AHR Expo focuses on sustainable products and new technologies

March 1, 2009
There were plenty of new technologies and products at the AHR Expo this year - more than 1,900 companies exhibited. Many products focused on sustainability, which not only benefits the environment by saving energy, but also benefits customers, manufacturers and contractors by saving money.

Chicago — More than 54,000 registered HVAC professionals, including nearly 35,000 attendees and more than 19,000 exhibitor personnel, attended the 61st AHR Expo, at Chicago's McCormick Place, Jan. 26-28. The event ranked as the second largest AHR Expo in terms of the number of exhibiting companies and the fourth largest AHR EXPO in terms of square footage - 396,048-sq.ft.

There were plenty of new technologies and products at the expo this year - more than 1,900 companies exhibited. Many products focused on sustainability, which not only benefits the environment by saving energy, but also benefits customers, manufacturers and contractors by saving money.

Thermostats were some of the sustainable products on display at the expo. Ecobee showcased the Smart Thermostat, a programmable thermostat with a touch screen that can be programmed over the Internet, giving the user access to its settings from any computer. The thermostat uses touch-screen technology and has an easy-to-read LCD screen. There is also a guided wizard function that walks the homeowner through each step of the programming process with a series of questions, making the programming process simple.

Bradford White showed its latest line of Energy Star water heaters, part of a new program just announced by the U.S. EPA and DOE on January 1. The line offers Energy Star qualified models for every type of application, including atmospheric vent, ultra low NOx, power vent, power direct vent and combination heating. They have a minimum first hour rating of 67-gal.

Rinnai announced that six models from its line of tankless water heaters have earned the Energy Star designation, including its flagship models, the R94LS and R75LS. To meet the Energy Star standards, tankless water heaters must maintain a minimum energy factor of 0.82 and a minimum flow rate of 2.5-gpm at a 77°F temperature rise. A whole-house tankless heater that meets those requirements can reduce energy use by as much as 30%.

Navien showed a line of condensing tankless water heaters with efficiencies as high as 98%. The water heaters use dual stainless steel heat exchangers and dual microprocessors control. One model has a mini buffer tank with a built-in circulation pump to deliver hot water to fixtures quickly with no minimum flow rate, resulting in water conservation. The water heaters can be remotely controlled with a wall-mounted control with diagnostic capability, temperature adjustments and recirculation timer. The firm's Ready Link cascade system allows up to 98 water heaters to be set up as one system and common-vented.

Armstrong featured the 4300 IVS Sensorless Series pump, an energy-efficient pumping system that uses sensorless control technology. When the pump is manufactured, performance data is programmed into the memory of the controller unit. When using this pump technology, system pressure feedback sensors are no longer needed because the pump is programmed to operate based on the system design control curves.

The IVS Sensorless pump provides variable speed drive integration and energy savings over constant-speed units. Using variable speed technology not only saves energy, but also extends the operating life of the pump, motor bearings and valves. Other benefits of Armstrong's IVS Sensorless pump include easy installation and a space-saving design, which reduces installation expenses.

Taco introduced a “00” circulator for the solar thermal market. The Variable Speed Solar Control Circulator optimizes water flow through the solar collector to achieve maximum energy gain. The pump combines Taco's external speed and solar controls with the “00” cartridge circulator. All wiring for power and sensors is done to the circulator while the LED status panel makes it easy to check functionality. Taco also extended its all-in-one X-Pump Block product line to include a product specific for solar thermal applications. Solar X-Pump Block combines a variable speed solar differential control, collector circulator, storage tank circulator and heat exchanger into a single unit. Its stainless steel, brazed plate counterflow style heat exchanger provides system isolation between the solar collector and the storage tank. The SXPB can be set up to maintain a setpoint differential between the solar collector and one or two storage tanks; it can support a booster pump as part of a drainback system, and features an intelligent heat dump option and freeze protection for open systems.

Viessmann presented the new Vitorond 200 VD2A series commercial boiler featuring a built-in control that integrates low-temperature protection logic. The VD2A series of the Vitorond 200 commercial oil-/gas-fired sectional cast iron boiler comes with the Therm-Control low-temperature protection integrated, eliminating the need to add this component during installation. The return water distribution system has also been redesigned for increased reliability and long-life operation.

With the new Vitosol 100-F flat plate solar collector, Viessmann has added an economy option to its line of flat plate and vacuum tube solar collectors. The collector features aluminum frame construction, impact-resistant solar glass and a selectively coated copper absorber. The new 100-F Series is a no-frills, high-quality, high-performance collector that provides excellent value for any solar installation where budget consideration is a key factor, such as large-scale commercial applications.

Lochinvar Corp. debuted the new SYNC Condensing Boiler with an advanced Smart Touch touchscreen control system. SYNC combines stainless steel heat exchanger technology with modulating/condensing combustion to deliver thermal efficiency as high as 98%. With models producing 1.0, 1.3 and 1.5 million Btuh inputs, low NOx operation and 10:1 turndown, SYNC serves a wide range of commercial applications. Smart Touch allows access to an onboard database of real-time operations data and performance history. Equipped with a built-in cascading sequencer for up to eight boilers, the control allows the boiler to deliver up to 12 million Btuh heating capacity. In addition, Smart Touch provides full system integration with Modbus communication protocol, as well as the ability to connect with optional SYNC PC software to download and track historical data, including faults, trends and energy consumption. Other standard Smart Touch control features include outdoor reset, three pump control, night setback, hot water generator compatibility and password security.

Heat Transfer Products unveiled its Elite Series high-efficiency residential boilers, with inputs ranging from 80,000-399,000 Btuh and a turndown ratio of six to one. Each model can be mounted either on the wall or the floor. Field-convertible to either natural gas or LP gas, the Elite Series includes six direct-vent and sealed-combustion models. The 80,000 Btuh model will operate with an input as low as 13,000 Btuh. Up to eight boilers can be linked and controlled in unison, permitting modulation of up to 48:1.

HTP has also improved its Phoenix gas-fired 96% efficient modulating-condensing water heater that delivers both domestic hot water and space heating. This dual capability has been enhanced with two add-on modules, called Phoenix Heat Packs, which fit onto the core water heater, the newly named Phoenix Plus Hot Water Generator. Depending upon which Phoenix Heat Pack is selected, installers can combine hydro-air space heating with DHW, and also traditional hydronic baseboard or radiant heating, all in the same small footprint.

We'll continue with our coverage of AHR Expo products in our April issue.

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