."

Wheeler added that any Friedrich window a/c unit that's 10 years old or newer should accommodate a MERV 13 filter.

Friedrich, which began as a refrigeration company, focuses on electric air conditioning and heating products for a variety of settings, including homes (both single- and multifamily), hotels and motels, hospitals, office buildings, dormitories, and schools.

Its FreshAire heat-pump PTAC, on display during AHR, was named the 2021 Commercial Comfort Product of the Year in the IAQ and ventilation category by the trade journal Engineered Systems.

Available in two models, the FreshAire PTAC has a variable-speed compressor that operates at down to 20% and up to 120% of rated capacity and can reach efficiencies of up to 13 EER and a 15 SEER equivalent. The 9,000-Btu model operates as low as 6,462 Btus and up to 12,099 Btus, while the 12,000 Btu model operates as low as 7,929 Btus and up to 17,142 Btus.

The company says the FreshAire PTAC has the widest heating and cooling range of any similar product its size. It's compatible with Friedrich's FreshAire IAQ accessories and add-on products, including MERV 13 filtration and UV-light air-cleansing, designed to improve IAQ.

“And in situations where you don’t necessarily want to circulate air throughout an entire building, such as when trying to prevent the spread of pathogens, room-by-room a/c units with advanced IAQ capabilities are particularly effective,” Wheeler said in a press release.

The FreshAire PTAC helps achieve ASHRAE 62.1-2013 requirements, bringing up to 52 cfm of air into a room. Its standard filter is rated MERV 8.

Also new is Fredrich's VRP (variable refrigerant package) Studio, a compact, nominal 7,000-Btu heating and cooling unit, with a MERV 8 filter, designed for smaller spaces.

Like the company's larger VRPs, the Studio features a variable-speed compressor, operating down to 40% and up to 120% of rated capacity, that delivers efficiencies of up to 20 SEER & 13 EER, the company says.

The Friedrich VRPs, like the FreshAire PTAC, are also designed to accommodate FreshAire IAQ options. The VRPs also come in 1-ton, 2-ton, and 3-ton sizes that are capable of more square footage; the three-ton model, said Wheeler, could be suitable for a two- or three-bedroom home.

“We're not ignoring multiroom solutions, but we're doing it with a single package,” he said. “And that's just been our specialty. We're very, very focused.”