Innovative products at 2015 AHR Expo — Part. 2

April 6, 2015
Viega made a major push at AHR for commercial/institutional water quality to combat water-borne pathogens. Trane showed off its Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems. Taco held a press conference on the show floor to announce that it has expanded its Viridian ECM Circulator Line. And much more!
More than 2,000 exhibitors at the Expo showcased innovative products.

CHICAGO — It is easy to see why the 2015 AHR Expo claimed the title for the best-attended event ever held in Chicago. Preliminary attendance figures show that more than 61,000 total attendees visited the Expo, Jan. 26-28, at McCormick Place, and there were more than 2,000 exhibitors at the Expo, showcasing innovative products. 

Viega made a major push at AHR for commercial/institutional water quality to combat water-borne pathogens, especially Legionella in healthcare facilities. Viega has launched its water quality campaign, a domestic and global initiative aimed at educating the industry and providing system solutions to promote water quality and hygiene for commercial potable water systems. Viega’s solution isn’t a product — it’s a design concept that engineers can use to promote continuous flow in hospital fixtures and to eliminate dead legs in plumbing systems. Promoting recirculation and keeping water at the correct temperature can discourage creation of an environment that is conducive to bacteria growth.

“This important initiative connects engineers with solutions they need to help ensure water quality can be maintained throughout commercial potable water systems,” said Derek Bower, product director, metal systems, Viega. Bower, a mechanical engineer out of the University of Illinois, is heading the initiative for Viega. “It’s Viega’s commitment to promote safe water throughout the U.S. and around the world.”

Viega is backing up the effort with a series of training classes throughout the U.S. in 2015.


Participating in a popular and growing product category, Trane showed off its Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems that provide efficiency and economy with two components — an outdoor unit and one or more low-profile indoor units. Residential applications can accommodate up to nine indoor units, and commercial applications can accommodate up to 64 indoor units with a system capacity of up to 36 tons. With an integrated efficiency rating of up to 31 IEER, a Trane Variable Refrigerant Flow System could save significantly on energy costs while delivering sound levels as low as 23 dBA.

Trane also introduced show goers to its connected controls. The ComfortLink II XL950 communicates with the home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to direct more heated or cooled air where it’s needed, and less where it is not. Paired with Nexia Home Intelligence, a leading home automation system and brand of Ingersoll Rand, homeowners can remotely control their home’s heating and cooling and energy usage from any Web-enabled computer or smartphone for the ultimate in convenience, reliability and control.

Trane’s top of the line ComfortLink II XL950 is an advanced control with a 7-in. touchscreen and Wi-Fi connectivity. It connects with Trane’s TruComfort Variable Speed systems and is zoning capable for up to eight zones. The ComfortLink II XL850 connects with Trane’s TruComfort Variable Speed systems. It offers Wi-Fi or Ethernet connectivity and includes a built-in Nexia bridge, allowing it to act as a smart home automation control center. The XL824 Control features a 4.3-in. color touchscreen display for easy programming and viewing weather. It connects with Wi-Fi or Ethernet and includes a built-in Nexia bridge, acting as a smart home hub, allowing homeowners to connect over 200 Z-wave devices. It is seven-day programmable with five heat/two cool and is 24 volt compatible.


Taco held a press conference on the show floor to announce that it has expanded its Viridian ECM Circulator Line for residential and light commercial systems.

Taco's Viridian line.

Taco’s expanded ECM, wet rotor high efficiency Viridian line includes VR1816 (18-ft. of head and up to 16-GPM flow), VT2218 (22-ft. of head and up to 18-GPM flow) and the VR3452 (34-ft. of head and up to 52-GPM flow). These new models join the VR15 to VR30 commercial models.

The VR1816 Infinitely Variable Speed Circulator provides dial-in variable speed operation from three different modes:  Infinitely variable fixed speed, constant pressure, or proportional pressure. An LED displays operating mode, error code diagnostics and ‘Sure Start’ mode activation.  The circulator also offers an Integral Flow Check and dual electrical knockouts. 

The VT2218 Delta-T Variable Speed Circulator is the only temperature sensing pump in its class. The Viridian VT2218 comes with two temperature sensors to provide delta-T readings to the pump’s brain. The VT2218 has a large LCD screen and push button navigation to set any one of five modes: Delta-T differential temperature (factory default), four fixed speeds, set point heat, set point cool, and boiler protection. 

