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Winners of the 2019 AHR Expo Innovation Awards Announced

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


Each year, products in 10 different categories are recognized for being some of the HVACR industry’s most innovative products, systems and technologies. Winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluated each award entry based on its innovative design, creativity, application, value and market impact. Winners from each award category will be formally recognized during the 2019 AHR Expo, Jan. 14-16 at the Georgia World Congress in Atlanta.

This year’s Winners and finalists selected within the categories of building automation, cooling, green building, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, tools and instruments, and ventilation are:

innovationBUILDING AUTOMATION Winner: Automated Logic Corporation / Innovation: OptiFlex virtual integrator is a software-based integration platform for data monitoring across diverse building systems. OptiFlex provides scalable integration solutions ideal for large integration projects such as data centers, hospitals and college campuses. The virtual integrator supports up to 50,000 data points from a single computing point, eliminating the need for multiple hardware gateways, which often require costly materials and labor, and have installation limitations due to space constraints in most mechanical rooms. It supports BACnet IP and Modbus TCP/IP, as well as a new pluggable protocol technology that allows additional protocol additions. Finalists in this category include: Building Automation Products, Inc./BAPI (BAPI Wireless 900 MHz Temperature and Humidity System); Delta Controls Inc. (O3 Sensor Hub); and Emerson (Supervisory Controls).

innovationCOOLING Winner: Johnson Controls, Inc. / Innovation: YORK YZ Magnetic Bearing Centrifugal Chiller, a fully-optimized chiller built with next-generation low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant to increase energy efficiency. The YORK YZ provides centrifugal-chiller energy efficiencies as low as 0.1kW/ton, and less in off-design conditions where typical fixed-speed chillers experience performance issues. It has the potential to reduce annual electricity consumption by an average of 35%. The unit was designed with a holistic approach to system design, with engineering optimization for every component around R-1233zd—a next generation, low-pressure refrigerant—and is a unique combination of advanced technologies, including a variable-speed magnetic bearing compressor, high-speed hermetic induction motor, falling film evaporator, adaptive capacity control logic and cloud-based analytics. Finalists in this category include: ArctiChill (ACA or ACW Magnetic Bearing Chillers with Arctic Boost Option); Chemours (Opteon XP30 refrigerant); and Samsung HVAC of America (Wind-Free 4-way cassette mini-split).

innovationGREEN BUILDING Winner: enVerid Systems / Innovation: HVAC Load Reduction (HLR) module 1000E-M, an indoor air scrubber module designed to lower energy wastage from HVAC systems, reduces the amount of outside air needed for ventilation by 60-80%. This results in increased energy efficiency and annual energy savings of 20-30% with peak capacity reductions of 10- 20 tons per HLR 1000E-M module. The HLR 1000E-M is fully compliant with ASHRAE Standard 62.1 Indoor Air Quality Procedure (IAQP) and the international mechanical code (IMC). The innovative design is a first-of-its-kind solution that safely removes all molecular contaminants, including carbon dioxide (CO2), formaldehyde and a full range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from indoor air. Finalists in this category include: Carrier (AquaEdge 19DV centrifugal chiller); Smardt Chiller Group Inc. (Smardt DC water cooled chiller); and Software Motor Company (SMC Smart Motor System).

innovationHEATING Winner: Regal / Innovation: Genteq Ensite motor, an electronically commutated motor specifically designed for furnace application, enables customers to comply with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fan Energy Rating (FER) regulatory requirements taking effect in July of 2019. The Genteq Ensite motor is a cost-efficient solution to achieving compliance without compromising on premium features such as advanced Blak Box and Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities that support Internet of Things (IoT) and preventive maintenance. Finalists in this category include: ArctiChill (SuperMod variable speed modular chiller platform); Des Champs Technologies (Model Air-Trap IPN); and Emerson (Universal single-stage furnace control for ECMx blower motor).

