North America’s largest HVAC/R trade show has announced the winners of its coveted Innovation Awards. The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, or better known as the AHR Expo, will return to the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, from Feb. 6 to 8.
The Innovation Awards is broken into 10 industry categories, including building automation, cooling, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, sustainable solutions, tools & instruments, and ventilation.
“The awards program experiences growth year-on-year,” said Mark Stevens, show manager of the AHR Expo. “This is a direct correlation to just how fast our industry is growing through innovation. The awards are a key indicator of how HVAC/R is being called upon to solve worldwide issues at a rapid pace. We aim to highlight this innovation trajectory and honour those that are pushing the bar to create real solutions to difficult problems.”
Entrants are evaluated based on overall innovative design, creativity of the product or service offered, product or technology real-world application, as well as overall potential market impact, reports the show.
This year’s winners are as follows:
Building Automation: Cielo WiGle Inc. (Booth #C6700) — The Cielo Breeze Max is a smart thermostat for mini-split, windows, and portable air conditioners. It is equipped with an auto-detection algorithm that automatically detects any air conditioner brand or model, making it universally compatible with over 200 brands and over 5,000 air conditioner models. It works with a 5V adapter or can be hard-wired through 12/18/24 volts AC or DC. Max is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, IFTTT, and Siri shortcuts.
Cooling: Chemours (Booth #C6425) — Chemours introduces its Opteon XL41, a non-ozone depleting, low global warming potential refrigerant replacement for R-410A in residential and light commercial air conditioning and scroll chiller applications. It provides 78 per cent GWP from R-410A, while remaining compatible with all R-410A residential and commercial applications and lubricants.
Heating: Copeland (Booth # B1839) — Copeland’s new ZPSK7 scroll compressor is a product line of 1.5 to five-ton two-stage compressors ideally suited for residential and light commercial HVAC applications. These compressors can operate at 100 per cent capacity or as low as 65 per cent capacity based on heating/cooling demand. When partial load is needed, bypass ports inside the compression chamber open, which partially unloads the compressor. When demand increases, the modulation control valve is activated, sealing the bypass, and shifting capacity to 100 per cent.
Indoor Air Quality: Belimo Americas (Booth #B315) — Belimo’s new room sensors can measure temperature, humidity, dew point, and CO2 with or without an ePaper touch display. Integrated near-field communication provides easy field adjustability, commissioning, remote display capabilities, and troubleshooting even without power. Non-powered configuration allows it to be set up before installation.
Plumbing: Caleffi (Booth#B3317) — The PresCal HP piston-type pressure reducing valve by Caleffi ensures stable water pressure control while withstanding inlet pressure or punishing downstream water hammer. It’s ideal for staged pressure control or more demanding applications that are fraught with extreme pressure fluctuations. The high-range model serves as a first stage PRV in a two-stage application. The low-range model serves as a second stage, or as a stand-alone PRV for pressure spikes.
Refrigeration: Retail Solutions (Booth #B1839) — The Copeland ZFW variable speed scroll solution includes brushless permanent magnet motor-based scrolls, and variable frequency drives targeted for low-temperature, stationary refrigeration applications. It has a speed range of 1,000 to 7,000 rpm and is universally applicable for fans, pumps, and other electric motors. Available with A1 refrigerants and, moving forward, A2L approval by 2024.
Software: cove.tool (Booth #B4561) — Built for mechanical engineers, the loadmodeling.tool establishes peak cooling and heating loads to design and size the mechanical system using the EnergyPlus engine. As it is web-based, mechanical engineers can access the tool anywhere, including results, which means large files won’t have to be shared manually. Multiple engineers can also simultaneously work on the platform.
Sustainable Solutions: Taco Comfort Solutions (Booth # B1639) — System M is an air-to-water heat pump system that can provide heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. The outdoor heat pump integrates with Taco’s indoor HydroBox to provide a complete system with only six pipe connections required. A plug-n-play appliance, its packaged design makes installation less intrusive, with no refrigerant or gas lines needed.
Tools & Instruments: Navac (Booth #C6364) — Navac introduces its new NEF6LM BreakFree power flaring tool. It is designed to perform reliably in harsh environments and is equipped with a rechargeable battery. Navac’s BreakFree tool delivers fully automatic flaring operation and reduces the refrigerant leaks in HVAC systems.
Ventilation: SmartD Technologies (Booth #5948) — SmartD’s Clean Power VFD integrates wide-bandgap semiconductors into its multi-level inverter architecture and combines them with patented modulation algorithms to produce a pure-sine wave electrical signal without the need for external filters.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this year’s winners as well as to continue to champion innovation among our industry professionals,” said Stevens. “In the last few years, HVAC/R has taken on a wider audience outside of our direct industry stakeholders. It is refreshing to welcome an understanding of the value HVAC/R brings to the world in essentially every factor of daily life.”
Submissions are judged by a panel of third-party judges made up of ASHRAE members. Entrants are then evaluated based on overall innovative design, the creativity of the product or service offered, application, and potential market impact.
Each winner will also be eligible to win Product of the Year, which will be announced during the show. In order to qualify for the Innovation Awards, exhibitors must have products featured at the show. Exhibitors are permitted to submit one product per category. However, the same product may not be entered into multiple categories. Funds raised from the entry fees of the competition will be donated to the Atlanta College and Career Academy, and Atlanta-based technical high school.
The 2022 AHR Expo in Las Vegas raised $25,000, which was donated directly to the workforce development program and was used to support a local dual-HVAC high school.