Canadian Consulting Engineer

2014 AHR Expo Product Review

January 1, 2014
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

At the 2014 AHR Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York City January 21-23, 1,900 manufacturers and suppliers exhibited their wares to a record 43,000 attendees.

At the 2014 AHR Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York City January 21-23, 1,900 manufacturers and suppliers exhibited their wares to a record 43,000 attendees.

Among the myriad HVAC&R products that were on display, many were dedicated to saving energy or water resources. Following is a sample.


Quebec-based Distech Controls showcased several products for its automation and energy management suite, which is based on open standards. The EC-NetAX unified web-based building management platform is powered by the Niagara Framework and incorporates a range of BACNet and LonMark  field devices. The new Integrated Room Control Solution enables room occupants to personally and remotely control their HVAC, lighting and shading devices. The Allure EC-Smart Vue is a four-in-one communicating sensor for temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and motion. It displays a green leaf pattern that shows occupant how their settings affect the energy demand.

Founded by a controls specialist in 1995, Distech has supplied large projects in the U.S. and around the world from its plant in Brossard.

There was a lot of buzz around the EnOcean Alliance booth, where batteryless, energy-harvesting technology was on display. EnOcean’s technology (originally developed in Germany) is a protocol integrated into wireless devices like sensors, switches and valves. The chip allows the device to harvest its own energy in order to operate. The energy is collected from motion (e.g. the motion of a light switch), from light (photovoltaics), and temperature differentials. Over 350 product manufacturers in 37 countries have bought in.

Alerton, a division of Honeywell, launched the Ascent building management system. The controller combines BACnet with Tridium’s open Niagara Framework, providing flexibility for retrofits, while the quad core processor gives fast computing power and control. The Microset 4 commercial wall sensor allows occupants to view at a glance the building system’s status.


Grundfos launched Ecademy, its online training platform to educate consulting engineers, installers and others in selecting pumps for HVAC & R systems. The training portal provides global as well as local content in a variety of formats, and includes learning on products, applications and industry standards. In Europe the Grundfos Ecademy was launched in 2006 and now has 30,000 members.

Armstrong Fluid Technology launched ADEPT, its pump selection software program. The intuitive screen allows users to view line drawings, multi-curves, photos, voltage, motor size, inlets, accessories, construction options, etc. The program then lists the pumps that meet the user’s criteria along with their energy efficiency and costs.

The Bell & Gossett brand Series e-1510 single stage end suction centrifugal pumps were introduced by Xylem. The water technology company has redesigned the complete best-in-class 1510 pump into the e-1510 to provide highly efficient end-suction for HVAC and plumbing applications.


From Poland, executives from VTS Group called a press conference to announce their launch in North America. VTS manufactures the Ventus range of air-handling units and claims to have become the leading provider in Central Europe, including Russia, since launching in 2009. The units have a frameless casing consisting of polyurethane sandwich panels that eliminate thermal bridging, and a plenum fan with a backward curved impeller that is directly driven by an efficient electric motor. VTS’ new plant in Georgia is due to start shipping units by February. Their goal is to deliver the “plug and play” units within the U.S. in seven days.

ebm-papst presented FlowGrid, a patent-pending air-inlet grill that can dramatically reduce noise levels in HVAC air moving equipment. Developed for axial and centrifugal fans, the grill’s design weakens “vortex strings” that create turbulence in the fan blades. The device reduces overall sound pressure by up to 3.9 dB(A), and reduces the especially unpleasant low-frequency noise by up to 16 decibels.

LG Electronics promoted its variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technologies, pointing out that the heating-cooling systems require no cooling towers, ducts or air-handling units. The Art Cool Gallery indoor unit (which allows the wall-mounted cassette to be concealed by personalized artwork or photography) has now been combined with LG’s multi-zone duct-free split heat pump system, allowing up to eight separate zones to be serviced with up to 54,000 Btu/h system capacity.

Neptronic, a Montreal- based company, featured its SKD direct steam injection humidifier. The Multi-Steam HDR re-boils the condensate generated in its dispersion channels. The result is drain-free operations that eliminate water waste and save energy.


Uponor displayed a 7-pipe array of PEX piping for commercial potable and heating/cooling water systems. In addition to producing its smaller diameter piping for radiant system hydronics and other uses, the company is now making larger diameter pipe, as well as tees and multiports, suited for the commercial plumbing market, The new ProPEX EP 45-degree Elbow, for example, comes in 1½” and 2” sizes. The PEX piping is connected mechanically, without chemicals or welding, using a special tool that expands the pipe connector and then releases it, creating a durable connection that holds tight with 1,000 pounds of force.

One of Navien’s products was the condensing tankless water heater system combined with an air handling unit which received the first CAN/CSA P.9-11 rating in November. Navien’s NPE-240A is combined with SunTherm’s MMVE air handling unit for combined forced air space and water heating. Effective April 1, combined air-water systems will need to have the CAN/CSA testing rating in order to be recognized by the Energy Star Canada new homes program.


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