TORONTO - Do you know which systems are the most energy efficient? Have you given any thought to the opportunities and incentives available in providing renewable energy to customers? What about directing your company toward markets such as hydronic heating?

A glimpse of the future of the HVACR industry was one of the highlights of the 2004 Canadian Mechanicals Exposition (CMX), held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

"Learn Today, Profit Tomorrow" was the theme of this year's show, which aimed to provide attendees with a look at the technologies and opportunities that are coming in the future. It also showcased the latest technology ready to be utilized by contractors and manufacturers who want to provide greater comfort, energy savings, and profitability for their customers.

Wendell Bedell, president of Building Services Institute, gave attendees sales advice during a seminar titled “Why Commercial Salespeople Fail.”

A New Direction

The CMX trade show, which is owned and operated by the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), brought together more than 300 exhibitors and over 8,000 attendees to view the products and innovations set to take the industry by storm.

"CMX is the one opportunity every two years for all sectors of the industry across Canada to gather in one location and focus on HVACR business," said Warren Heeley, president of HRAI. "The objective of the show has always been to bring suppliers and customers together and hopefully improve the Canadian marketplace."

Several manufacturers gave attendees a closer look at new and emerging technologies in the CMX Theatre. For example, Takagi Tankless showed contractors the future of water heating, while Honeywell presented the next generation of commercial thermostats.

Other presentations focused on tools contractors can use to better their business. Wendell Bedell, president of the Building Services Institute, presented two seminars, "Why Commercial Salespeople Fail" and "Proven Accelerated Growth with Sustained Profitability Strategies." Larry Wieskopf and Gerald Inch from Perfinex Inc. presented a seminar titled "Service Department Profits: Two Essential Tools," while Giovanni Marcelli from Accubid Systems offered attendees a session named "Success and Service."

A completely new educational experience was also launched at the CMX show. A comprehensive, three-day educational program called the Learning Forum detailed the latest developments in the residential and commercial markets. Twenty-six separate seminars were available with topics that included energy efficiency, emerging markets, refrigeration replacements, selling commercial projects, and mechanical systems.

According to Heeley, the Learning Forum received a great deal of positive feedback.

"The thing that I found the most interesting were comments that attendees would sit in on the Learning Forum sessions, then go up onto the show floor and look for products and services that fit the opportunities outlined in the sessions," he said.

Students participated in the 2004 Skills Canada-Ontario heating systems competition at the show.

The Hydronics Movement

The Learning Forum included a detailed look at hydronic heating, a topic that will be a major focus for HRAI in the coming months. According to HRAI, its SkillTech Academy is currently developing a course in hydronic heating.

Hydronics consultant Robert Bean was given the task of designing the course for the SkillTech Academy, and he was on hand to give attendees a preview.

Bean held two separate sessions during the Learning Forum, "Basic Hydronic Heating Controls" and "Introduction to Radiant Floor Heating Systems."

Bean explained that the up-coming SkillTech session would be a three-day certification course called "Residential Radiant Hydronic Heating Design." He indicated the course would provide an overview of basic fluid fundamentals and hydronic controls, as well as focusing on boiler flow and safety switches, system flow and air separation, and operating controls.

"The industry is going through a real evolution," said Bean. "And the growth of hot water heating is in your hands."

HRAI member Mike Lutman (left) discusses the 2004 CMX show with an attendee.

How Is It Working?

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. developed several of the seminars for the CMX Learning Forum. Many of these seminars took an in-depth look at some new technologies and their field performance.

A session titled "How Are New HVAC Technologies Performing?" was presented by Mike Swinton of the National Resource Council and Dr. Evgueniy Entchev and Charles Zaloum from NRC.

The session delved into the recent research conducted on combo systems, energy-efficient furnace fan motors, and wastewater heat recovery.

All of these applications have been tested at the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology (CCHT). The CCHT built twin houses side by side. Both houses are fully monitored, with one home acting as the control home. The structures are used to conduct experiments with new technologies in order to assess how well they would work in the marketplace.

CCHT uses automation controls to simulate occupancy in the home. This helps researchers to give their experiments a more realistic feel. For example, the controls will simulate when the "occupants" leave the home for the day, and when they return. It also helps them to track energy usage and where energy can be conserved.

One of the first major projects of the CCHT was to evaluate the performance of gas combo systems. A combo system was installed along with a conventional gas-fired furnace. The project allowed researchers to evaluate different types of water heaters to find out which models are the most efficient in certain applications.

Members of the NRC also conducted a seminar during the Learning Forum called "Residential Micro Cogeneration." The program took a more in-depth look at combined heat and power products, as well as numerous other systems that could be beneficial in the residential HVAC industry.

Don Fugler of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. presented "Practical HVAC Solutions." The seminar confronted common ventilation problems and how to estimate heating equipment size.

The course also provided attendees with research the CMHC developed on filter efficiency. The CMHC wanted to find out if air filters on the market were living up to claims, and which filters do the overall best job. The study looked at a 1-inch premium media filter, a charged media-type electronic filter, a 4-inch pleated media filter, HEPA filters, and an electronic plate-and-wire (ESP) model.

CMHC research found that ESP-type filters offer the most amount of clean air at a relatively low cost. At the same time, ESP filters were found to produce small amounts of ozone during operation.

Information on the study can be found at

Randy McDonald from Don Park Inc., Windsor, mans the Rheem booth during the 2004 CMX show.

Next Generation Of Efficiency

The Learning Forum also delved into the latest renewable energy technologies. Representatives from NRC discussed the latest energy-saving technology on the market, as well as financial incentives for using the equipment.

Duncan Hill from CMHC and Jeff Knapp from NRC explored these incentives during a seminar titled "High-Rise Ventilation And Solar Opportunities."

Knapp introduced attendees to the Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative (REDI). The goal of REDI is to expose customers to the variety of renewable energy sources that can be integrated into a number of homes and businesses.

Knapp explained that businesses are eligible for a refund of 25 percent of the purchase and installation costs of a qualifying system, up to a maximum refund of $80,000. Similar incentives are available to federal departments and public institutions. Systems eligible for incentives are solar air, solar water, and biomass combustion.

Knapp gave examples of these systems that are currently being used in the Canadian market. He pointed out that solar energy systems, especially solar air systems, are ideal for multi-unit buildings, such as apartments and condominiums. They are also beneficial for any commercial or industrial facility where large amounts of fresh air are needed. Solar air systems are used in tandem with a regular heating system by preheating ventilation air.

The solar water heating systems have the same benefit as the solar air system. The system collects energy from the sun and saves it to heat water. A regular heating system is needed to augment the solar water system and for use on cloudy days.

More information can be found on renewable energy technology and incentives by visiting

Publication date: 05/17/2004