New innovations are the cornerstone of the HVACR industry, which is why the AHR Expo’s Innovation Awards are quite the honor. Highlighting products across 10 different categories, the annual competition showcases inventive and original products that have been selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges. The products were evaluated based on aspects such as creativity, market impact, and overall design. 

The winners of the Innovation Awards were initially announced in October 2022 and were later showcased at the AHR Expo, held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia on February 6-8, 2023. 

On Monday, the first day of the Expo, the Innovation Award winners celebration was held in Room C206 at 4:30 p.m. ASHRAE Society President-Elect Ginger Scoggins started off the gathering by handing out glass awards to the 10 winners, who then took individual group photos with Mark Stevens, show manager for the AHR Expo, and 2022-23 ASHRAE Society President Farooq Mehboob.

Each year, the money collected from entry fees for the Innovation Awards is given back to the industry in the form of investment into the local community and at the ceremony, Scoggins announced this year’s recipient. The Atlanta College and Career Academy’s (ACCA) HVACR program will use the funds — a check for $25,000 — for necessary equipment, student certification, and other program enhancements that will help train the future workforce. 

“On behalf of Atlanta public schools, we really appreciate the partnership,” said Dr. Tasharah Wilson, principal and CEO of ACCA, at the gathering. “We serve all Atlanta public high school students, HVAC is one of our great pathways, and we really appreciate your investment in helping us to continue to prepare your future workforce.”

The ceremony ended with the presentation of a final award: Product of the Year. The Product of the Year is selected from one of the 10 Innovation Award winners, and this year’s prize went to Cielo WiGle Inc. for their Cielo Breez Max product. A winner in the Building Automation category of the awards, the Breez Max is a smart thermostat for mini-split, window, and portable air conditioners.

“[The award] means a lot to us. It’s a tribute to our engineers, the technology we’ve been working on, and gives a really great impetus towards innovation and better things that can add comfort, convenience, and the ultimate thing — a lot of energy savings,” commented Anees Jarral, co-founder and chief technology officer at Cielo.