2017 AHR Expo Innovation Awards Winners

This annual awards competition recognizes inventive and original products, systems, and technologies in 10 categories related to HVAC systems.

At AHR Expo, the heating and ventilation show co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI this past week in Las Vegas, winners of the 2017 AHR Expo (International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition) Innovation Awards were recognized.ahr_2017_innovation_awards This annual awards competition honors the most inventive and original HVAC products, systems, and technologies showcased at each year’s AHR Expo in the categories of: Building Automation; Cooling; Green Building; Heating; Indoor Air Quality; Plumbing; Refrigeration; Software; Tools & Instruments; and Ventilation.

Winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluated all award entries based on innovative design, creativity, application, value, and market impact.

Listed by category, the 2017 AHR Expo Innovation Award winners are:

Building Automation
Danfoss, for Danfoss Enterprise Services

Designed specifically for food retail applications, Danfoss Enterprise Services is a cloud-based service delivery platform that collects a range of data points from connected devices to provide powerful insight into nearly every aspect of HVACR operations, energy management and usage, benchmarking, and safety. Danfoss Enterprise Services provides real-time, actionable information that enables store management to make fast decisions which translate to notable savings, with modules (available à la carte or in structured bundles) to monitor an array of parameters, including alarm management, compressor status, leak detection and refrigerant levels. Functions including password lockdown, global setpoint control, and HACCP, TQI and executive reporting further streamline store operations management. Services such as energy information benchmarking, a continuous commissioning process, demand response and remote assist promote maximized energy efficiency and savings, while helping to troubleshoot and adjust overall HVACR system functions.

Daikin Applied, for Pathfinder® Air-cooled Screw Chillers with Variable Volume Ratio (VVR) Technology

The new Daikin Pathfinder AWV air-cooled screw chiller features an industry-first Variable Volume Ratio (VVR) technology which allows the chiller’s compressor to adjust its own internal compression ratio as water and air temperatures fluctuate. With VVR technology, its compressor senses the amount of lift needed and adjusts the compression ratio automatically to provide optimal efficiency under any operating condition, equating to reduced energy use, cost of ownership, and carbon footprint. The Daikin Pathfinder AWV air-cooled screw chiller also features VVR slides that operate on the discharge side of the screw to control the refrigerant compression ratio without altering the per-stroke refrigerant volume, unlike typical capacity control slide valves. Variable frequency drives (VFDs) are used in conjunction with the VVR slides to control motor speed, and subsequently compressor capacity. This results in superior performance under AHRI-standard conditions, and in real-world scenarios in which air and water temperatures can fluctuate greatly.

Green Building
Carrier, for Dual Stage Relief Economizer (DSRE)

Carrier’s Dual Stage Relief Economizer (DSRE) for light commercial rooftop units combines a traditional economizer with a means of relieving building pressure without the use of a power-consuming device. DSRE uniquely combines an air economizer with two non-powered pressure relief stages, facilitating the relief of pressure during normal ventilation operation and during economizer free cooling. In many applications, DSRE also eliminates the need for a powered exhaust or a separate pressure relief system, thus reducing both installation costs and building energy consumption. In addition to the relief capability, DSRE allows customers to minimize electrical feeds and breakers for installation, and to lower their initial first cost by enabling use of a smaller electrical feed and breaker. According to a recent Carrier energy model analysis, a typical 10-ton DSRE unit can achieve between $189 and $389 in annual savings (based on $0.12 kw/hr and between 1,200-2,400 hours of economizer operation).

Noritz America, for Noritz Combination Boiler

Designed for residential applications, the Noritz Combination Boiler delivers hot water for both plumbing and hydronic heating applications, while managing the switch between uses without a perceivable difference in performance. With 95% annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), it is ENERGY STAR rated to deliver maximum operational cost savings. The Noritz Combination Boiler’s compact, 90-pound package delivers up to 9.2 gallons per minute of domestic hot water — nearly twice the flow of comparable units. A unique flow control valve also facilitates maximum domestic hot water flow rate at stable temperatures and regardless of incoming water temperature. The boiler’s external and booster pump drive terminals (up to 2 amps) do not require a relay, and its integrated condensing technology lowers exhaust temperatures to a level at which stainless steel venting material is no longer required.

