AHR 2023 Innovation Award Winners Announced
October 21, 2022 | By Logan Caswell
The 2023 AHR Expo Innovation Award Winners and finalists were selected in ten industry categories.
The 2023 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Exposition (AHR Expo) Innovation Award winners have been selected prior to the kickoff of the event scheduled for Feb. 6 – 8, in Atlanta.
The winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE judges who evaluated entries based on innovative design, creativity, application, value, and market impact, and will be honoured at the event.
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 2023 AHR Expo Innovation Award Winners and finalists were selected in 10 industry categories, including: building automation, cooling, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, sustainable solutions, tools and instruments, and ventilation.
Winner: Cielo WiGle. Innovation: Cielo Breez Max
The Cielo Breez Max smart thermostat for mini-split, window and portable air conditioners provides an AI-based engine to auto-detect AC type and model number. The Max unit is universally compatible with any brand or type of ductless air conditioner. It works with a 5V adapter or can be hard-wired through 12/18/24 volts AC. It can also be powered with 12/18/24 Volt DC. All Cielo Breez Max are secured with TLS1.2 to authenticate and encrypt data securely when transferred over a network. Max is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, IFFTT and Siri shortcuts.
Winner: Chemours. Innovation: Opteon XL41 Refrigerant
Opteon XL41 is a non-ozone depleting, low global warming potential refrigerant replacement for R-410A in residential and light commercial air conditioning, and scroll chiller applications. This product maximizes the benefits of the transition to HFO refrigerants while minimizing the impact of the transition. Opteon TM XL41 provides a 78% reduction in GWP from R-410A, while remaining compatible with all R-410A residential and commercial applications and lubricants, reducing the re-design effort for OEMs, and reducing the learning curve for the technicians in the field.
Winner: Copeland Compressors and Condensing Units / Emerson. Innovation: Copeland ZPSK7 scroll compressor
Emerson’s ZPSK7 scroll compressor is a product line of 1.5 to 5-ton two-stage compressors suited for residential and light commercial HVAC applications. The compressors can operate at 100% capacity or as low as 65% capacity based on heating/cooling demand. When a partial load is needed, bypass ports inside the compression chamber open which partially unload the compressor. This allows the compressor to achieve 65% capacity, thereby consuming less energy at light loads and avoiding stops and starts. When demand increases, the modulation control valve is activated, sealing the bypass, and shifting capacity to 100%. The ZPSK7 two-stage compressor can run at lower capacity without stopping, ensuring air continues flowing over the coil and the filter. This yields important benefits in humidity reduction and air quality. This two-stage modulating compressor also gives systems the ability to adjust capacity to match the load, resulting in longer run times at higher efficiency to maximize comfort..
Indoor Air Quality
Winner: Belimo. Innovation: Room Sensor
The Belimo room sensors measure temperature, humidity, dew point, and CO2 with or without an ePaper touch display. Integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) provides easy field adjustability, commissioning, remote display capabilities, and troubleshooting even without power. These sensors are maintenance-free and provide long-term reliability for a comfortable room environment. Non-powered configuration allows customers to set these room sensors up before being installed in the field, eliminating technician frustration as the sensors can arrive on site fully configured and ready to communicate. Select models offer BACnet, Modbus, or MP-Bus, which enhances communication and reduces installation, cables, and terminal connections.
Winner: Caleffi Hydronic Solutions. Innovation: Caleffi 536 Series PresCal HP Piston-type Pressure Reducing Valve
The PresCal HP family ensures stable, high-precision water pressure control while withstanding severe inlet pressure or punishing downstream water hammer. It’s perfect for staged pressure control or demanding applications that are fraught with extreme pressure fluctuations. Being the bridge between a building’s water main and its distribution piping, a PRV experiences pressure fluctuations on both downstream and upstream sides. These fluctuations can be of sufficient magnitude to cause premature fatiguing and failure of a rubber diaphragm design. The higher the incoming pressure, the more severe the fluctuations and their effects frequently are. . Instead of using a flexible, rubber diaphragm separating the high-pressure and low-pressure chambers inside the PRV, the PresCal HP uses a piston design.