innovationINDOOR AIR QUALITY Winner: CPS Products, Inc. / Innovation: IAQ SmartAir is a smart tool used for identifying, diagnosing and solving IAQ issues. This tool is designed to diagnose more accurate true read indoor air quality issues, improve sales and enhance overall IAQ professional expertise. Its design walks professionals through the measuring process and provides a compiled list of IAQ issues and potential solutions based on collected and analyzed data. The IAQ SmartAir™ connects to the internet via WiFi for remote monitoring and evaluation, and allows professionals to create on-site customer reports and job quotations. Finalists in this category include: Fresh-Aire UV (Mini UV DST-LED disinfection system for mini-split A/C systems); and Nortec [Condair] (DRAABE TrePur humidifier and evaporative cooler).

innovationPLUMBING Winner: Anvil International / Innovation: AnvilPress Copper, Copper Press Fittings and Coupling Systems are designed with patented Visual Indicator technology that provides 200 percent more sealing surface than typical fittings for leak prevention. The system is built with a double-fold sealing characteristic and a replaceable O-ring seal design that supports superior pressure and tensile performance. Its Virtual Indicator and Burr-Stop membrane solve the top two causes of leaks: improperly pressed fittings and burrs on the tube that damage the O-ring during installation. Finalists in this category include: Caleffi Hydronic Solutions (ThermoSetter thermal balancing valve); Emerson (RIDGID Press Booster & rings for MegaPress XL); and Noritz America (Noritz Residential Combination Boiler).

innovationREFRIGERATION Winner: Emerson / Innovation: Copeland Scroll fractional-horsepower, low-temperature compressors use liquid injection technology and cooling discharge temperatures to reduce compressor stress and meet federal regulatory requirements. With offerings ranging from ¾ to 1 ½, OEMs can combine certain compliance efforts into a single design cycle for smaller low-to-medium temperature applications that deliver high efficiency with reliable performance. The Copeland Scroll is wide-ranged and multi-refrigerant capable with low sound and vibration. It is an ideal solution for supermarkets, restaurants and convenience store operations. Finalists in this category include: Baltimore Aircoil Company (TrilliumSeries adiabatic condenser); and DunAn Microstaq, Inc. (Silicon Refrigeration Valve).

innovationSOFTWARE Winner: Taco Comfort Solutions / Innovation: Taco Tags featuring eLink is a cloud-based support program that provides users with a web-based, factory-maintained knowledge base on their mobile device via NFC technology. The Taco Tag is an IC chip and antenna wrapped in silicone designed to offer durability under the most extreme conditions of heat and weather. It works using power from a user’s devices, eliminating the need for wires or external batteries. Each tag provides direct access to customer support, along with all vital information specific to each product, and is connected to the eLink cloud-based service system where users can store and access order information, product specifications, instruction sheets, suggested replacement parts, CAD files, technical support, catalogs, local sales representative information and project management. Finalists in this category include: BreezoMeter Ltd. (Air quality and pollen data API); and Emerson (Sensi Multiple Thermostat Manager).

innovationTOOLS & INSTRUMENTS Winner: Dwyer Instruments / Innovation: The Wireless Hydronic Balancing Kit, Series 490W, is a manometer designed to provide accurate and easy operation for HVAC professionals. The kit measures the pressure drop across HVAC balancing valves by using wireless sensors, a versatile handheld and Bluetooth communication. Users can select valves for measurement from a predetermined list or through manual input of CV values. The handheld monitor allows for the flow of up to three valves at a time, with a single operator to monitor and balance a hydronic system in less time compared to traditional methods. Finalists in this category include: Marketair, Inc. (Easybend); and Ritchie Engineering Co., Inc. (YELLOW JACKET P51-870 TITAN Digital Manifold).

innovationVENTILATION Winner: Energy Wall / Innovation: The Energy Wall Universal ERV (U-ERV) is an energy recovery ventilator that is three times smaller and lighter than current technologies available on the market. It weighs only 90 pounds, allowing for easy installation of the fully-functional, independent system. A small footprint allows the modules to be hand-carried and assembled on site, where they operate with a single duct connection and point-of-power and control. This provides extreme redundancy for mission-critical facilities. It is also compliant with UL 900 fire/smoke standards and operates in all six orientations. Finalists in this category include: Continental Fan Manufacturing Inc. (TEK-MAX plug fan); LG Electronics USA, Inc. (LG AHU conversion kit); and Triatek (EcoAir Valve).