Images courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography and the International Exposition Co.

Just when you think the AHR Expo can’t get any larger, show officials release new numbers on the size of the event.

This year, the show returns to Chicago, a city that has proven time and again to bring in massive numbers of attendees and more than a thousand exhibitors.

The 2012 AHR Expo, Jan. 23-25, has already reserved more than 414,500 square feet of exhibition space at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The International Exposition Co., which runs the annual HVACR show, said these numbers have already surpassed the previous record of 410,415 square feet of space set at the 2006 show in Chicago.

“We are very pleased about achieving this new all-time record, especially as this is our company’s 100th anniversary,” said Clay Stevens, president of the International Exposition Co. “Historically, the number of attendees tends to increase proportionately with the increase in square footage.”

Organizers are expecting more than 1,700 exhibitors this year, including more than 130 of them that will be showing their products for the first time. Officials also say the show in Chicago is trending toward 60,000 attendees, which they are attributing to the surge in new technologies and sustainability. The more than 100 educational sessions, many of which are free at the show, are also bringing in attendees.

“Based on early indicators, we expect Chicago to be a very strong event,” said Stevens.

Here are some of the educational sessions that may be of interest to HVAC and sheet metal contractors.

Free sessions

Several educational sessions at the AHR Expo will be free to attendees. These sessions start Jan. 23:

At 9 a.m., the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association will present“SMACNA’s HVAC Duct Construction Standard.”Mark Terzigni with SMACNA will explain how to properly use the association’s duct standard. Examples of the standard as used in the field will be presented.

The Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Institute of Canada will offer“Residential Ventilation: Is Heat Recovery the Answer?”This session at 10:30 a.m. will discuss the economics of heat recovery ventilation, the best applications to use it, the benefits and pitfalls of the technology, and installation tips.

At 3 p.m., the Cooling Technology Institute will present“Benefits of Water-Cooled Systems versus Air-Cooling Systems for Air-Conditioning Applications.”Lisa Loschiavo, marketing engineering analyst with Baltimore Aircoil Co., will discuss how contractors can choose energy-efficient systems that lower first costs to contractors and provide owners with a sustainable product.

Also at 3 p.m., the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers will present“Selection, Operation & Maintenance, and Water Treatment for Multi-Metal Boilers.” This session will cover the commissioning of aluminum boilers in HVAC systems, components of a proper water treatment specification for multi-metal systems, and how aluminum condensing boilers can increase hydronic system efficiency.

On Jan. 24, these sessions will be offered.

Starting at 8:30 a.m., the Spiral Duct Manufacturers Association will present“Find the Benefits of Less Duct Before Considering Duct-Less.” Rob Reid, president of Tangible Products and technical director of SPIDA, will provide an overview of the tools and data to evaluate the types of duct for installation. The session will also talk about operating costs of duct types.

Also at 8:30 a.m.,“The Journey to System Performance” will be presented by the Green Mechanical Council. The course will focus on psychrometrics and combustion, and how to increase comfort and efficiency through system performance verification.

Starting at 9 a.m., the Heating, Airconditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International will offer“Saving Energy in Outdoor Air Systems.”HARDI will focus on the benefits of adding total heat rotary regenerative heat exchangers to outdoor air systems, review the psychrometric process, and the energy saving benefit of applying dedicated outdoor air systems.

The National Environmental Balancing Bureau will present“Air Leakage Testing of Building Envelopes” at 12:30 p.m. Jim Bochat of Commissioning Concepts will cover how whole-building-air-leakage testing is done. It will also present the standards that should be used when doing the test. Attendees will learn about leak test methods that can determine where a building envelope is leaking.

The ClimateTalk Alliance will offer“ClimateTalk Open Standards and HVACR Contractor Benefits”at 1:30 p.m. The alliance will talk about its open standards, and how they are beneficial when connecting smart HVAC systems, zoning and water heaters.

At 2:30 p.m.,“Keeping the Air Clean in Your Hospital Facility Including the Isolation Room”will be conducted by the National Air Filtration Association. Chris Zaker, national sales manager for Glasfloss Industries, will lead this session on the technologies that can keep health care facilities and hospital settings clean.

The Air Movement and Control Association will offer“How to Properly Specify Fans and Dampers for Commercial Buildings”at 3 p.m. Best practices will be discussed when it comes to specifying fans and dampers for commercial projects. Attendees will also learn about tools and resources available to help in making fan and damper choices. 

ASHRAE events

ASHRAE will once again hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the AHR Expo in Chicago. The association will offer educational session to its members Jan. 21-24. Several of the association’s short courses will be held at McCormick Place. However, Jan. 21 the association will hold full-day professional development seminars at the Palmer House Hilton. Those sessions will begin at 8 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. Members can choose from“The Commissioning Process in New & Existing Buildings,”“Data Center Efficiency,”and“Integrated Building Design.”

Two full-day ASHRAE session will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 24 at McCormick Place. Those sessions are“Using Standard 90.1 to Meet LEED Requirements” and“Energy Modeling Best Practices and Applications: HVAC/Thermal.”

ASHRAE will also offer several half-day short courses. All of the courses will be held at McCormick Place. Here are some notable sessions:

At 2 p.m. Jan. 22, ASHRAE will offer“Understanding Air-to-Air Energy Recovery Technologies and Applications.”The course will examine how air-to-air energy recovery systems can help move facilities towards net-zero energy.

Also starting at 2 p.m. will be“Understanding & Designing Outdoor Air Systems.”Moderators for this course will discuss the energy benefits of theses systems, how the technology is best used, and answer frequently asked questions.

These short courses will be offered at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 23:

“Basics of High-Performance Building Design”will take a look at how ASHRAE standards 90.1 and 189.1 are helping architects and engineers design and implement energy efficient buildings.

“Energy Management in New & Existing Buildings”will aim to show attendees how energy management can be used to reduce the amount of energy used in U.S. buildings. Case studies where energy management has been used successfully will be included in the presentation, including hospitals, high-rise buildings, banks and convention center applications.

The following sessions start 2:30 p.m. Jan. 23:

“Advanced High Performance Building Design” will look at the advanced concepts that ASHRAE members can use when it comes to ASHRAE standards 90.1 and 189.1

“Evaluating the Performance of LEED-Certified Buildings” will present attendees with the performance criteria for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The course will explain to engineers how to make sure their buildings are living up to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program expectations.

At 9 a.m. Jan. 24 these sessions will be offered:

“Combined Heat & Power” is a new session for ASRHAE. It will discuss “CHP” technology, and how it can be an efficient and clean way to generate power from a single fuel source. The course will look at fuel savings, emissions reduction, and decentralization of energy and power supply.

“Health Care Facilities: Best Practice Design”will focus on the ASHRAE publication HVAC Design Manual for Hospitals and Clinics. ASHRAE will examine the fundamentals of health care heating and cooling systems design, and how systems can be designed with energy conservation in mind. This course will repeat at 1 p.m.

Also at 1 p.m., the society will offer“Designing Toward Net Zero Energy Commercial Buildings.”ASHRAE defines a net-zero building as one that uses no more energy from the utility grid annually than is provided by on-site renewable energy sources. Application and design principles, as well as available technologies for net-zero energy, will be a part of this session.

For more information on the AHR Expo or the ASHRAE winter meeting, visit or