The 2018 Dealer Design Awards are a platform to present the latest and greatest products the HVAC industry has to offer. For the past 15 years, The NEWS has honored HVAC design excellence. The links below contain special articles covering each gold, silver, and bronze winner, complete with photos from the manufacturers. Take a look at each category to learn more about the Dealer Design Awards’ class of 2018. You can also view this infographic.
Software Motor Company
Software Motor Co., the business atop the podium for commercial controls this year, is not like most other winners. The company was just formed in 2013, releasing its first products to market earlier this year, but its research team tallies more than 100 years of collective experience in computer hardware and motor design.
Johnson Controls, Inc
Designed to be a convenient, one-stop solution for the light commercial market, Verasys works to connect with a wide array of equipment and sensors to serve either one zone or multiple zones with precise temperature control and comfort.
KE2 Therm Solutions
KE2 Temp + Valve
Designed for a wide range of refrigeration, warehouse, and other applications, the product opens the door to shorter installation times in air defrost applications by replacing both a refrigeration thermostat and a defrost time clock.
EZ Soffit Vent
Panasonic has been running field research on the soffit venting problem for well over 10 years, and this year, that research has paid off in the form of a gold-winning product in the Dealer Design Awards category for Components and Accessories: the EZ Soffit Vent.
M4 A/C & Furnace Tank Pump
The M4 Tank Pump has an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of 24 and is designed specifically to help ensure safe install and maintenance for the a/c technician. It’s splash-proof and sealed, and it comes equipped with multiple mounting clips and a built-in bubble level.
Coming in bronze in this category was the SuperSleeve, a plastic wall sleeve by Marketair designed to aid installation of wall-mounted ductless air conditioners. Its primary function is to help the installer pass the lineset, drain hose, and electrical cable through the wall and prevent debris, insects, vermin, and moisture from entering the wall cavity.
Virtual Technician App
It took more than 17 months for Jackson Systems to research and build the Virtual Technician app, which won gold in the Contractor Services and Software category of the 2018 Dealer Design Awards. The app came about as a response to the technical support calls the company was receiving from contractors.
PM Workbench 1.2
The PM Workbench 1.2 from Data-Basics won silver in this category. The new web-based platform adds advanced analytic capabilities and was field tested by actual users, which is central to the design behind all of software from Data-Basics.
Taking bronze is HomeSeal Connect, a computer-controlled duct sealing system offered by Aeroseal, which provides live monitoring of the sealing process and a before-and-after report substantiating results. Since it seals from inside the ductwork, it can easily find and seal leaks throughout the entire duct system without any disruption or demolition.
8 CFM Vacuum Pump
With some of the highest scores in the entire Dealer Design Awards contest this year, the 8 CFM Vacuum Pump from Fieldpiece Instruments earned its place atop the Electronic and Hand Tools category. The product, which spent over five years in research and development, was recently introduced to the market in April.
Dwyer Instruments Inc.
Wireless Hydronic Balancing Kit
Dwyer Instruments Inc. earned two honors in this year’s contest, with a bronze award in the Testing and Monitoring category and this silver honor for its Wireless Hydronic Balancing Kit. The Wireless Hydronic Balancing Kit measures the pressure drop across HVAC balancing valves by using wireless sensors and a versatile handheld.
Wireless Digital Gauge for Superheat and Subcooling
The Wireless Digital Gauge for Superheat and Subcooling from JB Industries gets the bronze for electronic and hand tools this year, with one judge succinctly expressing just what the product does so well: “This is great for maintenance and service technicians who want a quick check of how the refrigerant system is running.”
Elite Series Large Split Systems
In a highly competitive race, the Elite® Series Large Split Systems from Lennox Industries found a way to pull away from the field (which included some internal competition we will get to for the silver honors) and earn the gold award in the HVAC Commercial Equipment category of this year’s Dealer Design Award contest.
New and improved Landmark® Rooftop Units
The B generation models of the Landmark® lineup from Lennox feature higher efficiencies with the same footprint as its previous generation models, helping the product line to the silver award.
RN Series Rooftop Unit
The RN Series with Two-Step Compressor from Aaon is an energy-efficient unit with up to 20.2 IEER. According to the company, it was designed with numerous premium features and options, making it adaptable for a wide variety of applications.