Winner: Retail Solutions / Emerson. Innovation: Copeland ZFW variable speed scroll solution for low-temperature refrigeration applications
The Copeland ZFW variable speed scroll solution includes brushless permanent magnet (BPM) motor-based scrolls and variable frequency drives (VFDs) targeted for low-temperature, stationary refrigeration applications. The variable speed scroll provides better efficiency, precision, flexibility and reliability, while Copeland variable frequency drives, EVM/EVH Series complement Emerson compressors and controls. It has double the capacity of a fixed-speed compressor of the same size while providing a 20–30% efficiency improvement. To optimize ease of use, the Copeland EVM has been preconfigured for Emerson controls (iPro, E2, E3, Site Supervisor) and can be integrated universally with any controller. Available today with A1 refrigerants and moving toward A2L approval by 2024, the platform offers a robust design option for complying with current and future commercial refrigeration regulations.
Winner: Cove.tool. Innovation: loadmodeling.tool
Built for mechanical engineers, the loadmodeling.tool software establishes peak cooling and heating loads to design and right-size a mechanical system using the EnergyPlus engine. This web-based tool supports cove.tool’s goal of providing the solutions needed for the AEC industry to unlock productivity and solve the climate crisis. The software is web-based, so mechanical engineers can access the tool anywhere, including stored results, which means large files aren’t having to be transferred or shared manually. Another important function of the tool is that multiple engineers can work simultaneously on the platform, which is a fundamentally new function that other tools don’t and can’t have. Multiple people can log into the project and work on various tasks at the same time, increasing team efficiency.
Winner: Taco Comfort Solutions. Innovation: System M
The System M outdoor heat pump integrates with Taco’s exclusive indoor HydroBox to provide a complete system with just six pipe connections needed. System M is an innovative air-to-water heat pump system that provides heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. Its packaged design makes installation less intrusive; no refrigerant or gas lines are needed. System M integrates with almost any high-efficiency heating and cooling system and is a fit for both new construction and existing HVAC systems. The installation time is half of a typical air-to-water heat pump by eliminating the work to design, procure, and install of all the required hydronic components.
Tools & Instruments
Winner: Navac. Innovation: Breakfree Power Flaring Tool
Navac’s NEF6LM BreakFree Power Flaring Tool yields accurate tubing flares quickly compared to traditional flaring methods. Designed to perform reliably in harsh environments, NEF6LM allows one-button, one-hand operation. The tool is equipped with a rechargeable battery that makes over 100 flares per charge. Refrigerant leak is a major service issue, especially for ductless VRF systems with many flared connections. This tool’s automatic flaring operation provides quality flares at the press of a button, greatly improving efficiency and accuracy of tubing works and ultimately reducing refrigerant leaks in HVAC systems.
Winner: SmartD Technologies. Innovation: SmartD Clean Power VFD
SmartD’s Clean Power Variable Frequency Drive changes the motor control landscape. By delivering a clean, sinusoidal signal it reduces motor system losses by up to 40% and extends motor lifetime in a compact footprint that can be deployed without ancillary filters. The SmartD VFD. Also integrates wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors into its multi-level inverter architecture and combines them with patented modulation algorithms to produce a pure-sine wave electrical signal without the need for external filters. WBG semiconductors have intrinsic characteristics that make them more efficient: on-state losses are 10-80% lower and switching losses are 9 to 30 times lower than standard IGBTs. While the benefits of WBG are clear, they are but a piece of the SmartD innovation equation. By combining a single-carrier harmonics-canceling modulation, with a multi- level architecture and the high frequency switching of the WBG transistors, SmartD is able to integrate filters 400 times smaller than auxiliary filters normally required to achieve a comparable signal quality.