Which companies are leading the way in HVAC innovations? Check out the AHR Expo awards for 2019

by Brianna Crandall — October 12, 2018 — Show management recently announced the winners of the 2019 AHR Expo Innovation Awards competition. Each year, products in 10 different categories are recognized for being some of the HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration) industry’s most innovative products, systems, and technologies. Winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluated each award entry based on its innovative design, creativity, application, value, and market impact. Winners from each award category will be formally recognized during the 2019 AHR Expo, to be held January 14-16 in Atlanta. The ceremony is open to all show attendees and is slated for January 15 at 1 p.m. The AHR Expo will also announce this year’s winner of the highly anticipated Product of the Year Award at the ceremony.

Clay Stevens, manager of AHR Expo, remarked:

Every year we look forward to award submissions that set the bar for innovation and professional practices in HVACR. Year after year we continue to receive entries that exceed our expectations. We congratulate these winners as leaders from across all facets of the industry, and look forward to seeing these inventive solutions at the 2019 AHR Expo and in real-world practice.

Winners and finalists, selected within the categories of building automation, cooling, green building, heating, indoor air quality (IAQ), plumbing, refrigeration, software, tools and instruments, and ventilation, are listed below along with a description of each winning product.


Winner: Automated Logic Corp. (Booth C5731)

HVAC control diagram

Automated Logic Corp.’s OptiFlex software-based integration platform for data monitoring across diverse building systems won the Building Automation category. Image courtesy AHR Expo. Click to enlarge.

Innovation: OptiFlex virtual integrator is a software-based integration platform for data monitoring across diverse building systems. OptiFlex provides scalable integration solutions ideal for large integration projects such as data centers, hospitals and college campuses. The virtual integrator supports up to 50,000 data points from a single computing point, eliminating the need for multiple hardware gateways, which often require costly materials and labor, and have installation limitations due to space constraints in most mechanical rooms. It supports BACnet IP and Modbus TCP/IP, the two most commonly used IP-based protocols, as well as a new pluggable protocol technology that allows additional protocol additions. Customers can add additional points as needed through a scalable licensing mechanism.

Finalists in this category include: Building Automation Products Inc./BAPI (BAPI Wireless 900 MHz Temperature and Humidity System); Delta Controls Inc. (O3 Sensor Hub); and Emerson (Supervisory Controls).


Winner: Johnson Controls Inc. (Booth B1617)

Innovation: YORK YZ Magnetic Bearing Centrifugal Chiller, a fully optimized chiller, is built with next-generation low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant to increase energy efficiency. The YORK YZ provides centrifugal-chiller energy efficiencies as low as 0.1kW/ton, and less in off-design conditions where typical fixed-speed chillers experience performance issues. It has the potential to reduce annual electricity consumption by an average of 35 percent. The YORK YZ was designed with a holistic approach to system design, with engineering optimization for every component around R-1233zd — a next-generation, low-pressure refrigerant — and is a unique combination of advanced technologies, including a variable-speed magnetic bearing compressor, high-speed hermetic induction motor, falling film evaporator, adaptive capacity control logic, and cloud-based analytics.

Finalists in this category include: ArctiChill (ACA or ACW Magnetic Bearing Chillers with Arctic Boost Option); Chemours (Opteon XP30 refrigerant); and Samsung HVAC of America (Wind-Free 4-way cassette mini-split).


Winner: enVerid Systems (Booth B1061)

Innovation: HVAC Load Reduction (HLR) module 1000E-M, an indoor air scrubber module designed to lower energy wastage from HVAC systems, reduces the amount of outside air needed for ventilation by 60-80 percent. This results in increased energy efficiency and annual energy savings of 20-30 percent with peak capacity reductions of 10- 20 tons per HLR 1000E-M module. The HLR 1000E-M is fully compliant with ASHRAE Standard 62.1 Indoor Air Quality Procedure (IAQP) and the international mechanical code (IMC). The innovative design is a first-of-its-kind solution that safely removes all molecular contaminants, including CO2, formaldehyde, and a full range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from indoor air.

Finalists in this category include: Carrier (AquaEdge 19DV centrifugal chiller); Smardt Chiller Group Inc. (Smardt DC water cooled chiller); and Software Motor Co. (SMC Smart Motor System).


Winner: Regal (Booth B1639)

Innovation: Genteq Ensite motor, an electronically commutated motor specifically designed for furnace application, enables customers to comply with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fan Energy Rating (FER) regulatory requirements taking effect in July of 2019. The Genteq Ensite motor is a cost-efficient solution to achieving compliance without compromising on premium features such as advanced Blak Box and Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities that support Internet of Things (IoT) and preventive maintenance.