MLZ One-Way Ceiling Cassette
The 2018 Dealer Design gold-winning product in the HVAC High-Efficiency Residential Equipment category, the MLZ One-Way Ceiling Cassette by Mitsubishi Electric, was designed to simplify installation and maintenance while providing homeowners with improved IAQ via advanced filtration, energy efficiency, and Mitsubishi Electric’s auto vane control technology that enables occupants to customize the airflow rate and direction.
5 Series 506A11 Outdoor Packaged Geothermal Heat Pump
As part of the WaterFurnace 5 Series, the 506A11 Outdoor Packaged System is a complete heating and cooling geothermal heat pump that delivers efficiencies as high as 27.6 EER for cooling and 4.6 coefficient of performance (COP) for heating. The system provides a wholly outdoor option for the geothermal HVAC market.
Champion Momentum™ Variable Capacity Communicating Heat Pump
Taking bronze is Johnson Controls Inc.’s Champion Momentum™ Series HL20B, a split-system heat pump that can provide quiet, high-efficiency cooling up to 20 SEER and heat down to an outdoor temperature of minus 5°F for residential uses. When matched with a modulating gas furnace, it can also be used as part of a dual-fuel installation, adjusting capacity year-round to maximize comfort while minimizing sound and energy consumption.
DunAn Microstaq Inc.
HC-MSEV USHC Retrofit Kit
DunAn Microstaq Inc.’s HC-MSEV USHC Retrofit Kit was developed for commercial HVACR systems with 10 to 25 tons of cooling capacity. The primary function is to improve evaporator efficiency by controlling superheat toward a target setting quickly and precisely. This tight, continuous control of superheat under dynamic heat load conditions enables optimal system performance, lessening the work for the compressor and translating to improved system efficiency. It’s these design qualities that netted the retrofit kit the gold award in the HVAC Light Commercial Equipment category of this year’s Dealer Design Awards contest.
Lennox Intl. Inc.
VRF Medium-Static Ducted Indoor UnitHeat Pump
Lennox Intl. Inc. earned the silver award with its VRF Medium-Static Ducted Indoor Unit. The VMDB ducted indoor unit offers a more traditional look in the space while still benefiting from the efficiency and comfort of a VRF system. Instead of a single long filter media, the VMDB’s washable filter is built into three sections, connected by hinges.
Sensi™ Multiple Thermostat Manager
The Sensi™ Multiple Thermostat Manager from Emerson, which was introduced in February, earned the bronze distinction. It is a software application that can manage and control multiple heating and cooling systems through one online portal. Two years of research went into the development in order to ensure the system is tailored to the users’ needs.
SL280NV Ultra Low NOX Gas Furnace
Three years of research and development went into the 2018 Dealer Design Awards gold-winning product in the HVAC Residential Equipment category. Lennox’s SL280NV Ultra Low NOX gas furnace was built to address a market need in the South Coast and San Joaquin air quality districts in California, which require the reduction of emissions to 14 nanograms of NOX per joule. This regulation, coupled with innovations from Lennox and its dealers, led to the final design.
Coleman® Echelon™ Variable-Capacity Communicating Air Handler
The Coleman® Echelon™ variable-capacity communicating air handler from Johnson Controls Inc. won silver in this category. The increasing demand for high-efficiency variable-capacity equipment drove this product’s development, said Ken Ely, director of residential product management.
Goodman® Mfg. Co.
Angled Service Ports and Enhanced Contactor
Taking bronze is the angled service ports and enhanced contactor feature from Goodman® Manufacturing. This optimized design feature allows technicians to easily verify the charge on a cooling system without competing for space with sheet metal housing, tubing, or other components. The 45-degree angle fits comfortably within the existing packaging and provides an easy-access flared copper service valve, which is ready to braze right out of the box. The elevated contactor offers a simple yet innovative solution to not having enough room.
Lennox Intl. Inc.
Lennox® PureAir™ S
This air purification system builds upon the cleaning technology of the Healthy Climate® PureAir, adding smart features and enhancements that enable dealers to offer a whole new level of serviceability, according to Lennox. PureAir technology utilizes a MERV 16 filter with carbon to provide hospital-grade particulate filtration along with a UVA light and proprietary catalyst, which react together to destroy harmful gases and odors.
