Canadian Consulting Engineer

Record-setting CMPX prepares industry for future

March 28, 2024
By Peter Saunders

Crowds gathered at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre's South Building.

CMPX 2024

Photo by Peter Saunders.

The Canadian Mechanical & Plumbing Expo (CMPX) returned to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) last week, drawing record-setting crowds over three days. The biennial show aims to gather the entire heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) and plumbing value chain—including engineers, architects, contractors, manufacturers, wholesalers, educators and students—to connect and learn.

Jointly produced by the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH), CMPX had already built strong momentum in recent years. Although it was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its subsequent return in 2022 managed to draw 1,000-plus more registrants than the 2018 edition (which had itself seen an attendance boost over 2016). This year, the event welcomed 13,400 participants, representing a 54% increase over 2022.

Moving to an expanded floor in the MTCC’s south building, rather than the north as in past years, CMPX 2024 ran from Mar. 20 to 22 and featured equipment and services from more than 500 brands, including indoor air quality (IAQ), building automation and control, software, tools and instruments.

Beyond the booths, the show agenda included learning and networking opportunities. Industry experts discussed trends, advances and best practices at the CMPX Learning Forum, industry professionals shared tips and stories at the Social Hub and Podcast Theatre and both secondary and post-secondary students tested their expertise in the HVACR Skills Competition.

HVACR Skills Competition

Photo by Peter Saunders.

Kevin Freidt, director of product management and technical support for Caleffi North America, delivered one of the show’s first seminars, discussing the important roles of hydraulic, air, dirt and magnetic separators in hydronic systems, ensuring peak performance for heating and cooling.

“Different pressures in a system will work against each other, affecting design flow and wasting energy,” he explained. “Separators prevent this conflict.”

Ryan McAndrews, manager of controls and energy solutions for Copeland, outlined control strategies for carbon dioxide (CO2) in refrigeration applications.

“CO₂ removes a lot of heat, but control involves navigating its unique thermodynamic characteristics as a refrigerant,” he said. “Transcritical CO₂ systems operate above CO₂’s critical point, where it transitions directly between liquid and gas phases. Effective control strategies are essential to optimize performance under these conditions.”

Lorenzo Belanger, head of integrated solutions at Heat Transfer Solutions (HTS) and its subsidiary, KORE Solutions, explored the cybersecurity threats facing many of today’s building automation system (BAS) users.

“A typical BAS uses supervisory software networked to field controllers,” he explained. “You get remote access, but so does everyone else in the world! It is important to reduce your ‘attack surface’ by limiting local Internet access, building an enterprise firewall between the supervisory software and the remote operator, with encrypted traffic.”

Mechanical engineer Rizwan Ullah, as a technical advisor to the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), described recent and upcoming changes to the National Model Codes, including the National Plumbing Code (NPC), the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) and Section 9.36 of the National Building Code (NBC), with a focus on voluntary, nationally harmonized, progressive and proactive tiers for energy performance compliance.

“The second public review of changes for NECB 2025 will close on Apr. 29, but the third will open on Oct. 21 and close on Dec. 16,” he noted. “Major topics include improvements to the alteration of existing buildings for energy efficiency, further development of energy efficiency requirements and measurement of operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”

CIPH presentation

CIPH technical advisor David Hughes discussed the implications of Canada’s net-zero targets. Photo by Peter Saunders.

On the show’s final day, CIPH technical advisor David Hughes, who has more than 40 years’ experience in plumbing and heating, discussed the implications of Canada’s net-zero targets to the mechanical industry.

“Canada will need to double or triple power from non-emitting sources by 2035 compared to today,” he said. “We are on board with addressing the climate change, but we will need practical tools to do so.”

Perhaps fittingly, then, the learning forum wrapped up with Kit Milnes of real estate investment firm Kingsett Capital, Mark Hutchinson of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and Dan Stranges, P.Eng., of Continual Energy exploring HVACR’s role in decarbonizing buildings.

“HVACR is critical to earning our Zero Carbon Building Standard certification,” noted CaGBC’s Hutchinson, “whether increasing energy efficiency, limiting combustion through the electrification of space and water heating or reporting and mitigating refrigerants.”

Milnes and Stranges showcased the real-world example of Toronto’s Scotia Plaza, an 18-storey, 250,000-sf Class A office building constructed in 1989 and renovated in 2008.

“KingSett asked us to decarbonize this building at 100 Yonge Street without disrupting its tenants. “Our research and development (R&D) team had been looking at electrified boiler replacement technology for a few years. We ended up establishing Ark Heat, a new manufacturer of electrical heating systems. We designed and replaced the tower’s heating plant and achieved a 53% energy reduction and 41% cost reduction compared to 2019 baselines.”

On that note of positive change, one can only wonder what other advances will have been made by the time CMPX returns to the MTCC with its next edition on Mar. 25 to 27, 2026!

CMPX 2024 exit

Photo by Peter Saunders.


Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories