AHR Expo shows green products, technologies

Editor’s note: Part 1 of our coverage of the AHR Expo at Chicago’s McCormick Place, Jan. 26-28., ran on pg. 3 of our March issue.

CHICAGO — A variety of sustainable products and technologies were showcased at the AHR Expo this year. Johnson Controls introduced its York Affinity 33-in., variable-speed modulating gas furnace with an electronically commutated motor, which has been recognized as a 2008 Consumers Digest Best Buy and a 2009 AHR Innovation Award winner. The modulating gas furnace achieves up to 98% AFUE. Johnson Controls also expanded its line of Commercial Comfort Systems to include Variable Air Volume boxes. Designed to deliver the highest energy cost savings of any equipment in its class, the Series 10 offers efficiency ratings up to 11.5 EER/80% SSE in a light commercial HVAC unit. The system offers a cooling capacity of 6½ to 12½-tons and uses R-410A refrigerant.

Rehau showed a selection of 16 additional ASTM-compliant diameters of InsulPEX energy transfer pipe that meet North American standards. Available in one- and two-pipe configurations, InsulPEX pipe is produced with a bonded layer of CFC-free polyurethane foam insulation. The black outer casing of seamless, co-extruded polyethylene offers increased UV resistance. InsulPEX O2 Barrier Pipe uses Rehau’s cross-linked polyethylene PEXa carrier pipe. The ASTM-compliant pipe ranges in size from 1-in. to 2-in. (63 mm to 110 mm) and includes an oxygen diffusion barrier that exceeds DIN 4726 performance requirements. InsulPEX Non-Barrier Pipe, using R non-barrier cross-linked polyethylene carrier pipe, is available in 1-, 1 ¼-, 1 ½- and 2-in. sizes. It is certified to NSF Std. 61 for potable water applications.

A new line of energy-efficient, Robertshaw Universal Thermostats was showcased at the Invensys Controls’ booth, along with indoor air quality products, igniters, controls, air sensors and valves. The digital, programmable thermostats come in three series: Economy, Value and Deluxe. The Value Series operates on multi-stage gas/electric furnaces and heat pumps, switches automatically to heating and cooling for continual comfortable temperature, has a pop-up menu to make entering settings simple, plus other features. The thermostats also have low temperature freeze protection and can be programmed for seven days, or the week and weekend.

The thermostats in the Economy Series help reduce energy costs up to 25% and can be programmed for five consecutive days with four different settings. There is also a temporary program override, which allows for manual temperature adjustment if needed. The Deluxe Series thermostats feature a set-up wizard, trilingual display option, daylight saving time adjustments, adjustable backlighting and convenient displays to review a full day of programming. A contractor ID feature on these thermostats enables contractors to enter business contact information, so customers will know who to call when service is needed.

Cypress Envirosystems announced at the show that its Wireless Pneumatic Thermostat can improve a building’s energy efficiency. The thermostat was also showcased at its booth. The thermostat directly replaces most existing pneumatic thermostats and comes with a universal wall mounting bracket that connects to main and branch pipes – a building can be fully occupied when installing this thermostat, making installation cost effective. The thermostat features a remote wireless set point control, temperature and pressure monitor, automatic self-calibration, pager/cell excursion notification, programmable temperature setbacks and occupancy override.

Cleaver-Brook’s displayed an optimized boiler package and Clearfire condensing commercial boiler at its booth. The optimized boiler package deliveries over 90% fuel to steam efficiency and includes a 250-800 HP high pressure steam firetube boiler; combination gas and No. 2 oil firing; two-stage condensing economizer; and Hawk ICS control system. When applied to a new or retrofit firetube boiler package, the two-stage economizer delivers high efficiencies. It has a section to preheat incoming boiler feedwater before it goes to the deaerator and a section for further heating of the feedwater after it leaves the deaerator. Thus, combustion gases are able to condense, absorbing both sensible and latent energy.

The Clearfire condensing commercial boiler, model CFC, has full and part load efficiencies up to 99% and standard low NOx emissions at less than 20 PPM in condensing mode. The boiler can be applied to primary only systems or primary/secondary pumping systems. The boiler features capacities from 500,000 Btu per hour input through 2,500,000 Btu per hour; vertical down fired firetube design; 316 Ti stainless steel tubes, tube sheets and furnace; patented Alufer Tubes with extended heating surface; service and utility connections at the rear of the package; single Phase Power – 115/1/60; premix burner for gas firing, linkageless modulation and fuel air ratio control; top hinged burner; CB Falcon control with ModBus communication and optional CB Systemax control for multiple unit and system integration or hybrid applications.

Schebler introduced the new eVent series of prefabricated chimney systems for high-efficiency, condensing boilers. The systems are designed to extend equipment life, reduce material, space and installation time. The series includes eVent, lightweight 24-gauge inner liner, continuous-weld, double-wall system with 1-in. air gap; eVentPlus, constructed of thicker-than-industry-standard 20-gauge for structural integrity and extended equipment life; and eVentPlus2, with an additional 2-in. of insulation to diminish condensation and protect from freezing. It also enables reduced clearance to combustibles.

Tools were also showcased at the Expo. Attendees were able to try out Hypertherm’s new Powermax45, a handheld plasma cutting system. The new plasma cutter is portable, weighing only 37-lbs, and cuts ½” thick metal and severs metal more than an inch thick. There is less warping when using this cutter since plasma is cut fast on a small heated zone. The handheld plasma cutter uses a Boost Conditioner circuit, so the system will work when connected to a generator. The system also cuts metal grates and comes with a built in CNC interface and 50-to-1 voltage divider. It can be used with a roller ball or touch height control.

Toolmaker Lenox introduced T2 Technology reciprocating saw blades. The new blade design reportedly delivers up to 100% longer blade life and 25% faster performance in metal cutting applications versus the prior generation of Lenox reciprocating saw blades. Lenox also showed a Plastic Tubing Cutter is designed for optimal use on up to 1-in. soft plastic tubing like PEX, PE and PB, and flexible hose. The full line of cutters will range from 1-in. to 2-3/8-in. O.D. and cut all materials from CPVC and PVC to PEX and poly pipe. For torches, new Fat Boy cylinders, available with either Propane or Max Power Propylene, have a wider design and contain 20% more fuel than standard 14.1 oz. cylinders. The cylinders have a 25% height reduction for greater accessibility in tight spaces and a sturdier base to reduce the risk of tipping over.

Amprobe Test Tools introduced and displayed 18 new products designed specifically for the HVAC market, including: temperature, humidity and carbon monoxide meters, gas leak detectors, distance measurers, tachometers and manometers. The ACD-14 PLUS, a 600A clamp-on multimeter with dual display reads amperage and voltage at the same time. It has thinner jaws than standard clamp meters and measures AC current to 600A, AC and DC voltage to 600V. It is compact, lightweight and features a continuity buzzer, auto power off and low battery indication. The TH-1 Compact Probe Style Relative Humidity Meter, THWD-5 Relative Humidity and Temperature Meter with wet bulb and dew point, TR100 and TR200 Temperature Data Loggers with digital display, and TR300 Temperature and Relative Humidity Data Loggers, plus many other tools, were also displayed at the Amprobe booth.

Penta Technologies Inc. introduced Penta Mobile Field Service, a mobile construction software application created to help contractors get the most out of their field service operations. The software reduces paperwork, eliminates duplicate data entry, expedites approval processes and provides real-time management visibility to field activity. The software is fully integrated with Penta Construction ERP Software, providing contractors with a comprehensive solution for managing their construction and service lines of business together.

There were also many educational sessions and workshops at the AHR Expo. More than 70 sessions were offered by the AHR Expo, AHRI, ASHRAE, LonMark and other associations. Plus, attendees participated in hands-on learning opportunities at the Partnership for Environmental Leadership’s HVAC Mobile Green Classroom. Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED educational program.

Other highlights included the 2009 AHR EXPO Product of the Year Award, which was presented to Danfoss Inc., and the donation of $8,100 to HomeAid Chicago to assist in providing a complete climate control system reworking for a domestic violence shelter in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.