Finalists in this category include: ArctiChill (SuperMod variable speed modular chiller platform); Des Champs Technologies (Model Air-Trap IPN); and Emerson (Universal single-stage furnace control for ECMx blower motor).


Winner: CPS Products Inc. (Booth B3553)

Innovation: IAQ SmartAir is a smart tool used for identifying, diagnosing and solving IAQ issues. This tool is designed to diagnose more accurate true read indoor air quality issues, improve sales and enhance overall IAQ professional expertise. Its design walks professionals through the measuring process and provides a compiled list of IAQ issues and potential solutions based on collected and analyzed data. The IAQ SmartAir connects to the internet via WiFi for remote monitoring and evaluation, and allows professionals to create on-site customer reports and job quotations.

Finalists in this category include: Fresh-Aire UV (Mini UV DST-LED disinfection system for mini-split A/C systems); and Nortec [Condair] (DRAABE TrePur humidifier and evaporative cooler).


Winner: Anvil International (Booth C6625)

Innovation: AnvilPress Copper, Copper Press Fittings and Coupling Systems are designed with patented Visual Indicator technology that provides 200 percent more sealing surface than typical fittings for leak prevention. The system is built with a double-fold sealing characteristic and a replaceable O-ring seal design that supports superior pressure and tensile performance. Its Virtual Indicator and Burr-Stop membrane solve the top two causes of leaks: improperly pressed fittings and burrs on the tube that damage the O-ring during installation.

Finalists in this category include: Caleffi Hydronic Solutions (ThermoSetter thermal balancing valve); Emerson (RIDGID Press Booster and rings for MegaPress XL); and Noritz America (Noritz Residential Combination Boiler).


Winner: Emerson (Booth B2219)

Innovation: Copeland Scroll fractional-horsepower, low-temperature compressors use liquid injection technology and cooling discharge temperatures to reduce compressor stress and meet federal regulatory requirements. With offerings ranging from ¾ to 1 ½, OEMs can combine certain compliance efforts into a single design cycle for smaller low-to-medium temperature applications that deliver high efficiency with reliable performance. The Copeland Scroll is wide-ranged and multi-refrigerant capable with low sound and vibration. It is an ideal solution for supermarkets, restaurants and convenience store operations.

Finalists in this category include: Baltimore Aircoil Co. (TrilliumSeries adiabatic condenser); and DunAn Microstaq Inc. (Silicon Refrigeration Valve).


Winner: Taco Comfort Solutions (Booth B2239)

Innovation: Taco Tags featuring eLink is a cloud-based support program that provides users with a web-based, factory-maintained knowledge base on their mobile device via NFC technology. The Taco Tag is an IC chip and antenna wrapped in silicone designed to offer durability under the most extreme conditions of heat and weather. It works using power from a user’s devices, eliminating the need for wires or external batteries. Each tag provides direct access to customer support, along with all vital information specific to each product, and is connected to the eLink cloud-based service system where users can store and access order information, product specifications, instruction sheets, suggested replacement parts, CAD files, technical support, catalogs, local sales representative information and project management.

Finalists in this category include: BreezoMeter Ltd. (Air quality and pollen data API); and Emerson (Sensi Multiple Thermostat Manager).


Winner: Dwyer Instruments Inc. (Booth C5407)

Innovation: The Wireless Hydronic Balancing Kit, Series 490W, is a manometer designed to provide accurate and easy operation for HVAC professionals. The kit measures the pressure drop across HVAC balancing valves by using wireless sensors, a versatile handheld and Bluetooth communication. Users can select valves for measurement from a predetermined list or through manual input of CV values. The handheld monitor allows for the flow of up to three valves at a time, with a single operator to monitor and balance a hydronic system in less time compared to traditional methods.

Finalists in this category include: Marketair Inc. (Easybend); and Ritchie Engineering Co., Inc. (YELLOW JACKET P51-870 TITAN Digital Manifold).


Winner: Energy Wall, LLC (Booth B268)

Innovation: The Energy Wall Universal ERV (U-ERV) is an energy recovery ventilator that is three times smaller and lighter than current technologies available on the market. It weighs only 90 pounds, allowing for easy installation of the fully-functional, independent system. A small footprint allows the modules to be hand-carried and assembled on site, where they operate with a single duct connection and point-of-power and control. This provides extreme redundancy for mission-critical facilities. It is also compliant with UL 900 fire/smoke standards and operates in all six orientations.

Finalists in this category include: Continental Fan Mfg. Inc. (TEK-MAX plug fan); LG Electronics USA Inc. (LG AHU conversion kit); and Triatek (EcoAir Valve).

Photos and descriptions of the 2019 winners and finalists appear on the AHR Show website.