AHR Expo announces 2024 Innovation Award Winners
October 18, 2023 | By HPAC Magazine
The annual Innovation Awards showcase examples of how manufacturers are growing the industry in unique ways.
The 2024 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Exposition (AHR Expo) Innovation Award winners have been selected. From a long list of entries, the award winners are chosen in 10 categories: building automation, cooling, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, sustainable solutions, tools & instruments, and ventilation.
From the 10 category award winners one product will be selected as the Product of the Year, an honour which is announced during the AHR Expo, being held January 22-24, in Chicago.
The category winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE judges who evaluated entries based on innovative design, creativity, application, value, and market impact.
The innovation awards program helps serve as a metric to see the year-to-year growth in the industry and showcases good examples of how manufacturers are growing the industry in unique ways.
The 2024 AHR Expo Innovation Award Winners are:
The 75F HyperStat Split is a control that enables contractors to upgrade roof top units (RTUs) with ease. Using only two existing wires from the RTU to the thermostat, the company’s HyperStat Split provides dual enthalpy economizer, demand-control ventilation, and VFD control. The device tracks occupancy, temperature, VOC, CO2, humidity, light, sound, and optional particulate matter measurements every 60 seconds for integration into a built-in analytics package. Two standout features includes the device’s ability to work with the existing two wires provided for a standard temperature sensor while still delivering advanced control sequences showing that the hardware can work with existing infrastructure without excessive complexity, and the device’s eight onboard sensors and native cloud connectivity for real-time analytics prove that demand for indoor air quality management can be met in a modern and user-centric manner.
The DSG compressor from Danfoss is designed for low pressure refrigerants such as R1234ze with low global warming potential (GWP). These refrigerants would usually require a much larger compressor size to have the same capacity as high pressure (R410A, etc.) refrigerants. Applications for the compressor include chiller systems, with a wide range of compressor capacities available to support unit design requirements. As chiller manufacturers need to transition to lower GWP refrigerants they will need to move to medium and low-density refrigerants, and the DSG will enable a smooth transition without a significant increase in physical compressor size. It is qualified for R1234ze which is a replacement for the market that has been dominated by R134a. The DSG can also be used with other refrigerants with similar properties.
Ephoca‘s Nextac introduces a new generation of packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC) units with improved comfort control. The unit’s features include R32 refrigerant, twin rotary inverter compressor, heat pump performance to -10F (-23C), integrated ERV, MERV13, zero air leakage, self-cleaning coils, 27 dB(A) operation, in an all-metal paintable cabinet. No drain is required for cooling or heating. Often considered a “cheap, low-end” product, installers have favoured PTACs for their affordability and ease of installation. However, those living with PTACs in their homes have endured poor performance with no better options to fit existing sleeves. Nextac aims to disrupt this status quo with this new high-efficiency and quality PTAC by compelling manufacturers to enhance their PTAC lineup, making them more efficient, aesthetically pleasing and adding more insulation for quieter operation and a better seal.
Indoor Air Quality
WellStat is an indoor air quality and energy management software platform used by property and facility management teams to assure healthy air quality conditions, lower operating costs, and increase operating revenue. It provides data beneficial for achieving various sustainability certifications (LEED, WELL). WellStat is completely integrated, customizable and provides a single, unified enterprise hardware, software, and mobile platform experience. With WellStat, customers can optimize their existing asset’s performance while promoting a safer and healthier work environment. Additionally, WellStat uses the highest caliber sensors available and maintains accuracy through persistent, over-the-air calibration that never requires maintenance. Monitoring systems are tested, calibrated and always accurate, all the time including 14+ IAQ sensors monitoring: temperature, relative humidity, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, ozone, total volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, reset TVOC, dew point, wet bulb, light level, carbon monoxide, occupancy, pressure, sound DB, and duct flow.
Rheem Water Heating‘s Triton Light Duty (50- and 75-gallon) water heater is a solution for small businesses. The Triton Light Duty is an intelligent high efficiency commercial gas water heater with built-in smart monitoring and leak detection, the unit prevents downtime, and manages water heater issues. Its patented combustion system and helical coil heat exchanger provide maximum thermal efficiency and durability. The latest Triton offers up to 97% thermal efficiency and eliminates downtime with the ability to detect and prevent water heater problems before they occur thanks to LeakGuard — an all-inclusive leak detection and prevention system capable of limiting water leakage outside the tank. With porcelain/ glass-coated steel, corrosion is minimized, extending the life of the tank while its minimum weld joint construction increases durability. The unit features a built-in condensate neutralizer, which eliminates the need for a separate device to raise the pH of the condensate for safe draining.