VR3452 Variable Speed Circulator is a high efficiency wet rotor ECM circulator for large residential and light commercial chilled and hot water applications, offering up to 34-ft. of shut-off head and 52-GPM flow. It offers auto mode (default), proportional pressure control, constant pressure control, constant speed and night setback turndown.


the Con-X-Us control screen.

Lochinvar has expanded its line of Crest Condensing Boilers to include three new models with 750,000, 1.0 million and 1.25 million Btuh inputs. Featuring Lochinvar’s patented Wave fire-tube design and advanced combustion technology, the new Crest Boiler models deliver 96.2 percent thermal efficiency and up to 20:1 modulation turndown. That’s right, a 20:1 TDR. With the addition of the new models, the Crest line now includes 10 condensing commercial boilers with inputs ranging from 750,000 Btuh up to 5.0 million Btuh. 

With an 8-in. touchscreen and multi-color interface, the Crest Boiler’s Smart Touch operating system provides accurate control and monitoring. The Smart Tocu control can be integrated directly into a Building Automation System through BACnet MSTP, ModBus and other communication protocols using a gateway device.

In addition, the system’s built-in cascading sequencer allows up to eight Crest Boilers to be sequenced using a simple two-wire, daisy-chain connection. Cascade sequencing can be programmed for Lead-Lag or Efficiency Optimized operation.

Equally exciting was Lochinvar’s introduction of its Con-X-Us remote communications platform that’s designed to communicate with the firm’s FTXL boilers. The Con-X-Us communications platform allows building owners to check operating conditions, receive status alerts, and change operating parameters through any smart device. The electronics for Con-X-Us install inside the front access panel of the boiler.  There’s a Con-X-Us app for creating an account on a tablet or smart phone with a user name and password. The home screen that appears on the smart device shows a snapshot of boiler operating parameters. A Lochinvar video demonstrates all of the Con-X-Us functions.


Rinnai displayed its RUR Series condensing tankless water heaters with enhanced recirculation technology, the RUC Series condensing tankless models with both concentric and PVC/CPVC venting, and a tankless rack system for commercial water heating. Also in its booth, Rinnai showed solutions for both whole house heating and supplemental heating applications. Its condensing boiler line includes both heating-only and the E-Series combi boilers from 85,000 to 205,000 Btuh. The RUR Series water heaters come equipped with an integral pump, internal bypass line and thermal bypass valve, and will work with either a dedicated return line or a crossover valve. The series meets Energy Star standards and has an EF of 0.96. Because of new Department of Energy water heater regulations, Rinnai is telling contractors and distributors that the price difference between a tank-type and a tankless water heater has narrowed, with the high efficiency of tankless water heaters — they are preferred by many green building programs — making tankless an attractive replacement option.

Daikin Applied

Daikin Applied is launching Intelligent Equipment, a new technology platform that harnesses the Internet of Things for the first time in commercial HVAC equipment, making it possible for HVAC systems to talk to operators and proactively take action, in order to improve efficiencies and exponentially increase cost savings. With the technology, HVAC systems can be monitored and controlled remotely using any mobile device. It moves users from a reactive to a proactive model, in order to quickly adjust ineffective systems and help facility managers maintain equipment before it loses efficiency or impacts occupant comfort.

A new technology platform, Intelligent Equipment.

By unlocking the data, Intelligent Equipment also enables managers to make better business decisions. Daikin Intelligent Equipment is a viable alternative to traditional building automation systems, and at a fraction of the cost. Intelligent Equipment makes it possible for HVAC systems to deliver users’ financial summaries of their energy savings and equipment payback; sync with weather forecasts to adjust for changing climates before it happens; and give users direct access to its power usage levels as well as its CO2 use, providing a more accurate view of their carbon footprint.

Daikin Applied plans to incorporate the Intelligent Equipment platform across its entire product line beginning with packaged rooftop systems, specifically Daikin Rebel and Daikin Maverick II. The technology easily interfaces with new or legacy equipment, and the units will intuitively know when to adjust for occupant comfort and energy efficiency. Daikin Intelligent Equipment is powered by an Intel IoT Gateway along with Intel Decision Solutions: Trend Analytics Module that offers users the confidence of predictive maintenance.


