AHR Expo sets all-time attendance record

AHR Expo show management announced that the 2012 exposition and conference established a new all-time attendance record with nearly 40,000 registered visitors for the recently concluded event at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Together with exhibitor personnel and other attendees, more than 58,000 HVACR professionals participated in the world’s largest HVACR event from Jan. 23-25.

CHICAGO — AHR Expo show management announced that the 2012 exposition and conference established a new all-time attendance record with nearly 40,000 registered visitors for the recently concluded event at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Together with exhibitor personnel and other attendees, more than 58,000 HVACR professionals participated in the world’s largest HVACR event from Jan. 23-25.

Based on preliminary registration numbers, the 2012 Show was predicted to easily surpass the previous record of 38,534 visitors established at the 2008 Show in New York City. It did. Expo management announced attendance on Monday, the first day of the three-day show, at 56,934.

As reported earlier, this year’s Show was also the largest AHR Expo in the illustrious 82-year history of the event at nearly 430,000-sq.ft., making it almost 5% bigger than the 2006 Chicago Show.

“We are delighted that we have established new all-time records for both the size of the event and the best visitor attendance,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., which produces and manages the AHR Expo. “We hope this is an indication that the economy is on the upswing and will continue to improve.”

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Stevens also attributed the new records to the many new energy-efficient technologies and products in the marketplace, as well as pent-up demand for new equipment.

At the show the aisles were packed elbow to elbow at times. There was a buzz of excitement as enthusiastic HVACR professionals from around the world filled the aisles looking for the latest energy-efficient products and solutions. Many exhibitors commented on the quality and quantity of attendees.

"The show has been outstanding for us this year,” said Mark Handzel, director of marketing for Xylem RCW, the new name for the parent of Bell & Gossett. “The customers that come to this show are the people that are using our products everyday so really, this is the best show that we have.”

Karl Schneider, vice president of marketing for field service software vendor FieldAware, echoed those sentiments.

“This is our first AHR Expo and we are amazed at the size and diversity of the attendee base — we were overwhelmed by the response,” Schneider said.

A total of 1,968 exhibitors from 35 countries showcased their products and technologies, nearly tying the record of 1,989 companies that exhibited at the 2006 Chicago Show. In addition to the thousands of new products and technologies exhibited on the Show floor, ASHRAE and many other leading industry associations offered more than 100 education sessions.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers and the Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute co-sponsored the Expo, and ASHRAE had plenty of news of its own.

Rebranding ASHRAE

Throughout its 117-year history, ASHRAE has been the go-to source in the HVACR industry for standards, education and other resources for engineers. As the role of HVACR has progressed to include different facets of building design, construction and operation, ASHRAE has changed as well. Consequently, ASHRAE announced that it is rebranding itself with a refreshed logo, a new tagline and a change to using only its acronym.

The announcement was made at the Society’s 2012 Winter Conference held in conjunction with the Expo.

The most visible change is the refreshed Society’s logo, which was created in 1959 when the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers and the American Society of Heating & Ventilating Engineers merged to form ASHRAE.

“We want our logo to reflect that we are looking ahead,” said Tom Watson, chair of the logo ad hoc committee. “The industry has changed and so have we. In creating this logo, we wanted to pay homage to our HVAC&R origins by keeping the familiar hexagon and traditional shade of blue, while looking forward to a more sustainable future.”

The society’s logo was refined, retaining its familiar hexagon shape in blue that transitions to green, signifying the group’s dedication to energy and water conservation.

Society representatives noted that although ASHRAE is increasingly a global organization, some of the strongest sentiment for retaining the “A” as in American came from its international members.

Along with the new logo, ASHRAE also has a new tagline: “Shaping Tomorrow’s Built Environment Today.” The tagline serves as a promise to members, and the industry, that whatever the future brings in the built community, ASHRAE will be at the forefront for research and guidance.

Lastly, the Society is doing business as “ASHRAE” vs. using its full legal name of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Use of ASHRAE reflects the Society’s worldwide membership and that services will continue evolving globally.

The repositioning of the ASHRAE brand evolution is an acknowledgement of ASHRAE’s broadening scope beyond HVAC&R to include standards, research, publications and educational resources relating to total building design, energy efficiency efforts and sustainable building technologies, otherwise referred to as the total building environment, according to ASHRAE President Ron Jarnagin.

Over the years, ASHRAE has worked to provide resources on a wide range of industry practices and issues such as commissioning, building automation control, indoor environmental quality for buildings and aircraft, energy efficiency and the smart grid initiative.

In addition, the rebranding coincides with a redesign of ASHRAE.org. With this redesign comes better navigation, a better search engine and better tracking, all of which will help ASHRAE members find the information they need, whether it’s for their role in the industry or ASHRAE.

CONTRACTOR’s March issue will cover products showcased at the AHR Expo.

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