Two products submitted inThe News'first-ever Dealer Design Awards stood head and shoulders above the competition to capture top honors in the Commercial Controls, including Building Automation category.

The gold winner was the new HPC/LAC Low Ambient Controller and Head Pressure Controller from EDC International Inc. (Shelton, Conn.), which proved to be an eye-opener for The News' contractor-judges.

"Sounds like it will cut energy costs," summed up one contractor-judge.

"Good deal," wrote another.

John Staber, sales manager, EDC International, made a strong case for his company's product in the entry form.

"This state-of-the-art controller is de-signed to optimize refrigerant pressures and cut energy costs of air conditioning and heat pump operation by adjusting the fan speed of the condenser," wrote Staber.

"This is achieved by sensing the refrigerant temperatures - thereby, pressure - to modulate the condenser fan speed to balance the high-to-low side circuit vapor pressure. This can significantly reduce the electrical consumption and increase the effective operation of the system."

The News' contractor-judges certainly came away impressed. The same can be said for the reactions to the silver medalist, Comfort Systemâ„¢ Z-1600 Commercial Zone Control System from Jackson Systems LLC (Indianapolis). The product is a commercial zone control system that allows a single HVAC unit to have up to 16 zones, said the manufacturer.

"Each zone is controlled by its own thermostat and a modulating zone damper," said Joe Jackson, vice president of Commercial Systems, Jackson Systems. "The Z-1600 controls up to two stages of heating and two stages of cooling or heat pumps."

The HPC/LAC Low Ambient Controller and Head Pressure Controller from EDC International Inc.

Gold Winner

According to Staber and EDC International, the new HPC/LAC Low Ambient Controllers and Head Pressure Controllers can be installed without breaking into the refrigeration lines, thus eliminating the possibility of a leak. That's good news for contractors and service techs.

"The sensor measures temperature and, by laws of gases, thereby measures pressure," wrote Staber. "The installation is simple, quick, and accurate, and because we are not measuring pressure, the controller can be used with any refrigerant."

The installation and service benefits to the contractor cannot be overlooked, either.

"The HPC/LAC provides the installer with a tremendous tool that is simple to install, can cure some problems that occur from incorrectly sized cooling equipment, or installations that have cooling loads that vary widely during the day," said Staber. "The HPL/LAC Controllers offer the technicians a viable tool to provide their customers with an inexpensive addition to their air conditioning system to optimize their energy dollars."

According to EDC International, other head pressure controls using pressure sensors haven't been capable of withstanding the high pressures necessary for some new refrigerants and have developed leaks.

"This brings up another good reason why we prefer a temperature sensor," said Staber. "It is completely separate from the condensing unit itself, and is strapped around one of the return bends - an easy job to fit. And if it ever needs to be replaced, also an easy job. By contrast, to fit a pressure sensor, you need to break into the refrigerant system, and there's always a potential source of leaks."

For more information on the HPC/LAC Low Ambient Controllers and Head Pressure Controllers, visit

The Comfort System Z-1600 Commercial Zone Control System from Jackson Systems LLC.

Silver Winner

"Nice package for the price."

That's not a bad compliment from any contractor. In this case, those were the exact sentiments from one of The News' contractor-judges. Another simply scribbled, "Good product!"

"The Z-1600 Zone Control System is different than other commercial VAV/zone control systems because it is truly ‘contractor friendly,'" remarked Jackson. "The system does not require any programming or setup; therefore, a laptop computer is not needed for commissioning or service. Oftentimes, commercial zone control systems require someone from the factory to commission the system, costing the contractor thousands of extra dollars."

In addition to easy installation, the Z-1600 is "incredibly easy to troubleshoot and service because it does not use digital communications," wrote Jackson.

According to the manufacturer, the system is less costly than other fully modulating zone control systems, and installation and commissioning take a fraction of the time needed with other systems.

For more information regarding the Comfort System Z-1600 Zone Control System, visit

Publication date: 07/19/2004