CHICAGO - It's back to the Windy City for the 2006 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), which will take place from Jan. 23-25 at McCormick Place.

International Exposition Co., the management company that produces the AHR Expo, reports that this year's show is expected to be one of their best yet with more than 1,900 exhibiting companies using over 405,000 square feet of exhibit space. The company expects more than 55,000 visitors to stream through the doors at McCormick Place.

Last year's February show in Orlando set the new record for number of exhibitors with 1,871 companies occupying 372,955 square feet of space. However, Chicago is historically the site of the largest AHR Expos and still holds the record for number of attendees (59,079 including 38,224 visitors) and square footage (400,416).

Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., believes there are many reasons why the expo should be of interest to everyone - particularly contractors - in the HVAC community. "Manufacturers and service providers offer contractors a unique opportunity to see, touch, and compare the very best products they have to offer. In many cases, the show offers contractors the opportunity to discuss their own needs and challenges, face-to-face, with the industry's top engineering talent in exhibitors' booths."


Exhibitors agree that the AHR Expo is a good place to show their wares. Tom Jackson, CEO, Jackson Systems, Indianapolis, believes it's important to have a presence at the AHR Expo due to the commercial market focus. "This expo is unlike other larger tradeshows, which often focus on the residential market," he said.

David Metcalf, marketing manager - performance materials, Johns Manville, Denver, added that the AHR Expo is the most comprehensive event that covers the breadth of the North American HVACR industry. "For Johns Manville, it's the first chance we have each year to talk with contractors and engineers from around the world about what's new for the coming year."

While the manufacturers definitely benefit by being at the AHR Expo, it's also a great place for contractors and engineers to be. As Mike Taylor, vice president of marketing, Honeywell Building Solutions, Golden Valley, Minn., noted, "The AHR Expo is the definitive HVAC show. It gives contractors and other attendees direct access to experts in every aspect of the industry. So it's an ideal forum for collecting information, solving problems, and gathering new ideas."

Many new enhancements and features have been added to the AHR Expo over the last few shows that have made the event even more valuable to attendees. Among these enhancements are:

  • A special focus on Green Buildings, which will feature "green" exhibitors as well as conference sessions by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

  • A variety of association-sponsored sessions, in addition to theASHRAE conference program, short courses, and a free public session).

  • An expanding New Product Technology Theater where leading companies will present brief previews of their latest technologies and products throughout the three-day show.

  • Two special product sections - Building Automation and Control Showcase and Software Center.

    There will be over 25 free educational sessions available to AHR Expo attendees. Topics include: "Ways to Find and Retain Qualified Employees," "Commissioning and TAB," "SEER 13 is Here - Are You Ready?", as well as sessions on building automation technology, and many others. For a complete list of free sessions, visit

    Educational sessions will also be offered by LonMark International, which will share its expertise on specifying, deploying, and maintaining open, interoperable solutions to AHR Expo attendees. The free education sessions will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in Room S101a and will be hosted by industry experts. The sessions are titled: "LonWorks Technology 101," "How Open Systems Save You Money," "What's New in the World of LonMark?," "Specifications - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly," and "Networking Building Controls: The Key To Efficient Design and Implementation."

    Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) will be hosting a one-day seminar concerning intelligent buildings on Jan. 25. Building Intelligence Group founder Paul Ehrlich will provide the details about intelligent buildings and their economics, while Ken Sinclair of Automated Buildings will head a panel of experts on the critical technologies that will enable these projects. Registration is $350 ($400 at the door). For more information, visit or call 877-207-5264.


    There will be an exciting new addition to the show floor this year. AHR Expo will be hosting the "Radiant House," which will include installation demonstrations during the show. Designed to provide attendees with the latest information on energy-efficient products, the Radiant House will feature a wood frame structure in which various radiant heating suppliers will give live demonstrations of their products being installed.

    Installations in the Radiant House will include radiant floor tubing, electric elements, pre-manufactured floor and wall panels, ceiling installations, insulation, controls, and more. A complete list of companies showcasing their products and installation, with a schedule of demonstrations, will be displayed at the house on the show floor.

    "Companies participating in Radiant House enjoy the added benefit of being able to fully illustrate their products' practical use to potential buyers through an hour-long live installation demonstration," said Vance Sherwood, Radiant Panel Association. The products showcased in the Radiant House will be on display from the time they are installed through the end of the expo on Jan. 25.

    With all these amazing exhibits, it's definitely worth going to the AHR Expo this year. Tim Fletcher, brand manager for A/C contractors and end users, Emerson Climate Technologies, said it best: "Contractors will benefit from attending by learning about the new products and services that are available to help them grow and improve their businesses. In general, the AHR Expo is a great opportunity for contractors and manufacturers to exchange feedback, gain valuable insight, and learn about important industry issues."

    Publication date: 01/09/2006