The AirGreen -BMIL brine-based DX refrigerant system essentially creates a low dewpoint “heat pump” for cold room applications – providing <26F dewpoint supply air in a single process step. Because of its simplicity, this packaged unit design provides up to 50% energy savings while also reducing capital costs. Solid desiccant products can only achieve supply air at 55F with a 40-45F dew point, and to lower the dry bulb temperature to as low as 33F it requires three or more pieces of equipment at considerable capital and energy penalty. The unique low temperature brine solution achieves this performance because it simultaneously cools and dehumidifies. For customers, it also eliminates the downtime related to multiple defrost cycles, or worse, downtime for cleaning if condensation forms. Further, the AirGreen product only needs low regeneration temperatures (110F), compared to solid desiccants requiring 180F or more. This low temperature hybrid brine system is uniquely suited for cold storage applications and addresses a $5.1B market.
The SAM (Skill Advisor and Mentor) from Interplay Learning is the first AI-powered advisor for the skilled trades. SAM gives teams instant and personalized guidance so they can gain skills faster. Technicians can ask SAM questions and get immediate assistance while they’re learning, helping enhance comprehension and sharpen critical thinking. Interplay’s unique approach to on-demand mentorship and training provides considerable value, such as:
meeting technicians where they are, providing assistance to suit their specific needs. SAM doesn’t shortchange learning with easy answers. It guides learners towards “aha” moments and helps develop problem-solving skills. When newer techs ask SAM for help first, it can free senior techs and managers from answering basic questions and give them more time to grow the business.
Midea’s Packaged Window Heat Pump is a window-mounted cold climate air source heat pump. Developed to support multi-family buildings’ transition towards electrification, the Midea PWHP provides a cost-effective solution for buildings looking to quickly meet future sustainability requirements. Midea’s PWHP stands out in innovation and uniqueness as a window-mounted unit. Unit performance is 9,000 Btu/h heating and cooling, with the category’s highest CEER of 16.0, as of the application date, a 2.35 COP at 17F (-8C), up to SEER2 21.8 and HSPF2 11.6. This is done without the use of auxiliary heat. While high-efficiency heat-pumps typically require professional installation including new electrical circuits, the Midea PWHP operates on a 120V/15A circuit mounting to hung-type windows. The saddle design allows window view and functionality while simultaneously reducing indoor noise levels. A distinguishing feature of the Midea PWHP is a telescoping centre section that adjusts to various wall depths and a hinged outdoor section allowing for rotation during installation.
Tools and Instruments
The INFICON FLUE-Mate combustion analyzer is designed to improve combustion efficiency and safety. This tool is equipped with an integrated manometer, thermometer, CO test, cracked heat exchanger test and provides draft analysis. FLUE-Mate can generate a QR code that can be scanned with a smart device for a quick analysis report. FLUE-Mate provides useful features for user convenience and safety, like a visible water trap and filter, easy operation, automatic pump shut-off, and ambient CO monitoring. The free FLUE-Mate mobile app allows the user to do more with their combustion analyzer, allowing the user to save and share reports. Unlike many combustion analyzers, FLUE-Mate displays efficiency, O2, CO2, CO and flue gas temperature readings all on one screen. FLUE-Mate’s water trap and filter assembly is designed to always be upright and easy to see, so users always know when to change the filter or empty the trap and keep the FLUE-Mate protected. The automatic pump shut-off feature stops flow when a high level of CO is detected, saving the CO sensor from being poisoned and saving customers an expensive repair bill.
The SAV-Smart Air Valve from HVAC Manufacturing and Technology Inc. is an economical self-commissioning air control solution. Featuring a 100-1 turndown and precision airflow accuracy to within a few CFM operating as low .03”W.G. It matches the ventilation rate to the risk of hazard featuring advanced Demand Control Ventilation & low EUI with a single unit size. The SAV adds value and mitigates risk by creating a new simplified and economical value chain leading to a paradigm shift by obsoleting fixed orifice plate technology. The Variable Orifice Plate Technology solves a complex fluid dynamic problem of measuring a fluid accurately over a wide dynamic range, obsoleting current fixed orifice single venae contracta fluid measurement/fluid control air terminals. Offers a variable dimensional aspect ratio footprint. It solves current issues for end users, Architects/engineers, contractors, and TAB entities. This innovation allows the controls companies/system integrators to supply and warranty the zone level devices as part of their scope of work, optimize their software/network architecture with self-balancing flexibility, Eliminate GIGO (garbage in garbage out) data and mitigate risk for the life cycle of the building. SAV-Smart Air Valve transforms an infrastructure into a user centric healthy flexible space without mechanical infrastructure upgrades.