Navien showed off its new Condensing Gas Heating Boiler, the NHB, that is now available in four sizes: NHB-55, NHB-80, NHB 110 and NHB-150 with turn-down-ratios respectively of 7:1, 10:1, 11:1, and 15:1. The noteworthy 15:1 TDR in the NHB-150 is achieved with Navien’s advanced burner system. One key component to that efficiency is the newly developed dual Venturi gas delivery system. With a 95 percent AFUE rating, the NHBs carry Energy Star’s Most Efficient designation.

Well-suited for residential and light commercial use, the NHB series allows the installer an opportunity to achieve a high-efficiency installation with options and features such as large turndown ratios, a timed hydronic supply water boost feature, adjustable heat capacity, adjustable anti-cycle timer, freeze protection, adjustable Delta T ranges, pressure LWCO with manual reset, adjustable minimum burner time setting and, finally, adjustable turndown ratio timing.

ECR International

At ECR International’s booth the Dunkirk Helix VLT took center stage. This 95% AFUE gas fired, wall-hung, modulating condensing boiler has all the features to make this boiler easy to install. The VLT features a built-in primary/secondary piping and pump system. The water flowing through the boiler is kept constant and is not impacted by the water flowing through the system as zones open and close. The VLT design ensures optimum efficiency and eliminates problems associated with inconsistent flow such as excessive noise, short cycling and higher fuel cost. This built in feature reduces installation time and material costs. The primary secondary piping is enclosed within the jacket for an attractive and space saving installation. The Helix VLT also features a built-in probe type low water cut off, indoor-outdoor reset and a 5:1 turn down ratio for regulating boiler operation to match system conditions for minimal fuel usage. Also, the Dunkirk VLT boiler features its patent pending durable stainless steel heat exchanger. In fact, that is where the Helix VLT got its name – Vertical Laser Tube. A laser welding process helically fuses the fins to a seamless, one piece stainless steel large diameter coil making it one of strongest heat exchangers ever built. This process maximizes heat transfer and efficiency without sacrificing heat exchanger integrity. The Helix is designed and assembled in the U.S. for U.S. heating systems.

Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric’s Cooling & Heating Division told visitors at AHR about enhancements to the P-Series Hyper-Heating Inverter (known as the H2i ) heat pump outdoor units for light commercial applications. The updated P-Series, featuring H2i technology, joins the series of cold climate heat pumps. The H2i P-Series is ideal for offices, computer rooms, retail, restaurants and schools, to name a few applications. Mitsubishi’s flash injection technology provides good heating performance at extremely low ambient temperatures while keeping energy usage at the minimum. The H2i P-Series outdoor units operate at 80 percent of rated heating capacity at -13°F, an improvement of 10 percent compared to previous models. The system provides 100 percent of rated heating capacity at ambient temperatures down to 5°F, and maintains operation at 87 percent of rated heating capacity at -4°F.

Mitsubishi also announced an addition to its Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning S-Series cooling and heating systems for homes and light commercial spaces. The updated S-Series PUMY-P60 model is the only 5-ton, single-phase VRF zoning system designed for this market. It can operate at as low as 22 percent of total system capacity for maximum energy efficiency. Other enhancements include longer line lengths, high efficiencies and expanded indoor zone capacities. The S-Series is operational down to -4°F and works with line lengths of 492-ft.


Victaulic focused on the release of its new Compact Pressure Independent Balancing and Control Valve (Compact-P) TA Series 7CP from IMI TA. The valve advances hydronic balancing with its compact size and precise ability to engineer high performance systems. Designed as a cost-effective option for tight fan coil cabinets, TA Series 7CP limits overflows and simplifies high performance systems. With increased diagnostics, the TA Series 7CP minimizes guesswork and speeds up the commissioning process, simplifying detection of possible system failures.

The TA Series 7CP.

The diagnostic features ensure that the system performance meets stringent flow design criteria. Additionally, with high flow capacity and a low pressure drop, the TA Series 7CP decreases operating costs and minimizes pump head. The flow capacity reduces energy consumption. The TA Series 7CP requires minimal space around the valve so even when two valves are close to each other, there’s still plenty of access room, making it a great option for fan coils.


