AHR Expo announces 2021 innovation award winners


Chicago, Illinois—The upcoming AHR Expo cancelled their in-person tradeshow due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other tradeshows, they have opted to make their event virtual. This hasn’t stopped the show from announcing the winners for their annual competition which honours the latest industry technology: the AHR Expo Innovation Awards.

Products go up against each other in a variety of categories, which include building automation, cooling, green building, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, tools and instruments, and ventilation.

Winners are selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluate all award entries based on design, creativity, application, value, and market impact. Normally, the winners are honoured for their innovative technology during an awards ceremony held at the tradeshow. In addition, a “Product of the Year” award is given to one company for its product.

This year’s winners are as followed:

Building Automation: Infinitum Electric— The IEq is an alternative solution for older insulated gate bipolar transistors based VFDs. The silicon carbide VFD offers a more efficient motor controller with integrated IoT capabilities in one single unit.

Cooling: Emerson—The Copeland ZPK7 scroll compressor developed by Emerson is a fixed speed compressor, now in its seventh generation. It is available in 1.5 to five-ton and can be applied in both residential and commercial applications. Its compressors are optimized for use with R410A refrigerant but will also offer a lineup optimized for low GWP refrigerants, such as R32 and R454B.

Green Building: Advanced Cooling Technologies—Advanced Cooling Technologies’ AAHX pump-assisted split loop energy recovery heat exchanger works by combining traditional air-to-air heat pipe technology with pumped two-phase systems that take advantage of both operational modes. In passive mode, the heat exchanger operates as a heat pipe with no electrical input required. When the relative temperature of the two air streams is reversed, a small pump is utilized to maintain the transfer of energy. It is compatible with large systems or distance.

Heating: Viega—The Radiant Auto-Balancing System (RABS) introduces the ability to monitor the temperature of every return circuit in a radiant system. The controls actuates flow of conditioned water to each loop using a learned algorithm to increase the efficiency of a radiant installation. Circuit lengths no longer need to be designed to be similar lengths or manually balanced using flow controls on the manifold. The system maintains set temperatures through changes in variables without user input.

Indoor Air Quality: Des Champs Technologies—Des Champs Technologies series PLP Air-Trap offers a new concept in condensate trap design condensate removed from air conditioning or other condensing equipment while blocking airflow all year and requires only two seven-eighth-inch height for positive 0-40-inch WC pressure. The PLP was designed specifically for HVAC equipment and doesn’t require standing water to prevent air leakage.

Plumbing: Caleffi Hydronic Solutions—The Caleffi AngleMix 520 series thermostatic mixing valve controls mixed water temperature in residential and commercial domestic hot water systems. The angle-styled body minimized the number of elbows required which reduces overall installation cost. It mounts at the tank-type or tankless-type water heater outlet and has a lockable setpoint adjustment knob. Available in a wide variety of end connections, the angle-style body design is compatible with all common pipe types and connection styles from half-inch to one-inch sizes.


Refrigeration: Officine Mario Dorin Spa—Officine Mario Dorin Spa’s CD600 range CO2 transcritical compressor platform features UL and CSA approvals. Based on a six-cylinder design, the platform includes models up to 100 hp and 2,200 cfh.





Software: Willdan—The Willdan NEO net energy optimizer is a SaaS platform that provides customized ROI analyses. The energy modelling software streamlines whole building analyses of HVAC systems and energy conservation measures for commercial buildings.

Tools and Instruments: Inficon—Inficon’s D-Tek 3 Refrigerant Leak Detector provides sensitivity to find the smallest leaks for all common refrigerants. It is designed using Inficon’s infrared sensors, allowing it to search for leaks from classic refrigerants, CO2, and flammable refrigerants. It is equipped with four sensitivity levels to help search for different leak sizes and two operating models.



Ventilation: Aldes—The Car3 constant airflow regulators by Aldes features a design with dual-side airflow adjustability and airflow ranges for a variety of applications. The patent-pending airflow technology allows the user to set or change the airflow quickly, in supply or exhaust applications, without removing the Car3 from the duct. It is capable of maintaining constant airflow within +/– 10 per cent of the scheduled flow rates, within the operating range of 1.12 to 1.2-inches of water gauge differential pressure for low-pressure models, or 0.4 to 2.8-inches of water gauge with high-pressure models.

The Innovation Awards entry fees are to be donated to an organization in the region where the show was to be held. A selection committee chooses an organization that needs HVAC/R repairs, upgrades, or installations. Previous recipients include the Atlanta Police Athletic League, the Chicago Lighthouse, and Opportunity Village in Las Vegas.

A mixture of live, pre-recorded and on-demand sessions will take place February 9-11, 2021 in place of the in-person event. The 2022 event will take place in Las Vegas from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2022.


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