Indoor Air Quality
Nortec Humidity, for Nortec GS Series – CS Model (Nortec GS CS) Humidifier

A gas-fired isothermal humidifier producing hygienic and atmospheric steam, the Nortec GS Series CS Model Humidifier fulfills a wide range of humidification requirements for indoor environments. Direct building management integration allows the GS CS humidifier to deliver necessary steam quantities both inside duct systems and directly into a space, thus more quickly elevating indoor humidity conditions to required set points. Its unique gas-fired operation — the first to employ condensing technology to facilitate high-efficiency performance — is powered with either natural gas or propane, allowing for flexible and economical function. Delivering more than 93% total efficiency, the GS CS humidifier is also first in the industry to employ a secondary heat exchanger to pre-heat water before entering the tank, while subsequently cooling down combustion exhaust gasses. The result is a reduction of exhaust gas temperatures by more than 50% (when compared to the current market standard-efficiency of 80%), thus allowing for flexibility in venting options (both BH and CPVC). A low-emissions (NX) version of the GS CS humidifier is also available, offering further reduced efficiency (>88%), and with low NOx emissions of approximately 7 ppm (falling within SCAQMD emissions standards for gas-fired humidifiers).

Taco, Inc., for SmartPlug Smart Hot Water Recirculation Control

Designed for residential applications, the SmartPlug Smart Hot Water Recirculation Control from Taco allows for easy installation onto existing domestic hot water recirculation pump systems to more efficiently manage on-demand hot water delivery. The plug-in 115-volt control features technology to learn and record a homeowner’s hot water usage pattern, and employ the resulting data to operate a home’s hot water recirculation pump precisely when hot water is typically required. While hot water recirculation pumps typically run continuously or are controlled with an aquastat or timer, SmartPlug provides fully automatic and self-adjusting pump operation — only when hot water is desired. Usage patterns are monitored and recorded on a daily and weekly basis, with the SmartPlug system regularly refreshing data and adjusting any changes to hot water usage patterns. The result is a significant increase in water heater operational efficiency.

Danfoss, for Danfoss CTM (Electrical Controlled Transcritical Multi Ejector)

The Danfoss CTM is an electrically controlled multi-ejector designed specifically for the warm climate operation of transcritical CO2 systems in food retail applications. Capable of recovering energy while controlling the high pressure of the transcritical application, the CTM ejector delivers value to the application through significant (20% or greater) improvements in energy efficiency. This is achieved by employing energy recovered from the gas cooler and transferring it to increase the pressure of gas being compressed by parallel compressors, thus reducing overall compressor load. As the first commercially viable solution engineered to overcome energy penalties associated with operating transcritical CO2 systems in high ambient temperatures, the CTM ejector also eliminates need for redundant, cascade refrigeration systems. In cooler and more temperate climates, it can deliver even further energy saving benefits, with ejectors that create a low pressure at high velocities to optimize operational efficiency in a wide range of load conditions.

Nidec Motor Corporation / U.S. MOTORS®, for Rescue Select Programming App

The Rescue Select Programming App has been developed to streamline programming of the Rescue Select Truck Stock motor — an electronically commutated (EC), constant torque, aftermarket motor developed for use in residential and light commercial blower motor replacement applications. Powered by a cloud-based web service, the Rescue Select Programming App can be accessed via any smartphone or compatible wifi-enabled device. The Rescue Select Truck Stock motor and Programming App work in tandem to help service contractors identify an original blower motor’s particular horsepower ratings and operating parameters (ex. torque load, fan speed, rotation direction), and program an in-stock replacement motor to mimic that original performance profile. This allows a service contractor to stock a smaller range of aftermarket motors and use them to replace nearly any original blower motor or other electrically-powered device or system. Additionally, programming and installation are streamlined directly at the point of replacement, versus off site/in the shop. The first to provide HVACR service contractors with the ability to program a replacement blower motor at the point of installation, the Rescue Select Programming App is driven by a continuously updated database populated with thousands of motor profiles.

Tools & Instruments

The new PEXGUN from PEXOLOGY is an automatic, lightweight and compact handheld tool that attaches PEX pipe to rebar or wire mesh in less than one second. Ideal for use in radiant heating and cooling, and snow and ice melt applications, the PEXGUN facilitates affixations that are three times faster than plastic staples, and five times faster than zip ties. With typical radiant system installations requiring thousands of ties, PEXGUN can notably reduce overall installation time, while minimizing repetitive strain on the installer. An optional extension arm provides further installer relief, enabling affixations without bending or kneeling.

Titus, for Helios Digital Diffuser

The Titus Helios is a wireless digital variable air volume (VAV) diffuser, providing ventilation for indoor spaces to elevate occupant comfort and improve indoor air quality. The HVACR industry’s first digital diffuser powered by both ambient light and direct sunlight, Helios features a wireless solar cell that is easily installed and provides notable energy savings. Ideal for use in a wide range of applications — including office, healthcare, and educational environments — the Titus Helios provides highly efficient, industry leading technology for promoting healthy indoor environments.