At Miura’s booth the LX-300 Zero-Side-Clearance Steam Boiler Packs were featured, offering small footprint design and high-efficiency, on-demand steam. The modular design allows flexibility to customize a steam plant to meet any demand and load profile optimized for superior energy management. Plus these boiler packs feature zero-side-clearance design, reducing boiler room size and cuts construction costs; an 87% efficiency using Miura’s built-in energy recovery and water treatment systems; steam production from cold start in five minutes; saves up to 20% on fuel costs and CO2 emissions on average; and new design innovations optimize combustion for consistent low NOx emissions.


Panasonic displayed its new Inverter Multi-Split System 5 heat pump that work with from two to five indoor units and can be controlled through either a wireless remote or a wall-mounted wired controller. The System 5 comes in six versions with cooling capacities from 6,900 up to 36,000 Btuh and heating capacities from 10,900 to 37,800 Btuh. The inverter technology gives the System 5 a SEER rating of 18.5 and an HSPF rating of 10. Maximum line length is 262-ft. The lines are pre-charged to 138-ft.

Bosch Thermotechnology

Bosch Thermotechnology told show-goers about its wall-mounted Greenstar gas condensing boiler for residential applications. The boiler is available in a floor standing version for all eight space heat and combi boiler models. Space heating only models come in 57,000, 79,000, 100,000, 131,000, and 151,000 Btuh inputs and combi boilers are available in 100,000, 131,000, 151,000 Btuh inputs. With its appliance-like design and small footprint, Greenstar FS models are ideal for use in applications where wall-mounting options are not available or a floor standing unit is preferred. 


Greenstar Floor Standing Series boilers are fully modulating condensing boilers that are CSA and ASME approved. Based on the Greenstar wall-mounted boilers, floor-standing boilers achieve Energy Star Most Efficient rating of 95%. All Greenstar models are equipped with circulator, pressure relief valve, propane conversion kit and twin pipe flue adaptor. FS models have integrated low-loss header and temperature sensor. Regular heat-only models contain an indirect hot water tank sensor; combi models include an expansion vessel. Minimum gas pressure of 3.5-in. w.c. makes the Greenstar FS boiler suitable for low gas pressure lines, especially in large cities.

Armstrong Fluid Technology

Armstrong Fluid Technology has announced the introduction of the new IPC 9521 Integrated Plant Control system designed to help building owners achieve greater energy efficiency in chiller plant systems. Featuring the latest advances in control technology, the IPC 9521 uses a base-level platform that can be easily upgraded as installation requirements evolve. Key features that can help make a substantial difference to the performance and financial viability of HVAC designs and installations include resident sensor-less pump feedback and parallel sensor-less pump staging for variable primary systems that minimize installation costs and maximize pump energy efficiency. It features embedded sequences for water-cooled variable-primary configuration, all-variable chiller plant automation, and optimization. The control is factory-configured for easy activation of the optional Armstrong ECO*Pulse HVAC health management and diagnostics system.

“The new IPC 9521 is a great chiller control solution for building managers who are prepared to make educated investments in technology,” said Mike Piotrowski, Global Marketing Manager.


At the NTI — NY Thermal — booth, the company’s newest boiler the VMax-PLUS was showcased, along with other products. The VMax boiler has a fully modulating burner with 6.5:1 turn-down ratio; high-energy spark ignition; zero clearance to combustibles; advanced integrated control; field conversion from natural gas (factory) to propane; flue gas test port; built-in primary loop with circulator; no-glue universal vent connections; water pressure sensor; auto air vent; 120VAC outlet for condensate pump, plus, even more features. The controller has a high-limit safety control; domestic hot water priority; cascade up to 16 Vmax boilers; a service reminder; night setback option, and many more features. The VMax Plus features a built-in 16-gal. indirect water heater; low loss header manifold (primary loop); internal primary circulator; reduced boiler cycling; DHW tank temperature sensor; quick connect components for easy service; and fully-integrated plumbing for easier installation.


The Evergreen 95% AFUE Condensing Boiler by Weil-Mclain was showcased at the Expo. This new condensing boiler is designed for large residential and light commercial projects. For single or multiuse installations, with up to 24 zones, there is no need for a zone panel. Simple wall or floor mount options are available. This is a boiler with durable design with advanced controls, and easy set up and maintenance. 

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