RGF Environmental Group
Clear Sky MS
No maintenance and low energy were the calling cards for this year’s silver winner, the Clear Sky™ MS bi-polar ion generator from RGF Environmental Group. Intended for residential or commercial use, the Clear Sky MS uses an included adhesive-backed hook and loop fasteners to install atop all standard mini splits with no tools required. Its separated quad ion emitters then provide bi-polar ionization, arming it to do battle with the IAQ demands of kitchens, bathroom, and smoking areas as it reduces particulate matter, allergens, bacteria, viruses, and mold spores.
Testo 440 Air Velocity and IAQ Meter
The space- and time-saving ability to measure the full array of air velocity and IAQ parameters with a single instrument helped make the case for the bronze medalist — Testo’s 440 Air Velocity and IAQ Meter. Every Testo 440 probe head is interchangeable into the same universal handle, in either wired or Bluetooth form. Users can actually connect up to three probes at once via Bluetooth, wired, or as a type K thermocouple connector.
Nest Labs Inc.
Nest Thermostat E Nest Temperature Sensor
Over a year of research and design went into the 2018 Dealer Design Awards gold-winning product in the Residential Controls category. After listening to feedback from both contractors and consumers for a more basic, easy-to-use, and cost-effective thermostat, Nest created the Nest Thermostat E.
Lennox Intl. Inc.
iComfort E30 Universal Smart Thermostat
The thermostat is designed with a 7-inch HD color capacitive touchscreen that is easy to view and navigate. The HD display also provides a seven-day weather and air quality forecast and will display screen savers that will mimic the outdoor weather conditions for the user. It is designed with a magnetic mount lock option that allows for convenient access to the wiring for installation and service needs.
iO HVAC Controls
6-Zone Universal Zone Control Panel with ESP
Taking bronze is the 6-Zone Universal Zone Control Panel with ESP from iO HVAC Controls. The ZP6-ESP is a six-zone, forced-air zone control panel that can be used with heat/cool, heat pump, and dual-fuel systems. Most importantly, it eliminates the need for a bypass damper in zoning applications. The number of zones can be expanded using three-zone expansion panels for up to 12 individual zones.
Copeland Scroll™ Fractional Horsepower Compressors
As a response to market needs, Emerson spent more than three years researching and designing its 2018 Dealer Design Award gold-winning product in the Refrigeration and Ice Machines category. The new Copeland Scroll™ fractional-horsepower compressor with a capacity range between 0.75 and 1.25 hp came about as a result of energy efficiency regulations, as well as the growing use of lower-GWP refrigerants.
Heat Transfer Products Group
QV-Series 15- to 100-horsepower Condensing Units™
The QV-Series Condensing Units™ from Heat Transfer Products Group (HTPG) won silver in this category. These vertical airflow condensing units set the new standard for efficiency, reliability, and serviceability to meet the needs of the food processing, industrial cooling, and warehousing industries, said Raleigh Thompson, marketing manager.
Danfoss Optyma™ Slim Condensing Units
Taking bronze is Danfoss’ Optyma™ Slim condensing unit, which is designed specifically for walk-in coolers and freezers in North America. These condensing units are constructed for a long, problem-free life, said Dean Groff, regional marketing manager, and are built using only the highest-quality Danfoss components.
T6 Electrical Tester
Taking home the golden honors in the Testing and Monitoring category of this year’s Dealer Design Awards is the T6 Electrical Tester from Fluke Corp. The product, first introduced to the marketplace in September 2017, went through years of research before launching.
TSI Inc. stepped up to the plate swinging for the fences with its AirPro Solutions® offering, winning over our group of contractor judges and securing the silver award in this category.
Dwyer Instruments Inc.
Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter
The Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter, Series IEF, is an adjustable insertion flowmeter, featuring electromagnetic technology that accurately and reliably measures fluid velocity while providing several continuous signal outputs.
Delta Breez GRB80HLED
Energy standards and feedback from the field were the impetus behind the Delta Breez GreenBuilder GBR80HLED by Delta Electronics, the gold-winning product in the 2018 Dealer Design Awards for the Ventilation Products category.
Winning silver in this category was Ruskin’s XP500WD Louver, which provides both FEMA impact protection as well as Class A wind-driven rain protection. FEMA protection, as well as being required for FEMA shelters, is highly desired for projects like data centers, where equipment needs to stay dry to function properly.
Nortek Global HVAC
ZQYRA Demand Ventilator
The ZQYRA Demand Ventilator by Nortek Global HVAC won the bronze award in this category. It’s a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) unit that includes a fully integrated heat pump and total enthalpy wheel combination to treat air that ranges between minus 10° to 115°F ambient.